Sunday, November 16, 2008

Talking Heads

In the waning weeks of the presidential campaign, I found myself no longer watching the Sunday talking head shows: they tended to drive me crazy and only increase the general angst I was feeling. Turns out, there may have been a reason. Today, in fact, the schedule is as follows (per Atrios):

7 Appearances by Republican current elected officeholders
3 Appearances by Democratic current elected officeholders.
2 Appearances by Republican former elected officeholders.
1 Appearance by a Bush Cabinet Secretary.
T. Boone Pickens
Ted Turner.

(The myth of the "liberal" media has, in my opinion, long since been debunked. But it serves as a convenient whipping boy for the right wing. Lazy? Yes. Vapid? Certainly. Superficial? Like scum on a puddle. Liberal? Not so much.)

Nevertheless, because I noted Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize winning economist, whom I read regularly, acknowledging his partisanship) was on, I tuned into This Week this morning. It was quite amazing.

There are perhaps none on television as fond of hearing themselves talk, as smug and self-satisfied as Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, and George Will (as opposed to the first two, I think he's a very smart guy and often worth listening to; how the other two are elevated to thrones of thought-production, I don't know). There they sat, with the opportunity to hear from an actual expert on the economy, and they barely allowed him a word. Literally: no sentence passed his lips, but that it was interrupted by one of the triumvirate. Not one. It was stunning, even for them.

Not that it matters. None of them (the regular panel of pronoucers) has an actual say in anything of substance. Still, it's amazing what passes for discussion on television nowadays, and it reminds me why I turned it off a while back.

[Update: Here's one that got through more or less uninterrupted, and showed George Will a thing or two.]


  1. I never, as in NEVER, watch the talking heads on Sunday morning. Puts me in the worst kind of moods. Nothing so frosts me as listening to these self-appointed experts on anything having to do with public life drone and pontificate and pronounce. They define loving to hear oneself talk.

    Must register a slight demurrer about George Will. (I agree, of course, about the other two.) He's intelligent but is basically a smug little guttersnipe who's never been known to be even-handed even by accident. His baseball books are good, I will say that.

    I'll have a Roger Mudd, thank you.

  2. You might be interested in watching Fareed Zakaria on CNN sunday afternoon.......he's really good and always has interesting guests.

    Please, oh please, post some new surgical stuff!

  3. Sure miss Tim Russert. He had such a civil way of grilling politicians, not letting them dance around his questions. An interview between him and Sarah would have been a great show.

  4. athenavandix: I completely agree about Fareed; he's excellent. I think HE should be secretary of state; or foreign policy advisor.

    And I do hope to find the motivation to return to Surgeonsblog. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  5. Ted: I mostly agree about Russert, although I think he tended too often to focus on "gotchas" for their own sake, or on politics more than policy. Still he was better than most. Actually I think Stephanopolous has done some of the better interviews (Jon Stewart, seriously, has done the best!), asking followup question instead of moving on to the next point (a la Russert) no matter the answer.

  6. I watched excerpts of various talks by Paul Krugman on YouTube... Intelligent, very knowledgeable fella (and humorous!).


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