Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talking Heads Are a Scourge to the Democratic Process

I did a really stupid thing last night.

Out of a sense of fairness to the "loyal opposition" (GOP talking heads), I started listening to Larry King Live -- after a wonderful virtual evening at the Democratic National Convention -- to hear what they had to say about what went on. The immediate verbal battering made me sick to my stomach.

Ben Stein was an absolute ass all by himself. What he said even took Larry King aback.

I couldn't even watch the hour all the way through. Here were a bunch of Grumpy Old Men, all rich, saying that Michelle Obama's speech was "predictable, vapid..." They wanted to know what she was trying to prove by showing that she loved her husband and had two adorable kids. Haven't they been hearing all the false, negative propaganda that others in their line of work (bad-mouthing the opposition) have been spouting about the "angry" Michelle Obama? I certainly have. Where have they been?

They didn't offer a single "talking point" that matters to the American electorate. Michael Reagan was an inarticulate airhead. (I like his brother Ron even when I disagree with him, and I liked their dad well enough, except for his policies. I even have a couple of letters I exchanged with President Reagan after he was shot. Yes, he wrote back, a four paragraph letter that, point-for-point, was in response to what I had written to him. Not a cookie-cutter response in any way. I cherish it.)

They also said the Democratic speakers weren't tough enough on Bush or McCain. Do we have to be constantly battering the other party to have a gathering? Apparently so -- or they think the evening has been "a lost opportunity." (Their term, not mine!) Just because they relish bitching and griping about a difference of political opinion doesn't mean that everyone is a mean-spirited jackass. (Sorry, now I'm doing it... but I'm really mad at wasting fifteen minutes of MY time trying to find someone expressing a logical rationale behind fearing, or disregarding, Obama's candidacy in favor of McCain's.)

They didn't have a single decent thing to say about the evening, not one. Even Ted Kennedy's valiant attendance, at great risk to himself following chemotherapy (his resistance to infection and germs is way down), was panned.

And they said, more than once in the fifteen minutes I watched, that they wanted to hear about Obama's stand on the issues! Lord God Almighty! I thought, "Haven't you 'experts' even been to the candidate's website to find out Obama's stand on the issues?!" No wonder they didn't have any substantial talking points: they obviously haven't even been to his website to see where he stands on the issues!

Really, the last thing I wanted to hear last night was Obama's stand on the issues; I already know his stand on the issues -- that's why I'm supporting him! I wanted to be energized, motivated, and inspired! If these people (political talking heads, of all people!) are still waiting to hear his stand on the issues, we have a problem, Houston!

It's small wonder the race is so close. People are so freakin' assured of their position as a DEM or a REP, that they don't need to do any research -- they just take what's fed to them on cable television in whatever flavor they prefer -- MSNBC or FOX, CNN or ABC! I'm going back to PBS, where the convention is actually COVERED; where it's seen as the "point" of the broadcast, not as an interruption of their own voices and brilliant commentary!

The people on LARRY KING LIVE depressed and angered me.. something that's very hard to do! I'm now voting for Obama for yet another reason: The opposition talking heads are appalling, redundant, arrogant individuals with hearts of stone and heads full of (to use Ben Stein's own words against Michelle Obama) "predictable, vapid" propaganda unworthy of a nation that brought hope to the world -- and can do it again if we fire talking heads who are dedicated to sustaining the wedge that exists between parties and people.

These folks want to squash hope like a bug. They want the status quo. They don't want Michelle and Barack and their kids to have the same chance they did to become President, because they just made it far enough to be talking heads, even with all their advantages, and Obama is showing them up!

God, I sound like Joe Biden on one of his tears. But dagnab it, I was just disgusted by what I heard on Larry King Live last night.

If America continues to be run by the party these folks represent, we're all doomed. They can't see the forest for the trees. They don't believe in the America I believe in -- where it's okay to disagree without being disagreeable.

Loyal OppositionTalking Heads, your stone-cold hearts are dead and your "opinions" are just that: calcified, fear-based ideas that America does well to walk away from, so that every voice can be heard and every person can be free to dream, and to do, according to his or her giftings, talents and persistence!

Shame on you for being unkind, churlish, and utterly, utterly infantile. (Sorry for the "slam" against infants. Infants can't help it. Grown-ups can...)

America is an idea whose time has come. Obama and Biden will help us get there. I'm asking you to believe again in your own potential for greatness. Working together, we can make all the blood, sweat and tears offered up for this country worth the price that has been paid...


Carl Rylander said...


We get 'The Daily Show' with John Stewart on Freeview in the UK.

He rips the republicans to pieces!

He's really funny.

Kristine M Smith said...


Jon Stewart isn't the kind of "talking head" I'm referring to here. He's an entertainer, and entertainers entertain and are not meant to be educators (although sometimes, as with Stewart and Mark Twain, they are). I'm talking about the folks who go on TV to "analyze," "comment on," or "oppose" whatever has just been stated or witnessed on T: The Ben Steins, Michael Reagans, Jim Carvilles...

I'm so tired of being told what I SHOULD think instead of what I DO think after I've seen or heard something. My point is, we need to start thinking for ourselves and not let someone else's special interest view take the wind out of our sails. Talking heads are what's WRONG with America and what's keeping us divided between red and blue states. All of us have far more in common than we have which divides us.

I've been watching C-SPAN for gavel-to-gavel coverage free of talking heads and the experience has been much richer, more detailed, and far more impactful that way. Some of the speakers they DON'T show on cable news are among the most compelling... little-known or unknown folks (GI amputees, several Republicans who are voting for -- even nominating -- Obama; Native Americans in full regalia singing the National Anthem, and others) who have been struggling because of GOP policies, not because of their wounds and physical challenges...)

The DEMS have made a powerful case against four more years of the same failed policies and for the Presidency of Barack Obama, but the talking heads are stuck on "how are Hillary and Bill going to come across: will they heal the rift?" and much-ballyhooed gossip and innuendo like that. It was all much ado about nothing, as it turned out.

Cable TV may be the worst thing that has happened to America, I'm beginning to think. We're allowing ourselves to be "educated" by ego-driven and ratings-driven folks who have a horse in the race and are bound and determined to smash the opposition's messages and opportunities at any cost...

If Barack tries to stay positive, they call him a wimp and unready to play hard ball in the White House. When he gets tough and does fight back, they call him a hypocrite for playing the game the way it's always been played. So now both parties have ads that slander the other. Obama stays pretty true to message, but McCain has an ad out now in some states that questions Obama's loyalty to the country! It's ludicrous.

Carl Rylander said...

Sorry I got the wrong end of the stick, Kristine.