I never really thought of myself as a junkie, but with re-runs of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert this week, I've been letting the TV drift to MSNBC and watching some of their hosts. My wife can't stand Chris Matthews, and personally I find all the yelling and talking-over-each-other very disagreeable as well. Keith Olbermann is somewhat more tolerable, but his mocking voices and bits like "worse, worser, worst" (anyone else wanna bitch slap him back to grammar school, unless he agrees to revise that to "bad, worse, worst"?) get kinda old - even if the material is topical and poignant.
Rachel Maddow is the most tolerable of the bunch, and when I first stumbled across her I was very much a fan. Lately I find her a bit too repetitive - the first half of her bit tonight about the bashing of the new supreme court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was mostly rehashing her material from yesterday (or recently) - for a while I thought I was watching a rerun.
More disturbing, however, is how this "news network" is turning more and more into an attempted mix between a formal news broadcast and comedy central. Stewart pointed it out himself, talking about their coverage of the "tea baggging" on tax day - how the MSNBC hosts were playing up to the *sexual* connotation of that term (if you still aren't all awares about that, do yourself a favor and "google" it, "wiki" it, or at least check it out at the "urban dictionary") and the obliviousness of the republican organizers, and apparently most participants and many correspondents as well.
They have really crossed the line - or jumped the shark, as it were - with segments like Keith's "WTF? moment." We all know what it stands for (or - again, look it up!), but do we really need a professional news show host to be repeatedly dumbing-down their shows and going for shock value? They have already adopted the worst aspects of network news, giving mini-teasers before commercial breaks and throughout the show, hoping to get you to stay for the end. Sometimes you hear the same lead-in / promo for whatever "story" 5-6 times before they actually get to it, and they spend less time discussing the story than they do promoting it. I guess it's tough to fill their hour-long slots. Is that why Rachel talked to a friggin' spelling bee winner for a huge segment of her show tonight?!? Ugh!!
Something I did find interesting was her reaction to all the bashing of Sonia Sotomayor. I do agree that it sounds very negative and one-sided, and I applaud the effort to bring out the true and full details of this reverse-discrimination case that is up before the current supreme court now. But along with her call to keep discussion of Sotomayor's nomination civil, she also seemed to be calling for a silencing of Sotomayor's critics. They do need to be making fact-based arguments and should be encouraged - hell, bound by their "position in society" - to be civil and respectable about things, but any reference to "silencing" the dissent or debate would be counter to our principles as a nation.
The other interesting item on her show was all this hubbub about Dick Cheney and his persistent defense of torture. Now he's got his daughter Liz Cheney hitting the trail for him as well, talking about these mysterious classified memos that demonstrate the "effectiveness" of torture. I understand she is a lawyer, but what precisely is her expertise with respect to these classified memos? Has she seen them? I don't believe she is involved highly enough to have that clearance (although I could be wrong - anyone know? I didn't see much in my initial search on-line), so unless daddy breached security and showed them to her, she really shouldn't be talking them up. As opposed to Carl Levin, who has seen the memos and is finally speaking AGAINST Cheney's claims. But just like Meghan McCain, Liz Cheney is a hot blonde republican. This is probably more related to attempting to change the image of the republican party, "rebranding" it with new faces (even if what they are spewing is old hat). If the party keeps moving in this direction, they may finally decrease their dependence on Viagra!
Meanwhile, even General Petraeus is admitting that the Bush administration violated the Geneva Convention .... I look forward to further developments on a thorough investigation and some holding of appropriate people accountable, to the U.S. as well as the people of the world that we claim to be role models for.
Ah... it feels good to rant again. More to come!
All photos lifted from google image searches.