I’ve made it a habit to listen to some right-wing talk radio everyday so that I can understand how Real Americans think and feel. A few weeks ago I heard Jake Tapper on Laura Ingraham and wrote a series of vituperative, foul-mouthed posts about it. Last week, I heard Howard Fineman on the same show, and I have to say he was much worse. Granted, the topic was less inflammatory (they were talking about Obama’s low, Carterlike approval rating and how it spells doom for Democrats and liberalism more generally) and Fineman is not a straight reporter, so the situation was in some ways less troubling from a journalistic perspective. But Fineman was really kissing her ass, not quite as badly as Joe Klein and Mark Halperin have kissed Hugh Hewitt’s, but pretty badly. Tapper didn’t do that at all.
I suspect that all these guys have to do these shows in order to promote Newsweek, Time, ABC etc. It must feel awfully humiliating to have to do this, if one has even a smidgeon of a soul (which I think Tapper and Klein do — I’m not so sure about Fineman).
But it’s probably not as humiliating as taking programming advice from Ross Douthat.
I’m starting to wonder if we should all feel guilty about kicking these guys as their organizations slide into bankruptcy and they’re forced to do increasingly degrading things to drum up business.