Memo To: TV News Producers
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Silly Saturation
My mistake, folks. I should have gone out to the golf course, but as usual I figured I might miss something important on one of your Sunday shows. All I found on most of your shows was some policeman from Washington, D.C., talking about how he still didn’t know anything about the missing intern of a congressman from California named Gary Condit. The only relief from the cop was the CNN show, Reliable Sources, which devoted a half hour asking seasoned journalists if they thought the mass media were devoting too much time to the story. Michael Isikoff of Newsweek pointedly noted that Reliable Sources had devoted segments of seven straight shows to this story, one more than Newsweek has.
Oh yes, there was the inevitable John McCain, for his seventeenth straight Sunday talk show, muttering about his disappointment in his fellow Members of Congress in not passing campaign finance reform. As I recall, on each of his interviews he was asked about Gary Condit and he said he liked the fellow -- because he voted for campaign finance reform, I suppose.
You fellows really should study your methods, don’t you think. It was painful to watch Tony Snow of FoxNewsSunday spend almost his entire hour yapping about Condit and the intern, then devoting his closing editorial commentary to why he had absolutely no idea why he wasted his own weekend on the story. He couldn’t really say that, but it was clear he had a gun to his head when the show was in production. His producer did let him have Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott for a few minutes, but most of that was spent peppering Lott with questions about Condit – who I think he may never have met -- until Lott said he did not approve of adultery and hoped Condit’s constituents would retire him from public office at the next elections, whether or not he did something worse. Please note that Lott indicated he would propose a cut in the capital-gains tax within the minimum wage bill, which would dramatically effect the fortunes of tens of millions of Americans if it passed. Tony Snow had no time to develop this “news” because he had to rush on to Mr. Condit.
By the time Wolf Blitzer showed up, I’d had it. Next week, please, some variety. Maybe get Bill Clinton or Senator Hillary Clinton to talk about global warming. No, forget it, we would be talking about interns again.