Friday, July 08, 2005

Sunday Chat & Chews

When will the madness end? Not this Sunday as we see the usual suspects (yet again). Yes, it's time to note the Sunday Chat & Chews. All shows air Sunday, check your local listings.

What becomes a weak mind most? Tim Russert seems to fill it's an hour of wall to wall male guests. (Seems to be a pattern. Does he have something to prove?)

This week the must see guests, for those whose idea of must see is "Well it's this or the repeats of Lost World or Davey & Goliath," include:

Secretary of Homeland Security
Author, "America the Vulnerable: How Our Government is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism"Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Former Administrator of Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Senior Counselor, "The Cohen Group"
Judiciary CommitteeIntelligence Committee
Judiciary Committee

ABC's This Week offers surprise bookings -- provided your idea of suprise is more of the same:

Michael Chertoff,
Secretary of Homeland Security
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

And in our roundtable, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, an ABC News analyst, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and ABC News' Martha Raddatz join [George] Stephanopoulos for a discussion on the London terror attacks and the continued war on terror.

As we move on to the Tiifany if Tiffany's Had a Tag Sale Network, you wonder, "Will it be three for three? Will Chertoff make a clean sweap?" Proving that originality long ceased functioning at all levels of network TV, the sad answer is yes. CBS's Face the Nation:

London Bombings, The Supreme Court
Michael Chertoff
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Sen. Arlen Specter
Republican - Pennsylvania
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Democrat – Vermont
Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
Jan Crawford Greenburg
The Chicago Tribune

What's the point of having Chertoff on all three? Obviously not to get high ratings (which they don't really anyway). It's to say, "Hey, don't blame me! We had Chertoff on too! I can't help it if no one watches!" Possibly no one watches because this crap is the same crap from network to network. Isn't it past time that one of the shows demonstrated some bravery and booked a non-obvious guest? But little boys in the locker room apparently fear being caught with their pants down (probably for good reason) so they all grab the towel that is Chertoff and drape it around their waist before taking down the pants.

Week after week, these jaw bone fests try to fill (waste?) time and yet week after week, they all have to have the same damn guests. Even in terms of elected officials. For instance, to watch these programs, you'd think the Senate was composed of no more than twenty senators. Since Congress is too frightened to take on dergeulation, maybe we should try selling it to them with, "How about you include a rule by which each Sunday Chat & Chew must book each Senator and each rep at least once during a calander year?" It just might pass since far more members of Congress never appear on these shows than actually do. How many weeks does Ore Hatchett Head get a year anyway?

Where's Bernie Sanders? Where's Barbara Lee? Where's anyone who hasn't been on these tired shows eight hundred already?

And though I've mocked This Week for booking car drivers, it's the closest thing to "the people" we've seen on the snooze programs in some time. Get the idea that this isn't about you the viewer and just about who gets invited to what party? Good then maybe you'll grasp why these conventional wisdom shows are a waste of all of our time.

But Hatch or whomever is big! We need to know what they think!

Maybe it's past time we started hearing what "the people" thought? Maybe it's past time these shows made some attempt to connect with viewers? Meet the Press leads the pack ratings wise. That has nothing to do with quality -- there's little quality on any of these shows (though as much as Blinky Bob gets on my nerves, he does generally run a better show in terms of not resorting to yucks the way Russert too often does). It also has little to do with real ratings. If these shows had to live or die by the ratings, the life support would have been pulled long ago -- unless certain Congressional members, out of their own self-interests, attempted to ram through a law (but Congress would never be that short sighted, would they?).

Democracy Now! has better discussions and it doesn't have to resort to the obvious names. Nor does it have to resort to week after week of elected officials. There's real discussion there but for the Sunday Chat & Chews to achieve that they'd have to leave the by the beltway, for the beltway, of the beltway nonsense.

Maybe some week they'll surprise us and we'll see one program decide to break from the pack and actually deal with reality but that would take more bravery than any has yet demonstrated. It's much easier to be mediocre and fail while saying, "I'm doing just what the other two are doing!" This Week and Face the Nation especially have nothing to lose by taking a chance but repeatedly failing while doing exactly the same thing is safe. So they'll stick with that apparently.

For an idea of what should be discussed with Chertoff but won't be, see "Snapshots: Chertoff and it's an ugly picture."

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