The mainstream media and the liberal biases inherent in it are not as influential as they once were, especially as new media and technologies proliferate. Stubbornly, though, the mainstream media networks, such as ABC and CNN, still have an ability to influence and set the agenda when it comes to political discourse, especially when it comes to how casual observers of politics get their information. This is so mainly because of the platforms, even though they are diminishing, and resources they have.
Currently, the most grating television to watch in the mainstream media world are the political programming on ABC and CNN’s prime time.
As the new year approaches and an emboldened Republican Party and the conservative movement comes to Washington, here are some suggestions on how to make these programs a bit less unbearable for conservatives and Americans who are not liberal kool-aid drinkers.
ABC and This Week:
No current network or program symbolizes the clueless insularity of the mainstream media establishment more than ABC and their public affairs Sunday show, “This Week.”
Once the top-rated show anchored by legendary David Brinkley, “This Week” is now the third-rated Sunday show hosted by the unlikable Christiane Amanpour. The show has lost an astounding 46% of its viewers since last year. ABC executives’ decision to make Amanpour the anchor showed how out-of-touch they are with main street Americans. Amanpour, a New York-based, international reporter who often tends to blame America first, said that she does not know much about U.S. politics, and has shown no interest in learning it. This bizarre move of hiring Amanpour to be the host was akin to hiring British futbol announcers to call the Super Bowl.
Things would get worse.
In one of the most abominable and incomprehensible moments in the history of Sunday television that was a symbolic spitting on the grave of the late Brinkley, Amanpour and the producers of “This Week” decided to give a seat on their roundtable to the inane and vacuous Meghan McCain, who, when not throwing imbecilic tantrums befitting a spoiled, childish, five-year old brat or forcing unflattering photos of her body that nobody wants to look at on her Twitter followers to shamelessly get herself the attention she desperately craves but cannot get by legitimate means, seems to be on a mission to try to become famous for lowering the IQs of people who watch political television so much to the point where she thinks she’ll be noticed by the paparazzi that will probably always find her to be uninteresting while the elite mainstream liberal media tries to turn McCain into the Republican Alvin Greene.
These blunders have translated into brutal ratings. After Child McCain appeared on “This Week,” many viewers felt that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and decided just to not watch the show anymore.
ABC has quite simply been a disaster. They are just getting over a disastrous, hideous, and monstrous female executive, Mimi Gurbst, who made the workplace intolerable for many. David Westin, who was recently relieved of his duty, was clueless, unimaginative, and “ran the network into the ground.” And their recent hire of Ben Sherwood, a liberal Hollywood executive, as well-sourced Senior Editor Emily Miller reported, as President, drew less than stellar reviews. Sherwood was recently mocked by current and former ABC staffers in a video that has been widely circulated online.
And while some consider Jake Tapper, a staffer for liberal former Rep. Marjorie Margolis Mezvinsky, who will guest host “This Week” this weekend, the future of the network, such talk about his potential may be misguided. For one, some of his tweets on the social media site Twitter have shown him to be thin-skinned at times and sanctimonious, especially concerning who he deems to be proper journalistic role models. And that sanctimony became more ridiculous when he recently congratulated President Obama on the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that the Clinton Administration implemented during a White House briefing. And while Tapper, who is one of the better White House correspondents even though the bar for that title is pretty low, took to Twitter to say he was just displaying good manners in congratulating Obama, one can wonder if Tapper would have shown such manners to a politician who managed to pass legislation that the gay community did not like. In addition, his nasally and whiny voice is a distraction for viewers who watch “This Week.”
But even at ABC, the cupboard is not completely barren.
To make ABC more tolerable, ABC executives should put a spotlight on Rick Klein, and give him a chance to host “This Week.” Klein is the closest thing ABC has to the innovative pioneers such as Messrs. Arledge and Brinkley that once made the now moribund network great. Klein is ABC’s Senior Washington Editor and co-hosts an innovative, substantive, fast-paced, and fun daily web-show called “Top Line” that is the closest thing to ESPN’s famed “Pardon The Interruption” in the political realm. He is more than fair to conservatives and keeps his ideology (I don’t even know if he has one because one cannot tell) to himself. Klein is even also a frequent contributor on Fox News, appearing frequently on Greta Van Sustern’s “On The Record.” Such appearances are solidifying his laurels as an intellectually honest arbiter who can maintain the trust and credibility of people from the right to the left. More importantly, Klein is a versatile five-tool player (television, web, print, online, radio) or a one man Swiss Army Knife who is perfectly positioned to take ABC into the new media age. ABC, if it seeks to regain its credibility and gravitas, should make Klein the centerpiece of its news division before some other, and what will turn out to be a more enterprising, network poaches him and makes him the centerpiece of theirs.
CNN and Parker/Spitzer:
Someone needs to introduce this show to Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Jonathan Klein, who directed CNN to plummeting ratings and a prime time lineup devoid of any rhyme or reason, was relieved of his duties after nearly a decade of futility. Fittingly, one of his last moves, in a shameless act of nepotism for his disgraced friend Eliot Spitzer, was creating “Parker/Spitzer,” and it serves as a perfect symbol of how far CNN has fallen from grace. The show pairs the disgraced ex-Gov. of New York who was caught spending tens of thousands of dollars on high-priced hookers with a faux-conservative who gained prominence inside the media establishment solely due to her criticisms of Sarah Palin (in fairness to Parker — and to symbolize the insularity of the establishment media — she was one of the most widely read syndicated columnists before she ever spoke a bad word about Sarah Palin, but the establishment media had never heard of her until she bad-mouthed Palin). This show, which seemingly tries to be a prime time version of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” lacks chemistry between the hosts who come across as a couple in an arranged marriage that has gone awry.
To make matters worse, “Parker/Spitzer” is recorded and does not air live, and this often makes the show seem like it’s a day late and a dollar short on days when news breaks after the show has finished taping.
Other aspects of CNN are just as bleak. CNN employs a combination of aging, has-been establishment pundits who spew nothing but tired and unoriginal — and often wrong — conventional wisdom and young reporters, except for reporter/producer Peter Hamby, whose credentials and political acumen and judgment are beyond reproach, who often seem to lack gravitas, the “it” factor, and come off as being a couple levels above what their pay grade should be.
One bright spot, though, is John King. CNN should make him the network’s franchise player, but for some inexplicable reason, he is stuck in a 7pm time slot that does him and his considerable talent a disservice. Featuring King in a more prominent, multi-platform manner would make the network a bit more tolerable to watch. Yes, King probably leans to the left, but he gives conservatives a fairer shake than most of his ilk, as evidenced by the fact that he features RedState.com’s Editor Erick Erickson as a prominent and frequent contributor on his program.
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