Daytime TV: This way lies Bedlam!


Dogs and well-paid speeches: Yesterday, we tuned in to Alex Wagner’s show on the One True Channel. It was our first time.

At the moment we clicked the TV on, what was Wagner’s panel discussing? The time Mitt Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car!

We can’t find a tape of this segment. (For yesterday’s opening segment, click this.) But Maggie Haberman said something like this: She doesn’t think it’s fair to raise the topic a thousand times daily.

Why is Wagner on the air? In part, because she’s very telegenic—and because she’s a grinner, a pleaser. In essence, she’s a much smarter version of Erin Burnett.

That said, did we note that she and her fatuous panel were discussing the dog on the roof of the car? By the way: When pundits burn their daytime hours having these utterly worthless discussions, are you surprised that they seem to know so very little about actual serious topics?

On a career basis, Wagner can’t go wrong mucking around in this pitiful tripe. In this morning’s column, Lady Collins does a bit of nut-picking in South Carolina. (Collins enjoys mocking “the lesser breed,” if we might quote our Chekhov.) Then, she pretends to evaluates Romney’s performance in Monday’s debate:
COLLINS (1/19/12): MITT ROMNEY The South Carolina primary has been one long obsession with Mitt Romney’s extreme richness. This is partly because Newt Gingrich keeps carping on it. Which, to be honest, we have enjoyed very much. But, mainly, it’s because Mitt is so weird and off-putting on the subject. Like the time he told people he was unemployed. And, this week, when he dismissed the fees he earns as a public speaker, which ran to $374,327 in one recent year, as “not very much.”

People, what is it with this guy? Mitt was charging around $42,000 a speech. If you were planning to run for president and didn’t need money, would you deliberately pursue a sideline that would put you in the top 1 percent for about 12 hours’ worth of work? And, while we’re at it, if you were that rich and had a very large family to take to Canada, wouldn’t you hire a plane? What kind of obsession is it that makes a multi-multi-multimillionaire show up for the GoldenTree Asset Management convention for a $68,000 fee? Or drive for 12 hours with the Irish setter strapped to the car roof?
That whole passage is so stupid it squeaks; it’s deeply, profoundly defective. (Did Romney “tell people he was unemployed?” Even Andrew Sullivan was honest enough to say, in yesterday’s post, that Romney made this statement “half-seriously.” In fact, Romney's remark was a joke. Although your lizard brain may insist that it had to be more, so much more.)

Collins doesn’t understand why Romney would charge for those speeches—or why he would make them at all? (She calls it an obsession. Note the way she lets you roll your eyes at the name of that convention group.) What then does she understand? Just this: She knows how to run for Romney’s dog, strapped to the roof of the car. Strapped to the roof of the car in 1983!

Why didn’t Romney hire a plane if his family was going to Canada? These are the weirdly defective thoughts which torment this high lady’s sleep.

This way lies Bedlam. In fact, we’re long since there. Collins has made no attempt to explain Romney’s conduct at Bain Capital, or to explain his gruesome policy proposals. Instead, she keeps dragging us up on the roof of the car—just as she once penned low-IQ garbage concerning vile Candidate Gore.

Our thoughts often turn to mental illness when we read Collins' columns. As a general matter, it isn’t good to speculate about that topic. But such thoughts flashed through our mind again today. How could anyone fail to wonder about this particular writer?

Yesterday, we flipped on the TV machine thingy. Wagner and a gang of pleasers were up on the roof of that car.


  1. There is first the lying viciousness of Gail Collins, there is second the seemingly crazy obsession and wish to destroy American political discourse. Truly, I do not think we have ever seen such repeated rottenness in the New York Times.

  2. I continue to be shocked.

  3. Just turn on the mute and admire her dimples and teeth.

  4. Now, now, people, you must admit she's especially charming when she and her conservative pal David Brooks engage in their delightful and content-free New York Timesconversations. She often gets in a tasty quip or two, and may push back against some of his right-wing nonsense, so she's not all bad. But like so many writing for the New York Times, policy, or policies, bore her.

    Or policies that help the small people bore her. And who amongst us, us being the élites, wants to hear about tax policies that might put more money in some working parents' pockets? Who amongst us wants to hear about some boring plan that will shore up Social Security but which might also involving removing an income cap and forcing us to shell out more of our precious dollars? Who amongst us wants to pay attention to whether the laws will be changed such that some poor woman cannot get a safe and legal abortion? Darlings, we can just hop on a plane and fly to Canada!

    So let's cut Gail some slack. She has other things to worry about. She and Maureen and Dana and Rachel and Lawrence and Ed and Frank Rich and Frank Bruni and all the rest of the liberal newspaper and TV gang. If you had their kind of positions and money to work with and a cushy job like they do, you'd understand. And if not, as Mitt Romney (oops, am I quoting him, he's sooooo like Al Gore), you're "envious."

  5. Re Wagner. Her show is usually pretty good for a lunch-time "news" discussion show -- in fact, excellent on several occasions. (I'm not sure how many times I've caught it -- 5 or 6?) Stay tuned -- bad luck you tuned in on dog day. (And at least Haberman was objecting to the topic.)

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