Big fun with boners and weiners: When he first entered the White House, Bill Clinton put on a pair of shorts and jogged to a local McDonald's.
The press corps mocked him for his shorts and for his embarrassing palate. That said, no one has ever been more "Clintonesque" than the mainstream press corps itself.
This extends to their taste in fast food. Every day, especially on cable, they stop whatever it was they were doing and purchase that day's nothingburger.
Yesterday's burger came from the potent but changeable Comey the God. In July, he'd been a highly voluble god as he expressed unsolicited negative views about a political target.
Yesterday, a remarkably terse Comey the God laid out cable's banquet. The burger he tossed for them to enjoy carried few adornments.
Greedily, though, they fell on the fare, treating it as the latest bombshell. As usual, one cable star who will go unnamed enjoyed a unique brand of fun.
First, though, let's consider one part of the context which may help explain cable's incessant desire for these nothingburgers.
In this morning's Washington Post, Paul Farhi describes the windfall cable news has scored from the current presidential campaign. At all three of the major "news" nets, the suits have been raking the dough:
FARHI (10/29/16): Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been very, very good for the cable news networks.They've raked in the dough "because of the presidential campaign." Also, because of the way they've pretended to cover it, including the constant, braindead horserace coverage and the constant silly pseudo-debates broadcast by CNN.
Thanks to an audience surge driven by nearly round-the-clock campaign coverage, the leading news networks will reap unprecedented profits this year.
According to people intimately familiar with CNN’s finances, the network and its related media businesses will approach $1 billion in gross profit in 2016, a milestone unseen in its 36-year history...
Fox News, the longtime ratings leader among cable-news outlets, was already in the billion-dollar profit club before 2016. Despite a tempestuous patch this summer, when its parent company ousted Fox’s chairman and co-founder, Roger Ailes, Fox News is projected to have its most financially lucrative year: Its gross profit will top $1.67 billion, according to SNL Kagan, a media research company.
Third-ranked MSNBC, which falls under the larger NBC News umbrella, will have projected earnings of $279.6 million this year, according to Kagan. MSNBC is growing faster in percentage terms than its two much-larger competitors: Its projected profits reflect a 19 percent growth rate over 2015, compared with 14 percent for CNN and 11.3 percent for Fox, according to Kagan.
The common thread for all three organizations has been improved ratings because of the presidential campaign, said Scott Robson, a research analyst at Kagan.
Also, because of the exciting way they fall on each day's nothingburger.
As the money comes rolling in, it gets dispersed to the stars. Farhi provides an example:
FARHI: The brimming profits at all three networks validate their strategy of concentrating on political coverage nearly to the exclusion of other stories, starting in 2015. Many news organizations began expanding their political-reporting staffs last year, even as they were laying off journalists who cover other subjects.Thanks to their "exclusion of other stories"—we prefer the more grown-up word "topics"—the big money flows to the stars.
The financial bonanza also puts Fox News’s current negotiations with prime-time star Megyn Kelly into some perspective. The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday that Kelly—whose profile was raised by her clash with Trump at the first Republican candidates’ debate and his subsequent criticism of her—is seeking more than $20 million a year in salary in contract-renewal talks, a raise of more than $5 million. CNN is among the networks that reportedly would like to lure Kelly, whose contract at Fox expires next summer.
Last night, we were struck by the performance of one major cable news star. She opened with several minutes of fun concerning the way John Boehner's last name looks like it ought to be "Boner."
There was C-Span tape from 1991, with Boehner's name being mispronounced in the hilarious way. This was her way of noting the fact that Anthony Weiner's last name is amazingly funny too.
Her first four minutes were burned this way. (To enjoy all the fun, click here.) When the big stars behave this way, they're letting us know how monumentally dumb they think their viewers are.
Concerning the exclusion of other topics, this particular cable star has ducked the emails all year. In fairness, the topic has been a bit scary. It's much better to reminisce about Al Capone's vault, or to feed us the porridge we love about poor abused Bridget Kelly, who was sobbing and fearful of you-know-who and who wasn't even on trial.
This cable star has failed to explain the long journalistic history behind the past twenty-four years of "Clinton scandal" nothingburgers. Dearest darlings! In the business, that's simply never done.
Back in July, Fred Kaplan explained why the original claims of Comey the God were vastly overblown. This unnamed cable star skipped that topic too.
We know it sounds like this can't be right. But according to the Nexis archives, last night was the first time since January that the cable star has so much as mentioned the name of plupotent Comey the God.
(In early July, she was taking a well-deserved vacation when the strangely voluble god went after his target in a strange and irregular way. Upon her return to her program, Comey's behavior was never mentioned! Elites give wide berth to this god.)
Other "stories" have gone unmentioned on her cable news program. In late July, six government workers were charged with crimes in connection with their conduct in the Flint, Michigan water disaster; she never mentioned that either!
One guess? The arrests tended to support the claims which had been made by Governor Snyder, and her treatment of Flint had mainly involved her desire to throw Snyder in jail.
At any rate, her web site still features a big bold link: "How to help Flint, Michigan." Cynics will say that's basic brand management. But those criminal charges in late July were never mentioned at all.
Last night, this cable star served us our boners and weiners. Every night, we get our requisites doses of entertainment, inanity, tribal true belief, fun.
Long ago, we stated a common-sense principle: you can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire "press corps." For reasons involving human nature, it simply can't be done.
Last night, we got to enjoy some peculiar fruits. Along the way, Fred Kaplan's analysis disappeared without ever being mentioned.
Al Capone's vault got roughly ten minutes. The criminal charges in Flint went down the memory hole.
Fred Kaplan's analysis never got mentioned? The cable nets have been hauling it in because they've avoided such topics. You won't learn about Obamacare there! As Cable News Barbie used to say, "Obamacare is hard."
If Kelly is being paid $15 million, how much is this unnamed star being paid to service us?
(Last published estimate, years ago: $7 million per year)