Wishing Lord that I was stoned

I find all the Sunday shows impossible to watch, though I try sometimes. That said, Grandpa Schieffer’s show is marginally better than the other two, and Dancin’ Dave is the absolute worst. So this doesn’t surprise me (via):

The main problem: The great-granddaddy of Sunday-morning Beltway blabfests (“Meet the Press”) isn’t just not No. 1. It’s No. 3 and in the midst of a three-year slide. During the first three months of this year, the NBC program finished behind perennial rivals “Face the Nation” on CBS and “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on ABC, despite being helped by two weeks of Winter Olympics hoopla. In the final quarter of last year, viewing among people ages 25 to 54, the preferred group for TV news advertisers, fell to its lowest level ever.

[…..]

Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.

I’ll give them an assessment: Gregory is not only a pro-establishment toadie, he’s also a shitty interviewer — he just doesn’t the chops for it. Say what you will about the tenets of Tim Russert, he was quick on his feet and he knew how to press people.

I like that the article ends with praise from one of Gregory’s study buddies, apparently the only person they could find who would say something positive about the MTP train wreck:

“Time is on David’s side,” says Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, a semi-regular “MTP” panelist. “It’s semi-inevitable. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing, and continue to break new ground on the big stories of the week. In five to 10 years, we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning.”

127 replies
  1. 1
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Say what you will about the tenets of Tim Russert, he [] was quick on his feet and he knew how to press people

    .

    The hell you say. Russert’s idea of pressing people was challenging them on inconsistencies with statements they had made years before – as though people never change their minds, or that their opinion was invalid if it was one they came to gradually. And he was every bit as much a pro-establishment toady as Gregory – probably even more so.

  2. 2

    What is the average age of the Sunday show viewers? 65?

  3. 3
    DougJ says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    He was a complete toadie, but he could interview well when he wanted to.

  4. 4
    DougJ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It’s got to be older than that.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I haven’t watched any of the three shows since the Cinton administration. IMO they no longer serve any beneficial purpose.

    OTOH, props for the Kristofferson lyric.

  6. 6
    Jeffro says:

    “In five to 10 years we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning”

    lolwhut?!?

    He’s a complete d***** – how is that supposed to be MORE appealing over time?

  7. 7
    🌷 Martin says:

    Here’s a tip. In 2008, the entire fucking country voted to see less of John McCain. Maybe Press the Meat should invite on some guests 25-54 year-olds wants to see discuss things that 25-54 year olds care about.

  8. 8
    Ruckus says:

    No, in 5 to 10 years we will still be talking about him being the worst. But it won’t matter because his ratings will be not just the lowest but totally non existent. And the smartest person at NBC will be wondering what were the executives thinking. That smartest person will be the janitor.

  9. 9
    Eric U. says:

    the only good thing I can say about Russert is that Gregory is worse. Russert would play gotcha with Democratic pols and suck up to Republicans. It was fairly transparent

  10. 10
    c u n d gulag says:

    Gregory was at least semi-competent when he was the White House correspondent – because all he needed to do was write down what was said, and then regurgitate it.

    The boy ain’t too bright, he’s got no critical thinking skills, and just wants to kiss the asses, powder the balls, and polish the knobs of the rich and powerful.

    Give Rachel a shot!
    Yeah – THAT’LL happen!!!

  11. 11

    Beltway media’s coverage of politics is dismal. Its all about the personalities and the horse race with little policy discussion or actual coverage of news. They serve no useful purpose.

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    That it trails This Week is really saying something about its quality.

    For Easter Sunday, This Week hosted a panel discussion of Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed, and some flack from the Southern Baptist Convention to discuss why homos are evil.

  13. 13

    @DougJ: Which was when? The last, and only time I ever watched MTP was when Fluffyhead subbed for Big Potatohead. Guess who the guests were? Markos and Harold Ford Jr. Funny, I know.

  14. 14

    Say what you will about the tenets of Tim Russert, he was quick on his feet and he knew how to press people.

    Really Doug? The same show, even more than Faux Noise, that Darth Cheney went on because, as they bragged in emails, he was such a tool. You remember how that came to light during the Scooter Libby trial, right?

  15. 15
    LanceThruster says:

    Who would have guessed that the market for spoon fed tripe was not as strong as they imagined?

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    You mean.. there are people who don’t feel empowered by listening to David Brooks? Immmpossible!

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Russert’s idea of pressing people was challenging them on inconsistencies with statements they had made years before – as though people never change their minds, or that their opinion was invalid if it was one they came to gradually. And he was every bit as much a pro-establishment toady as Gregory – probably even more so.

    He also inflicted Luke Russert on the viewing public. Even after death, Tim Russert continues to suck.

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    @Jeffro: Well, say what you will, its absolutely true that in 5 to ten years he will be 5 to 10 years older. There’s no denying that!

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    They should go back to a panel interviewing style. Change out the panel hosts every month or so and include some local reporters. There’s no need for a single host show. It’s not working for them. Mix it up.

    Dancin’ Dave is awful. His “I think we did a pretty good job” comment when the media was criticized for their lack of investigative journalism on the run up to the Iraq war says it all for me. He’s a toady to power and can’t take any criticism of his performance. He’ll never get better.

  20. 20
    BGinCHI says:

    This whole thing is the definition of how the status quo keeps going.

    Dear future historians: here is how the Decline of America looks in 2014.

  21. 21
    MattF says:

    @aimai: It’s one year per year, as we say in the Old Physicist’s Home.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @aimai: “its absolutely true that in 5 to ten years he will be 5 to 10 years older. ”

    Not if he’s died in the meantime.

  23. 23
    catclub says:

    @MattF: The cost of living may be high, but it includes a trip around the sun every year.

  24. 24
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    Like I wrote on John’s earlier post about Stoopid David Brooks, about 670, 000 people in the 25-54 year-old demographic watched Meet the Press, 894,000 tuning in to Face the Nation last week. And the much dreaded and feared Fox got all of 430, 000. NO ONE CARES ANYMORE.

    American Sunday talk shows have so destroyed their former reputations for giving us any semblance of fresh, informed and diverse debate that they’re pretty much breathing agonally right now. David Gregory is boring, and smug, and asks stupid, meaningless questions. Stephanopoulos is no better, and dear old Bob Schieffer is only marginally more a journalist than all the rest. Most of the guests on his and the rest of these shows have zero relevance in the world, period, and don’t deserve the retainers they receive to sit on their asses for those 1-2 hours they do. Except for the occasional “crisis” we all go elsewhere for our news and analysis. Pretty much everyone except the interwebs ignores them.

    So really, without the post-broadcast geysers of insider blog posts telling everyone what he said, Brooks and McCain and fucking Peggy Noonan could simply fade into the oblivion of insignificance if we all just stopped repeating their stoopidities.

    My God, what a wonderful world that would be.

  25. 25
    Punchy says:

    The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.”

    Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years

    These 2 statement fail to compute. In order to understand a man you’ve employed for 20 years, you seek perspective and insight from his wife and friends? What next…are they going to interrogate Brokaw’s high school geometry teacher to get a better feel for how Tom operates?

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The utter scum that was Russert was beloved by the Dark Lord.

    All you need to know about the maggot.

  27. 27
    amk says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    So really, without the post-broadcast geysers of insider blog posts telling everyone what he said, Brooks and McCain and fucking Peggy Noonan could simply fade into the oblivion of insignificance if we all just stopped repeating their stoopidities.

    This.

  28. 28
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @🌷 Martin: rofl, you win

  29. 29
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Punchy: Re Brokaw: For god’s sake, don’t give them any ideas.

  30. 30
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cacti:

    For Easter Sunday, This Week hosted a panel discussion of Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed, and some flack from the Southern Baptist Convention to discuss why homos are evil.

    The holiday spirit–showered in the blessings of the risen Christ! Hail Mithras! Or Ishtar! Pretty sure she had a ‘no homos’ rule for her perfect sacrifices to fertilize her fields with her blood. Or maybe they were all homos. I forget!

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The other thing that’s a crying shame about Tim Russert is he didn’t keel over before Luke was conceived.

    Which can also be said of George H.W. Bush, but in his case, it’s five kids, not one.

  32. 32
    catclub says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: “Except for the occasional “crisis” we all go elsewhere for our news and analysis. ”

    Today Show news this morning was: Korean Ferry Sinking, MH370 search, Boston Marathon 1 Year Later.

    So much for Syria, Ukraine and the rest of the interesting world.

  33. 33
    Origuy says:

    I don’t watch these shows, but I listen to the news on the radio driving in on Monday morning. They serve as a feeder for soundbites; almost always the top story on the national news is what someone said on Press the Meat. That reaches a larger audience than Sunday morning itself, I think.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Time is on David’s side,” says Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg,

    This is the same Jeffrey Goldberg who is often seen at Atrios’ place eating paste, right?

  35. 35
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: In a just world, MHP would be the only weekend host we talk about.

    In a fair world, it would be MHP and Chris Hayes because Hayes would be back on the weekend where he shines and not filling airtime doing a Rachel Jr show that nobody gives a shit about.

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if MTP has gotten more GOP-friendly since Russert died.

    Meanwhile over on ABC, Pierce tells me that since Laura Ingram was apparently not ready to make her debut as a regular panelist, they had a discussion of the meaning of Easter with racist legacy buffoon Franklin Graham, money-laundering gamboling lobbyist and one-time right-hand of Pat Robertson Ralph “Never Indicted” Reed and representing Catholics, women and “liberals”, Sister Mary Cokie. I guess if I can say one thing about Reed, I have no idea who his parents were/are.

  37. 37
    shortstop says:

    “In five to 10 years, we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning.”

    And to them, this is a lofty goal worth striving for, not a faint damnation of a banal life.

  38. 38
    jayjaybear says:

    “Semi-inevitable”? Really?

    That’s like “very unique”. Or “almost infinite”. Or “only mostly dead”.

  39. 39

    The network Sunday bobblehead shows are simply endlessly repeating talking points, the same shit we hear on the network news with just more John McCain. Honestly, can’t stand any of them. We watch the stuff on MSNBC like Up With Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris Perry. It’s not because we’re liberals but because these shows are formatted differently: they actually talk about an issue in-depth! Amazing, I know. It’s not just politics, it’s not just “what impact will his have on the next election,” which is all anyone on the networks seem to care about any more.

    And speaking of news shows, what the fuck is wrong with CNN?

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub: What? Nothing on 16 dead Sherpas on the slopes of Everest?

  41. 41
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Hungry Joe: Fuck Brokaw. Wish I could see the day when he really steps in it and makes a “lateral career move” to Fox where he belongs, with Greta von Susternenenen, clinging to the scraps of their former credibility.

    But the 7pm news has become news for old wingnuts anyway. Who but the lucky duckies who retired with pensions from the Great Middle Class Expansion can sit down and watch news after an early dinner? Not 25-54 yo’s with jobs, often two jobs, or jobs with weird hours, unpaid overtime, horrid commutes, etcet. News at 11 or not at all… probably not at all, you get news on the internet.

  42. 42
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Sherpas are brown. They are but flakes of skin shed from the invisible hand.

  43. 43
    Poopyman says:

    Yeah, the assessment with the psychological consultant is really strange … until you think that it might be handy to have in your pocket when you shitcan his ass. We shall see.

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    the grand old man of Sunday morning

    Who wants this? I sure as hell don’t

  45. 45
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Southern Beale: I followed your link. OMGWTF.

    ETA: Who needs Stormfront when there’s Yahoo! News and cnn.com. Excuse me while I go poke my eyeballs out. O tempora–o mores!

  46. 46
    scav says:

    But what will “grand old man of Sunday Morning” mean in five to ten years? Disheveled old guys on park benches competitively inviting John McCain to sit next to them while they scream at pigeons?

  47. 47
    Waspuppet says:

    “It’s semi-inevitable. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing, and continue to break new ground on the big stories of the week. In five to 10 years, we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning.”

    There is SO much suck packed into this paragraph I don’t even know where to begin.

    “As long as he’s insulated from how terrible he is at his job, he’ll be at his job for along time. And if that happens, we Beltway friends of his will refer to him as having been at his job for a long time. And we will never refer to how terrible he is at his job.”

    His “interview” with DWS was an all-time low his agenda had one item on it: Get DWS to say, on camera, that the Dems are in trouble in November. That was all he was interested in; that was the only reason DWS was invited. Every time she tried to talk about, you know, policy and helping people who don’t have houses on Martha’s Vineyard, Gregory cracked the whip. Unbelievable.

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @Southern Beale: Haven’t CNN’s ratings gone up since they’ve trended Fox Jr.? No incentive for them to change, if so.

  49. 49
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Maybe I was brushing my teeth during that coverage.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🌷 Martin: This is why I’m shocked that they give a rat’s ass about all those dead Koreans.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Phil Perspective: Pneumonia is better than ebola, but I am not recommending either.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Southern Beale: You know, they missed a very good point in time for rebranding National Socialism. Yesterday was the 125th birthday of you-know-who, the center of the cult of personality for that ethos (of course saying what you will about the tenets of it).

  53. 53
    Roxy says:

    @Ruckus: That smartest person will be the janitor.

    I was laughing out loud from your comment. Best line of the day so far.

  54. 54
    danielx says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:
    @Southern Beale:

    My God, could it be that people are finally noticing that the Sunday am talk shows have boring formats, boring (and repetitive!) guests – let’s have a shout out for John McCain and Karl Rove! – and just generally suck in all ways?

    Nah…..

  55. 55
    Violet says:

    DougJ, you missed the best part of the article:

    If “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory were a guest on his own show, he knows the kinds of questions he’d be asked.

    Why have your ratings been falling? Is the show in trouble? Is your job in trouble?

    Uh…no. He wouldn’t be asked those kinds of questions because David Gregory doesn’t ask those kinds of questions. David Gregory lobs softballs, waits for the canned answer, and never follows up. That’s how David Gregory’s show works. What show is he talking about that would ask those questions/

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Hmm, Doug, you should have been in Denver yesterday, then your wish might well have come true, assuming that you’d avoid the Denver PD being fascist assholes.

  57. 57

    Not particularly a fan of Charlie Rose either. He’s the best of a deplorable bunch.

  58. 58
    negative 1 says:

    @Waspuppet: Which points out their market problem. MTP especially is a right-wing show. There was a recent study (won’t site, I’m busy at work but you can google it if you choose) that showed that R guests outnumbered D guests 2 to 1. Their democratic guests get DWS’s treatment. But anyone who wants to see ‘mainstream republican’ views already watches Faux, and liberals like myself don’t tune in to watch Gregory allow his rotating cast of lying Republican legislators ignore actual policy in order to call everything ‘bad news for Democrats’ in the name of horse race politics.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ruckus:

    And the smartest person at NBC will be wondering what were the executives thinking.

    How many times can this line be used? The cancellation of Star Trek, the approval for a series run of Supertrain, going with Leno over Letterman, the entire Conan O’Brian situation….

  60. 60
    Roxy says:

    Maybe the ratings would go up if we see a different color or sex instead of the white male.

  61. 61
    AxelFoley says:

    @Eric U.:

    Russert would play gotcha with Democratic pols and suck up to Republicans.

    Sounds like John Stewart.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roxy: They’d have to change the suck GOP wang all the time format, I fear.

  63. 63

    @Violet:

    As far as I know CNN’s ratings remain the same. They’ve been solidly #2 but the thing no one talks about is that the cable news ratings aren’t the same as with network news. FOX and CNN are part of the basic package with Dish and DirectTV, for example. Don’t know about cable providers but it’s probably the same. You have to pay extra for MSNBC, it’s part of the next step up in programming.

    Really comparing apples and oranges when you get into the cable world.

  64. 64
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @scav: John McCain may be dead by then. Which will be good news for him, of course.

  65. 65
    Waynski says:

    @Roxy: Maybe Flavah Flav can host the show. He’d probably do a better job.

  66. 66
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    NO ONE CARES ANYMORE.

    Apart from the “serious” press. And that’s the problem. See also: cable news. More people watch KWTF Eyewitness Live Local News at 6 than national political shows, but the amplification effect means that the political debate is too often framed by having the same few thousand people watch and read everything else that they produce to the exclusion of everything else.

  67. 67
    Ron Thompson says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Hear, hear!

  68. 68
    piratedan says:

    its a sad state of affairs where the majority of the news media continue to play Tiger Beat on the Potomac while doing damn all to educate, illuminate and inform the public about real issues, real legislation and real conflicts. At least there are interwebs and a few informed blog sites to help pick up the slack or else collectively we would continue to be in perpetual mushroom mode.

  69. 69
    jl says:

    @scav:

    ” Disheveled old guys on park benches competitively inviting John McCain to sit next to them while they scream at pigeons? ”

    I think Mamet did that already.

    Edit: Never mind. That was ducks. Maybe close enough, and more thoughtful and entertaining than letting PR hacks lobbyists and cynical politicians blab for ten minutes.

  70. 70
    Ron Thompson says:

    The problem NBC has is that Gregory sucks in the same way all of their other “news” personalities do, from Chuck Todd to Andrea Mitchell to Chris Mathews and Kelly O’Donnell. They’re all Beltway insiders who care only about catering to the Very Serious People. If NBC fired Gregory, where would they stop?

  71. 71
    geg6 says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Exactly. He has become everything he mocked.

  72. 72
    scav says:

    @Bobby Thomson: But they have an established schtick of talking to empty chairs, why not yell with empty park-benches? Actually, resolves a lot of the booking issues . . .

  73. 73
    Violet says:

    @Southern Beale: As far as I can tell, MSNBC is part of the basic package on DirecTV.

  74. 74
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Apparently quite a while, years in fact.
    Maybe, just maybe the powers that be at the Numbnuts Broadcasting Corp, are complete fucking idiots. They get lucky once in a while, but if they put their minds to it, they can fuck up a wet dream. Every time.

  75. 75
    Mike in NC says:

    Does David Gregory have a young untalented son who can someday aspire to take over the show? Being a hack and toadie seems to be the only qualification.

  76. 76
    balconesfault says:

    It seems as if the only point to Sunday morning talking head shows is to sell advertisement time to oil companies and DOD contractors.

    Given that, why would I expect anything but talking heads whose life mission is to not upset the oil companies and to promote military spending?

  77. 77
    jl says:

    Going by my parents and their friends, the die hard audience is well into their seventies.
    I stay away from the TV room when I am visiting and the Sunday talkies are on.
    When asked to come over to watch the usual outrages, I, as a loving son, give them kind advice to turn the damn thing off, at least for awhile.

    It is sad to think that gracious courtly veteran journalist, beltway insider and crazed hick ol’ Schieff may be better than the others. That is a very low bar. Maybe because he is maybe sorta a little better, by i percent or something like that, he seems to be the on B list for booking rancid political cronies and ideological vaudeville acts and freak shows. But the old fool loves to tick off how many hundred times he has had one of his boy’s club buddies like McCain on. And once I heard him chortling with pride that he had a panel of actual wimmin folk on his show to talk little wimmin issues. Wow!

    I hear ol’ Schieff on the radio news, and usually turn the thing off after I hear the guest list. Once in a while when he has a GOPer and Dem on, I’ll listen for a compare and contrast to see whether he is loading the dice on the interview. Nothing to take seriously, though.

    I love o’ Schieff for his priceless and endless repeated reaction to the Clinton-Lewinnsky scandal: “That’s BAIYD! That’s really BAIYD! Oh maaayyy, isn’t that BAIYD!!!” Never heard the old duffer exclaim anything like that about any of the outrageous mayhem that has happened since. And THAT is better than the rest? Sadly, maybe so.

  78. 78
    Violet says:

    Our national press organizations are For Profit businesses. Their goal is to make money. Hence we get endless coverage of the Malaysian flight and a few seconds of Ukraine. We get people yelling at each other because that’s entertaining and brings in eyeballs and we don’t get serious news coverage because people won’t watch.

    The Romans had it right with ‘bread and circuses’. Our news organizations are in the ‘circuses’ column and they’re all competing for eyeballs, which in turn brings in money.

    If the American people rewarded solid news coverage instead of entertainment then that’s what we’d get. We don’t, so we don’t. For a more accurate assessment, we should compare ratings of Entertainment Tonight and those kinds of shows with the Sunday Shows. I’d bet that ET wins every time.

  79. 79
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Meet The Grandparents is losing its viewers to Quincy, M.E.

  80. 80
    Belafon says:

    @Violet: That wouldn’t really be an accurate assessment. All you’d really find out is that Americans want to be entertained. Which is why CNN is the “all missing airplane all the time” network.

  81. 81
    Ruckus says:

    @balconesfault:
    Bingo!!!

    Why do people wonder why network TV is so bad? We pay them to be that way. We pay when we purchase products that are advertised. Now we may not directly purchase military hardware, but oil? Yes we do! Lots of it. I believe more per capita than anywhere else in the world.
    Those network executives are not just giving us what they think we want but what they know their advertisers want.

  82. 82
    cmorenc says:

    In five to 10 years, we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning.”

    Well, we’re already talking about Gregory as being a grating old fart of Sunday morning, and he’s only 43. In five to 10 years, we’re hoping we’ll be talking about “whatever happened to that big old fart David Gregory? Isn’t he teaching a few communications classes at a community college somewhere in Virginia?”

  83. 83
    Samuel Knight says:

    Violet,

    Our National Press Organizations are not entirely For Profit businesses – they are supposed to protect the establishment and make money if possible. But since news is always a small portion of their enterprise their quite rationale calculation is to defend at all costs the establishment that lets them make oodles for money using (mostly) public airways.

    Thus, the Sunday morning shows are first and foremost designed to come up with lots of seemingly rational reasons why the establishment is correct and the system should be left as is. Actually explaining things actually doesn’t help that – so they get establishment toadies to come up with lots of seemingly intelligent things. But they do NOT make any effort to understand or explain anything. Which is more or less why the shows are so boring to anyone who cares about thinking.

    And yes, the best example of the defend the establishment choice was when MSNBC fired Phil Donahue when he was their highest rated host.

  84. 84
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Violet: The Roman Circus was more like the gridiron or the court; our media circus is more the great American sideshow act.

    ETA: at its most basic, and not getting into gladiator acts, the Roman circus was just Roman NASCAR. Also, it was more of an oval.

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ruckus:

    Those network executives are not just giving us what they think we want but what they know their advertisers want.

    The audience is the product the networks deliver to their actual paying customers: the advertisers.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Holocene Human: The circus was where the chariots raced.

    So right on!

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Holocene Human:
    I’ll give you American sideshow act. But great? I’ve seen third rate small city carnivals whose sideshows were better.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I love it when great minds think alike.

  89. 89
    scav says:

    At lest the Romans also fed the hoi polloi to keep them content, entertained and busy with non-revolting activities. This Empire thinks it can dispense with the bread. All Circus, All the Time. Circus Noise Network.

  90. 90
    Violet says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I was speaking of it in terms of entertainment in general. NASCAR is entertainment. Chariot races are entertainment. And our media works very hard to make their shows entertaining. News takes a back seat.

    @Belafon: My point was really that more people probably can tell you more facts about Lindsay Lohan than they can about almost any politician or government law, program or policy. The latter is not entertainment; the former is. That’s why our networks work hard to make news entertaining.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’ve been through old stadiums (stadia?) in Turkey. I was surprised by how much the layout and design of old 2000 year old Roman versions resemble modern sports stadiums. Throw in a few beer and hot dog stands and the average modern sportsball or racing fan would feel right at home.’

    And from what I’ve read of how they staged tragic and melodramatic theater, what with all the cow, sheep and goat guts and blood, seems a lot like modern action films.

    Did the Empire have any equivalent to the Sunday talky shows? Would be interesting to see what the similarities for those.

    The Romans had stamina and even though a very reactionary conservative civilization, were able to renew themselves several times after crises. Until Christianity became the state religion, then they were cooked. And the Xtianists keep warning us about how Rome fell because of sexual, decadence, and advocating for Xtianiaty to become our state religion. I think the insane hypocrisy of Christian Rome that hastened its end. Would the wars of reunification in the sixth (or was it seventh?) century have been as destructive without Christianity. Anyway, we are getting there, with help from similar quarters today.

  92. 92
    Roger Moore says:

    @scav:

    At lest the Romans also fed the hoi polloi to keep them content, entertained and busy with non-revolting activities.

    They only fed the ones who lived in Rome and were consequently a threat to the oligarchy there. Poor people in the rest of the Empire, especially the slaves who grew the food, were fucked.

  93. 93
    cckids says:

    “In five to 10 years, we’ll be talking about him as the grand old man of Sunday morning.”

    Just as a business model, this seems asinine. “Our ratings suck & are still dropping, so lets do more of the same for the next decade! Because then, when DG retires, people can say :Boy, he was on TV a long time!!”

    Imagine doing something similar in the real world. ” Our ‘Sunday Morning’ sandwich sucks. 80% of the people who order it hate it, and say they’ll never order it again. Fully half of them will never come to our restaurant again. Lets keep it on the menu and feature it prominently in our ads!!”

    Honestly. The mind reels.

  94. 94
    jl says:

    @cckids: Mining a wasting (ie. aging) asset to exhaustion can be a profit maximizing strategy.

  95. 95
    e.a.f. says:

    the lines to a nice old Johnny Cash song. wishing you were stoned, because of the hang over and the missed opportunites in life. Yes, watching these shows is just like being hung over. By watching these shows many are missing opportunties to do something useful with their lives. these shows no longer provide any decent information or opinions. better to go out for a walk, talk to friends and family, watch paint dry.

  96. 96
    Calouste says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    If you’re not paying, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

  97. 97
    kc says:

    Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.

    That “research project” would be odd as hell even if he’d only been employed there one year.

  98. 98
    kc says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Yep. Russert sucked. And continues to suck from the grave.

  99. 99
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Wasn’t perfect in implementation by any means, but at least they understood the principle of the thing. Hunger and visible recognized disparities of wealth tend to eventually get people off their butts more than simple absolute levels of poverty. The gilded few need to think about overloading that camel. Cell phones with Angry Birds may not be enough.

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Cacti: And on a day in which they could discuss the triumph of Christ over sin and spread the message of salvation to all those folks who watch TV instead of going to church, they decided to go off on the gays. Lovely. But then it is the only sin worth talking about.

  101. 101
    Roger Moore says:

    @scav:
    The Romans only got the point after a hell of a lot of political violence. Inequality was the basic driving force for most of the political conflict during the Republican period, all the way from the Conflict of the Orders through the Civil Wars. Even when they came up with bread and circuses to keep the plebeians from revolting, it was only a band-aid and only applied to a fraction of the poor. As pathetic as our social welfare system is, it’s still a lot better than what the urban poor in Rome got.

  102. 102
    Suffern ACE says:

    Since David Gregory and I are almost exactly the same age, I shudder to think that in 10 years I’d be the “grand old man” of anything.

  103. 103
    jl says:

    @Suffern ACE: People of David Gregory and vast majority of other beltway press corps hacks are old by the age of 30, at least in mind and spirit.

  104. 104
    Kevin says:

    For some reason I thought he was in his mid 50’s. Weird.

  105. 105
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Brightness is not characteristic of the species, although apparently both the Romans and ‘mercans could seemingly learn after violence. ‘mercans currently seem to be forgetting. “You’re better off than under the Roman Elite!” isn’t the most persuasive of bumper stickers, although they like that kind of argument. Shut up and enjoy your cell phones with Angry Birds. (offer does not apply to Obamaphones). Tearing down what may very well be better than what the Romans had is hardly going to improve things.

  106. 106
    Roxy says:

    @Violet:

    The original Star Trek had a great episdoe called Bread and Circuses. The gladiator games were televised. Pretty good episode.

  107. 107
    Roxy says:

    Update to the article from Daily Kos:

    NBC is now insisting the consultant wasn’t psychological at all, but was a brand consultant, which is rather more a done thing in the television business. However, Paul Farhi, the author of the original story:

    … said he checked with NBC twice on Sunday about the term “psychological” and that they had no objections at the time.
    “I checked it twice with them yesterday. No objections then,” he said in an email.

  108. 108
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @scav: Bread? Piffle. In Rome the welfare bakeries made bread for every person every day. At the Coliseum on Xtians vs lions day* you got meat. Lion meat, you sicko.

    @Roger Moore: That’s just nonsense and you know it. The Patron class built circuses all over the empire.

    *-not intended to be a factual statement

  109. 109
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @cckids:

    Imagine doing something similar in the real world. ” Our ‘Sunday Morning’ sandwich sucks. 80% of the people who order it hate it, and say they’ll never order it again. Fully half of them will never come to our restaurant again. Lets keep it on the menu and feature it prominently in our ads!!”

    No need to imagine–I’ve watched KITCHEN NIGHTMARES.

  110. 110
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore:

    As pathetic as our social welfare system is, it’s still a lot better than what the urban poor in Rome got.

    In what way? They got housing, food, and fresh water. They had public baths for both hygiene and recreation. They had the right to vote and a representative democracy, although your choices were between “Rich Dude #1” and “Rich Dude #2” and all the top civil service positions were only open to the hereditary nobility, so there’s that. They had free public schooling. If you performed military service for a complete term the government would pension you off with some farmland. They had a legal system that was the envy of their descendants until the time of Napoleon. They had a fairly functioning economy given that it was based on a bullshit system of tribute that almost collapsed under its own weight a couple of times, and a good state of technical advancement despite the handicap that technical advances were considered family trade secrets and closely guarded.

    The Romans treated conquered peoples badly. Regions that worked with them owed them ruinous tribute tax, while regions that, er, refused to be pacified, IYKWIM(AITYD), had their residents brought to Rome in chains. Slaves were treated badly. No bones about that. They had no rights and their lives were of no consequence. For a rich guy to rape his slaves was considered normal, red-blooded behavior. To illustrate the contempt slaves were held in, at rich people’s banquet parties slaves’ hair was used as napkins.

    We would consider Roman tenement housing to be dangerous today. But they simply didn’t know anything about fire suppression and earthquake proof building techniques. They actually strove to make their cities as modern and sanitary as possible, with massive resources poured into two-way wagon highways (famously over-engineered with 10 feet of underlay–they’ve lasted 2000 years and counting), kilometer after kilometer of aquaducts, massive subterranean drains, massive public bath works, and public toilets that had a continual positive flow of clean water to wash #1 and #2 into the sewers. It’s hard to grasp given the corruption of dark age and medieval Western governance, the ignorance, the appetite for filth and dead bodies, the ineffective and half-assed and even genocidally violent spasms towards disease control, all of which persisted in Europe even well into the 20th century. But Roman activity paved the way (as in, actually paved) for the economic development of France, Spain, and England.

    I think to compare favorably the way the US treats its poor to Rome is to be very naive about how the bottom 40% in this country live and to carry a rather distorted view of Roman history as well.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jl: For short term profit, perhaps.

    But nowadays short term profit is the only thing that matters, thanks to the pervasive MBA mentality.

  112. 112
    Waspuppet says:

    I don’t know how I missed that before: David Gregory is only 43? I’m significantly older than he is? He’s going to be around for another 30 years? Now I’m REALLY depressed.

  113. 113
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roxy: “You bring this network’s ratings down, Flavius, and we’ll do a special on you!”

  114. 114
    Egypt Steve says:

    The obvious solution is more programs featuring John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

  115. 115
    Egypt Steve says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You’re a Roman, Villago, or you should have been.

  116. 116
    Alex S. says:

    I like Goldberg’s quote. He basically says “Stick around long enough and people will assume you’re good because you’ve been around for so long.”

  117. 117
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Schieffer is a Tea Partier in all but name. That’s he’s the king of the steaming pile of offal that comprises our Sunday Morning Political Indoctrination says a lot about the audience for such shows.

  118. 118
    scav says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    At the Coliseum on Xtians vs lions day* you got meat. Lion meat, you sicko.

    Raised ’em some pretty viscious Christian martyrs them days if the lions were dragged out dead and fed to the crowds as after-mauling snacks.

  119. 119
    jayackroyd says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Fluffy yelled at Debbie W-S for introducing merit into the PPACA discussion. policy effectiveness is off the table:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/v.....ng-manhood

  120. 120
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: And they pioneered modern stadium construction. Ones I saw make Candlestick Park look pretty shabby.

  121. 121
    jl says:

    @scav:
    ” Raised ‘em some pretty viscious Christian martyrs them days if the lions were dragged out dead ”

    I think animals fought each other after they et them some Christian martyrs, and the ones still alive were sacrificed, and then et by Romans.

    Villago can give us an eye-witness account, maybe, and tell us how good the meats was.

  122. 122
    Arclite says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Give Rachel a shot!
    Yeah – THAT’LL happen!!!

    I’d love to see Dan Carlin with his own Sunday morning show.

  123. 123
    Kathleen says:

    @Waspuppet: Shorter David Gregory: Why can’t Democrats just do what Republicans want instead of trying to help people and provide health insurance and stuff?

  124. 124
    RaflW says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Based on advertising count on the Sunday morning snooze-fests, the real question is:
    “what impact will this have on the next election ere¢tion”?

    That alone will make the coveted 25 to 54 demo tune out.

  125. 125
    PhilbertDesanex says:

    Time better spent hungover prettty much.

    But, for a good summary read The Bobblespeak Translations, to see what they are really saying:

    http://moonshinepatriot.blogspot.de/

  126. 126
    Kolohe says:

    Gwen Ifill has the best Sunday show, despite it airing on Friday night. (and weirdly enough, as its just journalists interviewing other journalists, is the only one where the audience actually ‘meets the press’.)

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    Don’t know where I saw it first, probably from someone on BJ but the name should never have been Meet the Press but Press the Meat. Besides being somewhat funny it even has the rare quality of having a much louder ring of truth.

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