Monday, December 18, 2006

A Few Items

A few random items:

1/ I saw the Al Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth. It was a real eye-opener. I highly recommend it.

2/ I watched 60 Minutes last night. I was struck by how little real journalism there is in the show. There was a (very moving and interesting) human interest story about the release to the public of Germany's Holocaust documentation. Then Lesley Stahl had a piece called Lost and Found, about attempts to reunite kids in foster care with their biological families. Stahl's piece was played almost completely as an infotainment human interest story, with little effort made to provide viewers with basic information about the subject matter of the story.

Then Bob Simon did an infotainment bit on comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Simon actually asked him, "Do you think political correctness has gotten out of control?" (The guy said yes.) And then there was another unwatchable Andy Rooney bit.

3/ Yesterday, I watched both the Chris Matthews Show and Meet the Press. A few drive-by observations:

- Chris Matthews' panel was incredibly weak yesterday: David Brooks (NYT), Howard Fineman (Newsweek), Michele Norris (NPR) and Jennifer Senior (New York Magazine). The best of the bunch was Howard Fineman, who obviously isn't a policy guy, but is a fairly astute commenter on the politics of national politics. David Brooks is a GOP operative/columnist hack, and Michele Norris and Jennifer Senior are by-the-numbers conventional wisdom script-following pseudo-journalists.

- Tim Russert interviewed Newt Gingrich, and then had a discussion with Tom Friedman and David Brooks. Now that's fair and balanced!

- It really looks like Newt Gingrich is preparing to run for the GOP nomination. He has been a feverish supporter of the Iraq fiasco -- it'll be interesting to see him try and distance himself from the Bush policy and the Saint John McCain position. He continues to be an enthusiatic promoter of the "9/11 Requires America to become a Police State" world view.

- Tom Friedman is a buffoon. Why does this guy continue to be taken seriously?

- What's wrong with Tim Rusert? What thought process leads the guy to book Brooks (totally wrong about the war, a GOP hack) and Friedman (totally wrong about the war, a demonstrable flake) for a discussion about the war?


Damion said...

Agreed, almost on all counts. A couple of points relating to Meet the Press. Ever since I got a DVR, I record and watch Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos, two shows with long pedigrees and which still command a degree of respect.

And, I'm a general fan of Tim Russert. While I lament the frequency with which Friedman and his Moustache of Understanding are invited on the show, I generally appreciate Tim's questions of invited politicians, which frequently are direct and politely unralenting. The length of his segments is also a refreshing chance to hear politicians struggle. It's easy to gloss over mistakes when you're broadcasting 10 second soundbites. But when the host has time to call you out on non-responsive answers, the show gets more interesting. It's also one of the only shows where you can see major politicians interact with the press in a meaningful way. And, in some ways, certain politicians, even the scary ones, have to go on the show. It's also a good time to get to know your enemy, as it were, when guys like McCain and others are invited.

Eric said...

Hi Damion,
Thanks for the comment. I'm not a fan of Russert. My sense is that he has a fawning, "Just how great are you, sir?" manner when he interviews Republicans, especially senior Admninistration officials, and goes for the jugular on the rare occasions when he's interviewing Democrats. My take on Russert is that he operates pretty much completely within Republican-friendly frames.