Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lucidity Takes A Holiday, Part Seven

The Opposition Rebuttal to Morning Joe for September 7th, 2010


1) Boy, this show is all about piling on. Don’t let it deter you that the Morning Joe cast sat around the campfire for the same 14 months they now complain about and predicted the end of health care and provided exactly zero jobs solutions while cynically complaining about that thing they couldn’t refine themselves.

So when Erin Burnett says that you need $2 trillion in infrastructure investment to simply find competitiveness with the Chinese, and you trot out the Zbigniew Brzezinski line about getting off of the plane from China and feeling DC to be comparatively in 1975, do you think that’s where you put the period?

See, that’s where your take is supposed to go. Yea, the whole cast was on vacation last week, and when you get to the non multiple choice part of your show it gets cumbersome, but that’s why you had to say the word ‘cynical’ about yourself all day today: it’s so easy to bash your opponents that when you have to set the bar for yourselves low, red herring baiting without detail provides the best return on investment.

Let’s not forget that you killed the stimulus from day one, but never said where you would have stood if it had been effective stimulus instead of the Pelosi handout. That is a defacto obstruction on par with what the Republicans have done this entire congressional term. I’m sad about the $787 billion too, but you’re Google away from being able to see an MJR blueprint in detail for the $2 trillion Erin mentions above. You? Tax cuts? Or just spurious kill the bill sound bites?

2) So, did Morning Joe think they were just gonna slink their new ad planner through and no one would notice? Are you kidding me? Remember when Joe Scarborough said as loud as he could that repealing anti-trust for health care insurers was key to a free enterprise solution? Let’s count the number of times that he brings that subject out of it’s box now that United Health is running lobby level endorsements of the Morning Joe show.

I was pretty depressed when Tom Daschle and Howard Dean took the money. I am a lot less depressed about Morning Joe taking the money. But just don’t go around pretending that you are no longer free of compromise on an issue that will continue to kill more people than smoking in the United States until change manifests. That’s right United Health owns monopoly health care operations in states like California, where individual plans go up 30% October 1st without debate. They are the operational equation behind where does that 32 cents of your health care dollar go that doesn’t go to health care? Switzerland and the Netherlands mandate that private industry health insurance revenues flow through at 90%. But your new sponsor will masquerade as the benign endorsement of Mika’s health walk in a BP-esque attempt to have a neutral credibility derived from that endorsement.

And oh yea, Ethanol? I was going to predict that you were re-upping with Extenze on the west coast, then the ethanol lobby beat me to it. Maybe Morning Joe has stumbled on a new business venture. Howitzer some part of the political spectrum, the least nationally useful the better, and see if they turn around and counter your message with those Archer Daniels Midland style branding ads to keep their momentum.

What I think Chris Licht should consider, is during the next round of mass vacations Morning Joe pre tape a segment with people who look like newscasters but actually work for either the Ethanol lobby or United Health. Then read editorials about the validity of these entities as if they were news. Maybe 10 minutes each? Possibly add a witty title like ‘Shine A Golden Light On Ethanol’ or 'Health Care Is A Privilege And Not A Right’.

That’s called double dipping my friend, a paid segment that looks like programming that you can repeat, thus lowering programming cost at the same time. Credibility? That sand castle found high tide a while ago.

3) I’m not as horrified by the sameness as I might sound. This is really just where Morning Joe and the country are going at nearly similar trajectories. But, alas, I do need to write everyday and the show doesn’t seem like it can provide content at that frequency in it’s current form. Sort’ve like that playground that seems smaller and smaller upon each return.

I’m happy to check in when the urge to throw the remote at the TV strikes, but the show seems incapable of surprise or traction at this point. Joe Scarborough is going to pontificate on approximately 15% of an issue as if it was the whole range of description or analysis available, Mika Brzezinski is going to be unconvincing in an Alan Colmes sort of way as the lefty foil, Mike Barnicle is going to take the days events and boil them into 60 seconds of Will Rogers without a call to action, and friends of the show will join them not in bringing about a new dynamic understanding of the world, but a hallow hip shot of the sort that gets us the election results of 2004 delivered in a nice mid term version this November.

It’s not like there are a million options out there. I haven’t watched Chris Matthews in a very long time, Dylan needs a spokesman, Keith is funny, but not helpful, Rachel is funny, but just funny, Ed is radio with a camera, and Lawrence’s new promo clip for his show shouts needs work at the top of its lungs. CNN is really out in the wilderness, save Fareed, Fox requires decompression, and Jon Stewart works a 4 day work week when he works, with a 39 hour delay. And Stewart, as funny and on point as he is, is really committed to less is more with 100 or so writers doing 2 segments and an interview as their semi daily yield.

As a collective cable news returns far less social good for money invested than our government run health care or educational systems. Television in general is a chief enabler of the breakdown in our political system. The news part is wholly owned by status quo industry barons, and the commercials that run the lions share of campaigns cost so much money, they are the real reason lobbyists have so much power. If you are GE, NBC, MSNBC or channel 39 in San Diego, you have a vested interest in keeping politics viewable best via your prism. Every single service to that interest is slightly defeated by solution, slightly leveraged by status quo or stalemate conflict.

We talked about the perverse dollar motivations in our health care system where cost control has zero incentive at any part of the health care process, doctors and patients feel best when they spend far beyond rationality. Television’s command of politics is that same reverse logic. In England when another not paid for advertisement runs, an executive at Sky News cries a silent tear for the what could have been as it exists in the US. Marketers are having a field day and myopic optics like the 'Young Guns' prove the point at each turn.

It’s an important addendum that political advertisement is sky rocketing at 312 times the rate of job growth. The only other multiplier out there that is similar is the current CEO to average employee pay in the United States. It’s a growth industry, a gravy train because it’s a war between the nations corporations and the nation’s people. Guess where the money is?

I still think that Joe Scarborough is a populist at heart. But remembering his core reasons for that populism isn’t getting any easier every day results like this are on his timecard.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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