BOB GARFIELD: On Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush met at the White House. Sharon has been in office less than two weeks. Bush was sworn in two months before the meeting. U.S./Israel relations were clearly headed on a new course. This was why 24 hour news channels were invented!
BROOKE GLADSTONE:And thank God, whether an Old Testament God or a more faith-based God, that we have so many 24 hour newschannels or else this crucial development of the Sharon/Bush meeting might have gone unremarked-upon.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: During the campaign I said that we'll begin the process-- [PHONE RINGING] During the campaign I said we'll begin the process--
BOB GARFIELD: George Bush interrupted by somebody's cell phone. The cameras didn't pick up Sharon's reaction, but such a look on Bush's face! Disgraced newspaper columnist and current MSNBC host Mike Barnacle noticed.
MIKE BARNACLE: How great was that, huh? This - that was the scene yesterday during a photo opportunity in the oval office with Israel's prime minister after which the president said who's in charge of cells phones, just as another cell phone jangled away.
ASHLEY BANFIELD: [LOUDLY] Turn that cell phone off!
BOB GARFIELD:And CNN's Crossfire not only noticed, they made like those people next to you in the restaurant and jabbered away on cell phones -or at least on the subject of cell phones -for 30 minutes.
MAN: Let's just not pick on the cell phones, because these are actually a safety device, life-saving device, an important tool for all of us!
MAN: But here's the problem. I mean there are other distractions; that, that is true. And, and some of them have been around like women putting makeup on a long time; but the cell phone is something new! And they're ex--they're expanding and they're exploding, and even with that little thing in your ear, it is another distraction. You talk about statistics. New England Journal of Medicine....
BOB GARFIELD:For those of you scoring at home, the Conservatives were assigned a pro-cell phone position and the Liberals argued from the anti-cell phone perspective.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Let's see what the Punditron 2000 has to say about all of this. [PUNCHING NUMBERS ON CELL PHONE NOISES]
BOB GARFIELD: Wait, I, I just had him on the line. [PUNCHING NUMBERS ON CELL PHONE NOISES] [ROBOTIC PUNDITRON 2000 NOISES]
BOB GARFIELD: Hold on-- he's going under a bridge. [ROBOTIC PUNDITRON 2000 NOISES]
BROOKE GLADSTONE:The Punditron notes that covering the cell phone interruption is fine! It's an annoyance we all experience. But the real annoyance, according to the Punditron--
BOB GARFIELD: He is getting so preachy these days.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:-- the real annoyance is that neither Crossfire nor Barnacle nor Banfield did any reporting on the future of U.S./Israeli policy! They stuck to cell phones. The Punditron also makes a lame joke about the talk shows' "phoning it in," but I'm not going to repeat that part. [DISAPPOINTED ROBOTIC PUNDITRON 2000 NOISES]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Sorry, Punditron. It's still our show.