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Monday, April 05, 2010

And here I thought David Brooks was the stupidest fucking man on the planet
Posted by Jill | 5:25 AM
No, he's only the second dumbest. Ross Douthat takes the prize, for suggesting that CNN, "the most trusted name in news", which of late in hiring right-wing lunatics like Erick Erickson is trying to emulate Fox, should emulate The Daily Show instead:
What cable news needs, instead, is something more like what Stewart himself has been doing on “The Daily Show.” Instead of bringing in the strategists, consultants and professional outrage artists who predominate on other networks, he ushers conservative commentators into his studio for conversations that are lengthy, respectful and often riveting. Stewart’s series of debates on torture and interrogation policy, in particular — featuring John Yoo and Marc Thiessen, among others — have been more substantive than anything on Fox or MSNBC.

Even the thrust-and-parry sessions of “The Daily Show,” though, are limited by the left-right binary that divides and dulls our politics. They’re better than the competition, but they don’t give free rein to eccentricity and unpredictability, or generate arguments that finish somewhere wildly different than where you’d expect them to end up. This is what you find in the riveting television debates of the past: William F. Buckley versus Gore Vidal, Vidal versus Norman Mailer, anything involving Ross Perot. And it’s what you get from the mad, compulsively watchable Glenn Beck, who’s an extremist without being a knee-jerk partisan: You know he’s way out there on the right somewhere, but you don’t know what he’s going to say next.

Not even Jon Stewart thinks that The Daily Show is where anyone should go for news. And if Douchebag thinks that MSNBC is all-liberals, all-the-time, he's obviously never watched Morning Schmoe, or seen Chuck Todd at his smarmy, condescending, hacktacular best. The liberals on MSNBC are Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow -- and that's it. Perhaps if you are off on the Glennbeckian right, you think that Chris Matthews is a liberal, but anyone who went off on the manly man-ness of George W. Bush's stuffed codpiece does NOT, by any stretch of the definition, qualify as a liberal.

The tragedy of CNN is that it has simply refused to trust in what it has always done well -- deliver news. Wolf Blitzer thinks he has to be Bill O'Reilly. Campbell Brown does the semi-non-crazy Greta Van Susteren bit. They bring on people like Erickson to try to appeal to a Fox News audience that has never forgotten, or forgiven, Peter Arnett. They let a hard reporter like Christiane Amanpour get away in trying to appeal to the willfully ignorant, frothing Fox News masses who will never, ever, ever stray from their Lord and Master. Rick Sanchez tries to be hard-hitting at times, but he's inconsistent and his faux-Olbermann antics often seem nothing but clownish.

Occasionally we see traces of what CNN used to do. Its recent coverage of the Haiti earthquake was nothing short of spectacular. But like all the cable news networks, it spends too much time on scandals and sex and not enough time on actual news. And in trying to appeal to right-wing audience, it's forgotten that there are people out there who want actual televised hard news. Those people now have nowhere to go.

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Blogger Barry said...
You're right, Douthat is even dumber than Brooks, which is no mean feat. I'm convinced the Times goes out of its way to hire the stupidest "conservatives" it can find to make Frank Rich look better.

And something else bothers me about this whole new generation of newspaper pundits, from Douthat to Ezra Klein. Most of them look like they're hardly old enough to shave. Douthat's beard looks like the one I tried to grow when I was 17, and I would certainly card Klein if he tried to buy beer in my 7-11.

What happened to the days when newspaper editorialists and columnists were grizzled old Ed Asner types that had some actual hair on their chests and some real life experience under their belts?

Blogger Suzan said...
Brilliant deconstruction, Jill.

And in trying to appeal to right-wing audience, it's forgotten that there are people out there who want actual televised hard news. Those people now have nowhere to go.