Shameful Behavior

000423_schiffer CBS

News always seems more jarring when it happens on a holiday.

The Elian Gonzalez story would have been terrible anytime but playing out as it did between Passover and Easter made it all the more bizarre.

In a story of so many low points it was hard to find the lowest. Was it early on when local officials in Miami seemed to invite violence saying that if it happened it wouldn't be their fault? We hadn't heard that kind of rabble-rousing since the civil rights struggle.

Was it the blatant election-year pandering by the vice president?

Or the inflammatory language used by Republican Senator Bob Smith who claimed Sunday that agents "hooded" the child Saturday in what he called an "armed assault" on an innocent family.

Was it the TV interview of little Elian? Or the home video of the child released by the very relatives who claimed to be so concerned about the child's psychological state?

Or was it the character assassination of first the father, then the uncle on the other side, and finally the dead mother ?

In a week that celebrates hope and renewal, we saw human nature at its worst as almost everyone connected to this story seemed bent on using it to advance an individual agenda - be it political, emotional, or just a burning desire to get on television.

Only the child - remember him - can be held blameless in all of this.

The adults should be ashamed of themselves.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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