Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Fork In The Road

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for February 19th, 2011


I haven’t really missed much of the show since I was last posting consistently, but the motivation to challenge the cast to evolve their show just seems to be falling off of the priority food chain to a spot normally reserved for chasing seagulls at the beach. All the winning stuff about the show is right there, right there, and for the most part goes underutilized or unused. In fact, the move of repeating the top of the show at the top of the 8am hour shows this production is running away from it’s competitive advantage in a counter logical way, and it hurts to view that new abbreviation each day it happens.

What do you think the threshold is for the repeat or not decision point? There has been no shortage of history these last 5 months, but apparently unless it’s an exclusive with Oprah or Bill Clinton, it’s just easier to, well, not work.

The other really disturbing trend is the guest programming. Now, I have some pretty solid personal experience with how this works, and it’s entirely possible that they aren’t keeping their lineup of guests really tight like a Phil Jackson playoff run, but likely there has been some chasm in their guest getting process where those likely to feel like they wouldn’t get a fair reflection point for their take on things looked for more civil discourse. This show didn’t start that way, it’s not overtly altruistic like Bill O’Reilly, but it’s overtly altruistic like the next best example of altruism to this rightward slant hiding behind many smokescreens of balance. Let’s use one of my very favorites on these matters Matt Taibbi, whose arguably in the top 5, like Zbigniew Brzeznski top 5, in the world in effectively communicating whats happening in said world in the most crystallizing form. Ever see him? Does he not call them, or do they not call him? Does it stem from Scarborough not being on set a couple times when his slot came up? Why the attrition? Is it money?

Does Gene Robinson just show up for the money? I really don’t think so but you have to ask the question. Robinson’s scathing ‘Reagan showed America how to forget the unfortunate in our country and let them find a new low of social support’ was arguably one of the finest takes in a tough situation that we will hear all year. But was this solid, winning debate on a decidedly pro Reagan everything television show a paid commentary accident?

Joe Scarborough seems like Colonel Kurtz at this point. There is a slouch, there is a bubble, there is an almost Beck-like ‘is there anyone else in the room or is it just me?’ absolution as the guy banters on circularly in a sphere normally reserved for a discussion over an 8 ball of cocaine between two self medicating experts. It’s been going that way from the outset, but really slowly, so you could watch even a year ago and still expect the show would take an evolutionary turn that would make the average politically interested subscriber say ‘I can count on them’ about their coverage. But the host of the show basically had a look on his face this past Friday that said he was ready to gas those who didn’t agree with his take on Wisconsin. It appears to the viewer that there was some kind of an off camera intervention and they tried later in the show to back pedal from the beach head they were pounding at 6 am.

The constant attack on entitlements and even the Pentagon attack that Morning Joe marches upon constitutes an enthusiastic proof of what I’ve been saying all along: we are being sold algebra when a more complex polynomial exists. The ‘math is simple’ and ‘we can’t afford it’ are two phrases on obscene overdrive on the show. But what most people really find offensive is whats left out of that simple equation that makes it so unrealistic.

Sorry about Social Security, we simply can’t afford it (should be part of a polynomial that includes) but these people have to be taken care of so we can’t afford not to do it, lest we complete Eugene Robinson’s earlier Reagan vision by adding a significant part of our burgeoning elderly class to the forgotten part of society currently not housing our mentally ill and homeless.


Sorry about Medicaid/Medicare, the math is simple (should be compliant in a long equation that conforms with) while we really should be creating a baseline for coverage for all Americans, something to replace the rapidly diminishing group health insurance plan, instead we want to lose the best scenario for said baseline coverage without acknowledging that most people who don’t have group health coverage don’t really have any significant health insurance, are being sold nearly worthless catastrophic policies, and are in effect going right along with the elderly to Ronald Reagan avenue into a long line of destitute former working professionals and their dependents who simply got sick and lost everything for a lack of a basic medical support system.


We can’t afford to skip the Pentagon in budget cutting, the math is simple (should be subservient to the higher order economic phenomenon) that while fraught with waste Pentagon houses the largest return on investment driver known on the planet. I’m bundling NASA into this, but most of the innovations that have made our largest industries thrive were simply shoplifted from funded research and development paid for under the guise of long term weapon system creation. These industries have been soaking the defense budget for 70 years getting rich but being a form of national economic growth that will go down in history as a highest attainable level. We spend 20 times what other superpowers spend on defense. It isn’t a pariah like most people are led to believe, it really has been our backbone through the greatest economic period imaginable, and before people with two dimensional math skills are allowed to turn this into a metal scrap heap resemblant of Detroit’s auto belt, we ought to really try and organize this into a proper complex vision where the military can drive the economy in a best returns fashion but lose the pointless German tank command outposts.

It’s probably time for Morning Joe to have a hard talk about what it’s doing and where it’s going as an entity. It’s turned into a bit of a Robert Redford romantic comedy (in reverse) and needs to NPR itself on one side and Paul Wolfowitz itself on the other. Isn’t it on anybody else’s radar that Wolfowitz should be running around cable news like Donald Trump with his neo-con architecture getting some real love right about now? It’s interesting to me, but I’m afraid our friends on our show are in too much of a rut to be on top of that right now, and sameness prevails.

There’s a fork in the road ahead, and we can all tell you will be turning right, right?

That’s all for now, see you soon.