Stay with me here, this'll only take a second.
When I was a kid, my parents drilled me regularly on how to behave. All manner of behavior: how to treat adults, how to ask a question, how to shake hands, how to interact with strangers, how to conduct yourself at a meal, how to handle the telephone, etc. I'm no Emily Post, but hey, I'm competent.
Our own children, now ages 7 and 5, get the same treatment from my wife and me (yes, that's my wife and me, not my wife and I -- more on grammar another time). I'm always pleased when others complement them on their politeness.
Why is this important? Because there's more to it than just the cosmetic. Being able to conduct yourself among others is the framework for how you filter the world, how you manage yourself, how you make contributions, how you learn new things -- if you're conscious and in control of yourself, you tend to have a healthy, functional perspective on the rest of the world.
I've stopped being amazed at how self-centered others are today. I don't mean selfish -- that's different. I mean that most others don't see a world immediately beyond their own. If you don't believe me, look around. It shows up everywhere. The guy who flipped you off in traffic, the legions of keyboard cowards, the idiot that urinated on the plane when he didn't get his way, the endless needless cell chatter. I can't get over just how stupid everyone is in public -- how many times has someone stepped on your foot and not said a word? And that's a benign happening. You know much worse goes on.
So here's where I'm going next: This is getting dangerous. Why? Because lack of consideration and lack of perspective makes us do things that might appear "right" to us but in fact are horribly wrong.
CNN put a big "X" over Dick Cheney's face onscreen as he delivered an address. Right or wrong? Obviously wrong. But if you don't have a working perception of your role in the world, you'll fall into the trap -- that is, assuming that a) because you can do something, you should, b) your point of view cannot possibly be wrong, and c) if others disagree with your action or point of view, it's OK to tell them to fuck off.
It's a problem when entities of public trust do not have balanced points of view on the world, or, at least, a working sense of decent behavior.
When that happens, it sounds like this idiot.
I hope he -- and CNN -- understand how this poisons the water for everyone. I doubt they will.