Useful Insightful Coverage Aired by Mistake

Today Tim Russert interviewed Doris Kearns Goodwin on CNBC for at least half an hour on what makes a good president. They talked about character, experience, ability to admit mistakes, how presidents relax (poker and booze for FDR, telling stories for Lincoln), how they make decisions., how they learn. It was brilliant. Ms. Kearns Goodwin told us what she knows about past presidents, and about McCain, Obama and Clinton in terms of these issues.

It was the kind of discussion sadly lacking in the breathless 24-hour “coverage” of this campaign. Television especially is just scratching the same surface over and over again — who said what about who said what. There’s no actual reporting on TV news — what the candidates have actually done with the past decades of their lives — and even in the talking/yelling heads department the panelists yap over and over about the most trivial crap (David Gergen is a wonderful exception — he actually sneaks an insight or two over the airwaves every time he talks). And the interviewers ask the candidates and their surrogates the most insipid questions.

But here was actual knowledge and insight being presented in a way that would help people have some criteria for making up their minds about the current candidates. And it wasn’t on Meet The Press. It wasn’t in prime time. It was on late on a Sunday, on a third-string cable show with maybe a few hundred thousand viewers. I can’t even find clips of the show on the web to link to. But you can find endless clips of Obama’s pastor or Geraldine Ferraro.

The coverage of this race gets more and more infantile. No wonder we elect idiots.

– Benidt small business plan kind

3 thoughts on “Useful Insightful Coverage Aired by Mistake

  1. Russert and Kearns Goodwin on CNBC – not MSNBC? What was it, like 3:30 in the morning?

    Anyway, nothing aggravates me more than when these cable news anchors ask questions as if they expect to receive a normal-human answer — but they’re asking them of people who are introduced as being there on behalf of a particular candidate. Are you f@#$%@#& kidding me?

    You mentioned enjoying David Gergen and his occasional *actual insight*. For the same reason, I enjoy watching Pat Buchanan’s crazy old ass on MSNBC. He’s insane and angry and one of the smartest sons of bitches I’ve ever seen. And at this point, he has not *one* *single* *thing* to prove to anyone. He couldn’t give a damn less, so he’ll tell you what he thinks. He’ll even tee up Mitt Romney when his beloved sister Bay is working for the campaign.

  2. jloveland says:

    I’d maintain that there are more overall “actual insights” on the air than ever before, but they are harder to find than ever before.

    24/7 news holes lead to the necessity for the kind of mindless filler Benidt and Kelliher describe. Because of all that filler, the insights become needles in a haystack.

    With the information explosion of our times, the haystack is bigger than ever. So there may actually be more overall insights in that haystack. But those insights also are harder than ever to unearth.

    TiVODVRs and news aggregators help find the needles, but it aint easy. I feel your pain.

  3. It’s Keliher with one L. No relation to neither the Speaker ( nor the city in Minnesota (

    Anyway, 24-7 news holes make cable news production tough, but I’m sure they could do better with a little less pandering to hype and sizzle. First of all, it’s not actually 24 hours a day – they run infomercials and documentaries in the wee morning hours. And when you take out commercials, you’re probably only left with about half of day of time to fill.

    And that time would be much better filled with the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin and, say, anyone Charlie Rose has ever talked to instead of these campaign-representing tools who aren’t held responsible for actually answering questions. It’s as though these anchors and producers fear a campaign spokesperson boycotting the network or something.

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