Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ABC = All But Comatose

Well, I tried. I watched the Democratic debate, hosted by ABC News, for 50 minutes. Then I couldn't take it anymore. The pressing issues of the day, according to George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson, were the following:

1. What Obama meant by "bitter."
2. What actually happened when H. Clinton landed in Bosnia once.
3. The matter of wearing a flag-pin on one's lapel.
4. The (retired) pastor of Obama's church.

Why not ask about the exact blend of rayon and cotton in Obama's socks or the precise shade of Clinton's makeup? Why not really drill down into the big issues?

Why is George Stephanopoulos even in a position to be asking questions? He was a hack in the Clinton White House whom Bill Clinton and James Carville mocked. Why is the unctuous, pompous Charles Gibson in a position to be asking questions? He's like the stuffed-shirt straight man in a Marx Brothers movie. As Butch said to Sundance, "Who are these guys?"

Two wars, economic collapse, environmental collapse, the largest prison population in the industrial world, a chasm between rich and poor, no solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, a Vice President who wants to be a dictator and who got liquored up and shot his friend in the face, a circus clown as president, a Congress that seems to be on a permanent morphine-drip, a Supreme Court that looks like the Spanish Inquisition, a concentration camp in Guantanamo, a Justice Department that argued in favor of torture up to the brink of organ failure, the use of ethanol helping to worsen famine worldwide (feed cars, not people), the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and so on--and what do Fatuous Gibson and George Boretheshitoutofus ask about?:

Flag pins, the Bosnian tarmac 15 years ago, a retired pastor, and the word "bitter." I'm now convinced that all journalists except Helen Thomas have been taken over by the pod-people of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and are incapable of asking pertinent questions.

I ask of American journalism what I believe Casey Stengel once asked of his hapless New York Mets, as he watched them flinging themselves around the diamond like characters from Monty Pythons's sketch, "Twit of the Year": Can anybody play this game?

Of course, because HC is behind, she was only too happy to play the pin-the-flag-on-the-pastor's-tarmac game of trivia, but at least Obama had the decency to look nauseous and to ask, implicitly, "Who cares about this shit? People are out of jobs and homes." Not that Obama is some kind of hero. It's just that his brain seems still to work, so of course he was perplexed (as any normal person would be) by George and Charlie.

Is All But Comatose still owned by Disney? Are any television-journalists required to study journalism anymore?

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