Friday, September 30, 2005

Sunday Chat & Chews

Sunday Chat & Chews . . .

You took my heart misery
You taught me blues
Well I got a lot of patience, baby
That's a lot of patience to lose

Sunday Chat & Chews

(Apologies to the late, great Laura Nyro. "When I Was A Free Port And You Were The Main Drag" words and music, by Laura Nyro. Off the album Chirstmas and the Beads of Sweat.)

The Sunday Chat & Chews destroy the brains on Sunday, they generally air Sunday morning's and you can check your local listings for the times in your area.

NBC's Meet the Press? It's hard for many people to picture this, but there was a time when a guest would . . . Meet the Press. Now it's all Tim, all the time. If you like your blowhards with splotchy cheeks and an increasingly rotund figure (are he and Bill Richardson in some sort of contest to see who can pack on the most pounds this decade?), Tim Russert hosts the Chat & Chew for you.

Topics? "General John Abizad" will discuss Iraq in one segment. Tom DeLay will be discussed by Rahm Emanuel and Tom Reynolds. (The "press" will be represented in both segments by Russert.) Then Dan Balz (Washington Post) and John Harwood (Wall Street Journal) will "discuss the very latest in the CIA leak investigation, corruption charges and the Republican Party, and the politics of President Bush's next Supreme Court pick."

Setting aside Russert's own grand jury testimony (as he's done and continues to do), here's a reason the format is a dog. John Harwood? Back in May of 2004 was writing a column about the "group think" of our elected officials on Iraq, he was speaking to William E. Odom, retired general, whose remarks then seem even more true today. If the show used the old format, Harwood would be able to ask about that, to contrast Abizad's views with Odom's. But it's all about Tim and when Tim's not aware of something, the show really suffers.

ABC's This Week? Well it looks promising when you see that it's both Cokie free and has Stephen Breyer as a guest. Anytime a Supreme Court Justice is a guest, it should make for something since they so rarely do the Chat & Chews.

But it's the parsely that comes with the meal and the main course may leave you gassy.

"Gen. George Casey" will discuss Iraq. But, and here's where you need to hide the children, the
Lynne Cheney will come on to discuss her "passion" for American history (revised and rewritten), the Constitution (which her attacks on academic freedom have demonstrated is a document she knows nothing about) and "teaching children." It's not an election cycle so they might even toss Mary a crumb. Who knows?

They sprinkle the lesbian daughter in when it's good for them and act outraged and draw the veil (like Jeb over his son's most recent address) at other times. If you watch, you can figure out if they're forcing their own groundhog back into her hole.

The roundtable includes Terry Moran & Linda Douglass with everyone's favorite Aunty George Will offering his own version of Roz Russell's Mame -- minus the sparkle.

At CBS's Face The Nation? Cue cards are being written, martinis mixed while swinging Bob Schieffer continues to wing it and keep the memory of Dino alive. (Translation, the show's still up in the air.)

Let's go back to Laura Nyro:

I'm a woman
Waiting for due time
Now I've been treated bad
When I was a free port and you were the main drag.

Tim Russert is the main drag. Nyro wrote that song in 1971. Thirty-four years later, Russert & co. don't think twice (it's not alright) about doing an entire show without a female. Tim Russert & Meet the Press, you are the main drag.

So if I had to watch? I'd skip all three. I'd use the time more wisely in the morning and catch The Laura Flanders Show on Saturday & Sunday:

This weekend on Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Tom Delay's wheeling and dealing -- was it dirty, dumb or both?
We'll hear from Craig McDonnell - the Texan whose public-interest group nailed the hammer.
Arrest stories from the
Troops Home demonstrations
Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards on his powerful speech against the war
Sarah Jones on her new play "A Right to Care"
And on our monthly book show, we'll come up with a Reading List for Senators... at least one may be about to have some time on his hands!

Visit the blog to hear sound clips from our coverage of the historic anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C. last weekend and Click here to see photos.
Don't Forget - Now you can listen to the Laura Flanders Show via podcast on iTunes!
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

I get the topics that will be covered on the Chat & Chews but I get them with a wider range of voices and I get them with Flanders common sense perspective. She hasn't traded common sense for access. (Or traded integrity for access.) Unlike the Chat & Chew hosts, she's yet to write a book (or mulitple ones) about herself. Instead she focuses on real issues when she writes a book (with no rumors of ghost writers). She's interested in the world and knows it exists beyond the beltway. She doesn't want rehearsed responses, she wants a discussion. So I'll skip the Sunday Chat & Chews and listen to Laura Flanders. (Thanks to Martha for the information on The Laura Flanders Show.)

In the days when I did watch the Chat & Chews (I'm in recovery on the Chat & Chews -- one Sunday at a time), if I was in the other room and thought I heard something, I didn't consult the transcripts. But on Saturdays, when we're working on The Third Estate Sunday Review's latest edition and have Flanders on in the background, if I miss part of something, I will go over to Air America Place to catch an archived show again. Like everyone else, my time is limited. I can't imagine watching a Chat & Chew once all the way through, let alone twice. But I can, and do, listen to The Laura Flanders Show more than once.

If you've never listened, you're missing one of the community's favorite programs. So if you haven't listened before, consider checking it out. You'll get a range of guests, a range of opinions, you'll get callers calling in to share and agree or disagree (disagreement! never on the Chat & Chews!). You'll get a journalist as a host who has remained a journalist and not a game show host. Flanders is "the real deal" (as West wrote after hearing Sunday's show).

The TV networks don't seem to believe a woman can host a Chat & Chew (or anchor an evening newscast) as anything other that a one-off broadcast. Weekend after weekend, Flanders pilots six hours (three hours Saturday, three on Sunday) of live radio, sometimes with remote broadcasting, and has yet to lose her sanity or common sense. This community listens to Flanders (check out Maria's interview conducted by The Third Estate Sunday Review), too bad TV network presidents don't. If they did, maybe Meet the Press wouldn't feature so many women-less programs, or so many conventional wisdom bits of pith, or, radical idea, maybe they might even consider widening the narrow range of voices and opinions they offer Sunday after Sunday.

Until that happens, you can listen over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.

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