Many a blogger has speculated vainly on the mysterious and often bizarre choice of guests on the network Sunday talk news programs. The two main ones being Meet the Press with David Gregory and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Back in the days when I had a full-time job and couldn’t follow the fast-moving intrigues of the weekly news cycle, these shows were marginally useful and occasionally even entertaining. These days, as I wait for a phone call telling me I have or haven’t been hired for a network support role that would boost me back into the lower middle class, they’re worthless. By the time Sunday rolls around my cohorts and I have heard the latest partisan poutrages, talking points and counter talking points and obfuscations galore, which get regurgitated on Sunday morning verbatim, as if they were new and fresh and completely un-debunked six ways from, well, Sunday.
So it was the TV happened to be on network stations last Sunday morning, as I lasered through space-scapes and hacked a bloody trail across Azeroth and shot down Nazi fighters in my treasured, custom virtual P-38 Lightning, it struck me that video games and political talk shows share something strange in common: both allow endless resurrections from the dead no matter how much damage the character sustains in battle.
The first oddity that pierced the cacophony of fake wars waged by pixel was the visage of Steve Case on MtP. Why anyone would think a former head of AOL from almost two decades ago, a firm that peaked in 1999 only to fall from dot-com grace faster than a Siberian meteor shatters a peaceful Russian morning, would be the guy whose sage observations on Obamacare or anything else matters to the nation is indeed a mystery. Only the programs schedulers will ever know the answer, perhaps it’s Because, the Internet? But Case was at least somewhat original, downright delightful, compared to who and what was on This Week.
There, just one channel up on Uverse, viewers could tune in to learn what Newt Gingrich thought about current events. Bizarro! It’s not just that Gingrich hasn’t held an elected office since 1999, or run in a general election since before that, or that his views are as predictable and unremarkable as an elderly cocker spaniel taking an afternoon nap. It’s that he was chased out of office in disgrace for ethical lapses so profound even the far right-wing of his own Republican party couldn’t stand him any longer. And yet this is the guy that ABC thought we all needed to hear from, about what ever is new, when all people really want to hear from Gingrich is the answer to age-old various scandals he was at the center of starting at least 20 years ago. Say for example, what the hell his bullshit excuse for whining incessantly about Clinton’s affair, touting conservative family values and pimping the integrity of heterosexual marriage, while banging a 29 year-old platinum blonde DC secretary behind the back of his soon-to-be-abandoned second wife of almost twenty years?
Gingrich was joined on the panel by none other than Wrong-way Bill Kristol*. A man who has literally been wrong about damn near every major policy or political prediction he has ever made, many offered up on the very same show with the very same host. And yet no one bothered to clue viewers in that this asshat was considered a joke and an embarrassment to pretty much every serious pundit and columnist in the greater DC beltway region and beyond. You’d think, with all the windows and pop ups invading network TV screens these days, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem to warn viewers with a flashing text message every time Kristol opened his yap reading This Guy Has Been Wrong About EVERYTHING.
So the mystery remains, why do these kinds of “guests” keep getting booked on what we’re told by persistent advertising spots are the most important news programs on television today? And that’s not a trick question, I have no idea.