"Face the Tautology" edition.
With "Meet the Press" opting for the second week in a row for a call-back to the Gregory-era burn-the-village-to-save-the-village attempt at redemption by preemption:
The Meet the Press ratings death-spiral was briefly arrested due to preemption by a soccer game, which meant that the John McCain/Lindsay Graham Human Neocon Centipede was able to sleep in today, and Chuck Todd had to read his 2016 goat entrails alone in his kitchenette with no one listening. I think this bold "Saving Meet the Press by not actually airing Meet the Press" idea has a lot of promise.
-- the field was cleared for long-lost Edgar Winter Group timpanist, John Dickerson, to let the kids know what deal was. To do so, he led with this statement of principles:
John Dickerson says just-retired Bob Schieffer left him with one piece of advice about moderating CBS' "Face the Nation" — and he's going to follow it.Dickerson ended his debut broadcast Sunday as permanent host of the public affairs program by repeating what Schieffer told him: "Stick to the news."
Bold! Direct! And leaves unanswered the most important question in American political media: who gets to decide what gets treated as "news" and what gets exiled to the dirty hippie kiddie table?
I believe we see we see the shape of thing to come in this
"Short Dick" "Short Take" in which Mr. Dickerson gives the GOP's aggressive and well-funded nationwide drive to screw as many poor people, minorities, students, and elderly Americans out of their franchise as possible the full "Both Siderist" treatment -- straight up the nonexistent middle and into the Republican party's back pocket:
Both sides of the political aisle argue that the other side is corrupting the voting process and they each argue their opponents are trying to steal elections.
...Republicans argue voter fraud is a real danger to democracy...Democrats argue restrictions on polling place access, by making it harder for people to vote, either through ID laws or early voting/polling place location restrictions puts undue burden on some voters, therefore disenfranchising their vote...While both sides play the voting rights card to rally their political base, any election not won at the polls will certainly be fought in the courts, we saw this in the 2000 election...
Overall I would say that Mr. Dickerson played the role of Republican door-mat no worse than Chuck Todd.
So basically the new "Face the Nation" appears fucked right out of the starting gate.
For example, here is Mr. Dickerson serving up a question which triggered the kind of word-like noise emanations from Republican Class Five Full Roaming Vapor Rick Perry which would cause your average high school newspaper reporter on the cafeteria beat to return service with some form of follow up question:
DICKERSON: What are you going to do about Wall Street, then?PERRY: Well, regulate them. I mean, regulate them. Make sure that that doesn't happen. If they make bad decisions, let them live with those bad decisions. Don't bail them out.DICKERSON: All right, I'll -- but isn't that what Dodd-Frank is? Regulations? You were just saying that was bad?PERRY: Dodd-Frank is killing the community banks over regulation in that sense. There needs to be some wisdom. My home state one of the things that we were successful with was finding that balance between protecting the citizens and allowing the freedom for folks to grow to be able to get loans, to be able to do the things that really matter. And Dodd- Frank just codifies into place these regulations. Big banks, and they hire all the lawyers, they hire all the accountants, and then they write it off and we pay for it. Community banks that are the real core of lending for small businessmen and women, for farmers in Iowa. You've got to give them the freedom to loan to these people.
But Mr. Dickerson is not your average high school newspaper reporter on the cafeteria beat, and instead opted to do Perry a solid by gently pry him loose from his precarious grip on what the word "regulation" means and Change The Subject to what Perry thinks of what that mean girl in sixth period math said about him:
DICKERSON: Governor, I want to get your reaction here Hillary Clinton attacked you directly. Let's listen to what she said. And I want to get your reaction.
Later, having let Chris Christie get away with murder, Mr. Dickerson turned the stage over to Ron Fournier for some reason, who granted -- grudgingly -- that while technically the GOP's aggressive and well-funded nationwide drive to screw as many poor people, minorities, students, and elderly Americans out of their franchise might be a bad thing, why oh why can't that mean girl in sixth period math focus on stuff we can all agree on:
FOURNIER: Excuse me. But you're exactly right. But that's my problem. [Hillary Clinton is] using this to appeal to one small segment of the American public. This should be an issue that we call care about, whether you're living in Kentucky or Macomb County, Michigan, the fact that we're still playing under rules that are two centuries old is something that should really -- a good leader would make it matter to somebody in Little Rock and somebody in Macomb, Kentucky.BOUIE: I don't think those things are mutually exclusive. And in the speech, she framed it explicitly as not I'm not doing this for you, this particular group of people, but we're -- this is the United States. We're a great democracy. It is wrong for Americans to be kept from the polls.FOURNIER: But what are we hearing out of her campaign?BOUIE: We're doing that.CORDES: But I think -- I mean, this is the point a campaign where everyone is playing to their base, right? And I think it's really --FOURNIER: But they've got to be better than that....
Because no one has spent many years and many millions of dollars in a coordinated effort to personally screw Ron Fournier out of his right to vote, screwing people out of their right to vote is not really an issue which "we all care about". And because Hillary Clinton has not, in the last four days, personally elevated the issue of screwing people who are not Ron Fournier the point where Ron Fournier cares about it, she is failing as a leader.
And anyway, what about the telegraph? Why the fuck aren't we talking about that!
FOURNIER: Again, this [voting rights] is an issue, it's a rise above the horse race. These laws go back to 1845, when farmers had to be on their farms on Sunday to go to church and had to be in the market on Wednesday.A couple of things have happened since then, like the telegraph and the Internet...
But if you want to have a shot at the gold in 2016, in these qualifying heats you've gotta be able to impress the fuck out of the judges by absolutely sticking the landing with a big, fact-free Both Siderist/Imaginary Center triple axel. Like so (emphasis added):
DICKERSON: And, Ron, what we're talking about here is an electorate that is different than we have seen before. That really is all about possibly the way these campaigns are looking at it now, I appeal to my team, you appeal to your team.And this old idea of people in the middle who might be appealed to by rising above, are there enough of them anymore to turn them -- ?FOURNIER: -- there's a majority of them.DICKERSON: But that vote?FOURNIER: Well, that's a problem. Why don't they vote? Is it because of the voting laws? Partly. But it's mainly because they have no reason to vote. They're not being inspired. They know nothing is getting done in this town. So the campaign, both parties are capitulating to the worst instincts. Let's do this thing called negative partisanship. It's really -- that's now a policy of all parties. It's not about inspiring anybody. It's not about getting people to vote for me. It's about getting them to vote against the other side [garbled] new kind of politics, not a Bill Clinton politics. You're exactly right.
Mr. Fournier may be an otherwise useless squeezed-dick of a pundit, but he is an almost flawless barometer of any teevee show's slow-poison toxicity. If he's on it, you can skip it.
And that is the end of the "news"
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Edgar Winter Group: