Soledad O'Brien’s first half hour, also starring Obama: The stupidification of our discourse had rarely seemed quite so advanced.
The stupidification was all over cable last night. To simplify, consider the first half-hour of CNN’s Anderson Cooper program, with Soledad O’Brien sitting in as guest host.
The first ten minutes were devoted to an analysis of Joe Biden’s use of the phrase “in chains.” The three-person discussion was partisan and rather dumb.
But then, consider the topic.
From there, O’Brien moved to a discussion of Medicare proposals with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. There were three Q-and-A’s in all.
To call this discussion incoherent would be extremely kind. The greater fault lay with Gupta, whose answers were misleading and/or worthless. That said, O’Brien may as well have been the apocryphal potted plant. (We expect to review this discussion in a future post.)
From here, O’Brien returned to her pair of partisan pundits. She attempted to discuss some tape of Paul Ryan discussing budget proposals with Brit Hume.
That discussion was pitiful too. Emphasis on “attempted.”
It’s hard to tell which is worse: Is it worse when cable channels spend their time parsing the latest “gaffes?” Or is it worse when they try to discuss real policy topics?
Whatever your answer may be, the stupidiifcation was general last night. And on every channel, tape of Candidate Obama capped the evening’s drift.
Needless to say, Big Ed thought it was great:
SCHULTZ (8/14/12): Coming up, President Obama brings up the tale of Seamus the dog. And the Romney campaign, they’re crying foul. We knew we would get to the dog sooner or later. We’ll bring you the latest next. It’s a good one.“It was the wisecrack everyone has been waiting for,” Big Ed declared, before he turned to the polling.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Well, it’s official. The tale of Seamus the dog is now fair game on the campaign trail. President Obama was in the works today on the road in Iowa and he was talking about an imaginary energy policy, and really hitting Mitt Romney on that.
But during the speech, he managed to slip in the wisecrack everyone has been waiting for.
OBAMA (videotape): He said that new sources of energy like wind are imaginary. Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way. I’m quoting here, "You can’t drive a car with a wind mill on it."
That’s what he said about wind power. "You can’t drive a car with a wind mill on it."
Now, I don’t know if he's actually tried that. I know he’s had other things on his car.
SCHULTZ: The president was referring to the story of Seamus Romney back in 1983. Mitt kenneled his Irish setter and strapped it to the roof of his car during a road trip. The story has caused outrage among dog lovers. It’s just another example of Romney being out of touch. And it really hits home with voters.
A recent poll shows that 68 percent of voters think it’s inhumane to kennel a dog on the roof of your car. And only 20 percent have a favorable opinion of Romney’s treatment of dogs.
Meanwhile, 44 percent have a favorable view of the president’s treatment of dogs.
This morning, at the bagel joint, our one-person unaligned sounding-board mentioned the wonderful wisecrack, asked us if Obama knows how “unpresidential” such stupid shit makes him seem.
We had already wondered.
Last night, the stupidification was general. Watching Gupta’s pathetic attempt to explain those Medicare proposals, you have to wonder if we’re all better off when cable news restricts itself to discussions of horses and dogs.
An additional gaffe bgy Biden: We’ve seen two cable shows tweak Biden for talking about North Carolina in yesterday's speech, which occurred in Danville, Virginia.
Danville is located directly on Virginia’s border with North Carolina. Adding to the air of general stupidification, each program noted this fact, but ran with the “gaffe” all the same.
(The programs: Special Report on the Fox News Channel, Way Too Willie on MSNBC.)