Wednesday, November 04, 2009

CNN - Theatre of the Bizarre

The expression on the faces of CNN's panel of "analysts" were similar to the look my dog gives me when I try to feed her a gummy bear. After suffering a crippling defeat in the first round of voting on the President's Health Care bill in late October, the Democrats were dealt yet another blow Tuesday night, as Republicans soundly won the Governorships of both New Jersey and Virginia. These were no small victories. In Virginia, Robert McDonnell became the first Republican in over a decade to win the state. In New Jersey, Chris Christie defeated Democrat John Corzine in a race that most pundits had written off as a lost cause.

Not even the androgynous bubble gum king of cable news, Anderson Cooper, could deny what was happening. I almost felt a pang of sympathy for John King, whose considerable talents and nifty little pie charts could probably be put to good use, were he not buckling under the weight of CNN's liberal overlords.

Holding court in the "fair and diverse" pundit corner was the forever moribund and professional ideological prostitute David Gergen; Pamala Gentry from BET; token conservative Mary Matalin; and her freak of nature husband James Carville, who I suspect is a hybrid version of a Ferret mixed with the DNA of Orville Redenbacher. The panel was rounded off by those faces you see every now and then, but can never put a name to - that skinny white guy in the off the rack suit, and the black dude who has that weird pattern going on in his receding hairline that looks like some kind of Etch-a-Sketch that went terribly awry. Wolf Blitzer popped in now and then, but was frequently interrupted, as if no one really cared what the old man had to say anymore.

This merry cavalcade - still high off the fumes of "Yes We Can" gas soaked bandannas - seemed unable to grasp that these wins, specifically in Virginia, were a clear repudiation of not only beltway Democrats, but the President's laundry list of pet projects. "Hate" was a word that was liberally brandied about as the abracadabra word of the night to explain away the crushing blow delivered to the Democrats a year after such a resounding victory. You see, the American people were filled with hate, or so the CNN intelligentsia would have us believe, running amok in the streets like punch drunk anarchists ready to tear up their driver's licences and burn down the White house - but something doesn't quite add up.

The network had spent the entire month of November declaring the "death of conservatism", and they paraded a never-ending Tonga line of left-of-center "pragmatists" to ensure us of this. The GOP had to "moderate", we were told, or they would be exiled to farthest corners of Mount Doom, never to be seen again. Curious. They said the same thing in 1977 - then along came Reagan. They said the same thing in 1993 when President Clinton soiled the oval office and a few dresses along the way - then came the 1994, 104th Congressional blow out. And now, we have have New Jersey and Virginia solidly in the pockets of not just Republicans, but principled conservatives. I pointed out on the pages of this very site that this media game was nothing but a clever ruse, and American voters demonstrated they were no one's fool.

- but back to CNN.

The cable news network has always been a reliable stage for the theatre of the bizarre. Who can forget the election night interview with WILL-I-AM from the Black Eyed Peas, who was beamed in as a sort of hologram from a cheap episode of Star Trek (Don't believe me? Click here). I have been a media watchdog for over 10 years now, and I have seen a lot of strange things, but nothing in my experience caused as much intracranial combustion as the stunt liberal journalist Soledad O'Brien pulled.

As the night deteriorated, O'Brien bumped poor John King off the set, and produced a computer generated pie chart showing that close to 65% of the American public were dissatisfied with the way the country was being governed. The unhappy folks were displayed in blue. Next she showed the 35% demographic who were happy or unsure with the way things were being handled in Washington - they were displayed in yellow. This was good news, proclaimed O'Brien. It sure didn't sound like good news, but she proceeded to point to a small section of the yellow "happies" that was shaded slightly orange. This, she said, suggested a trend. What trend was that, you ask? With a quick wrinkle of her nose, O'Brien switched to a new chart where the stats were reversed. Apparently, one year from now, the 65% of unhappy folks were going to be completely satisfied with the their elected officials - "a positive sign for the Democrats", declared Soledad. The trend that was alluded to was never explained. My wife and I exchanged the most puzzled glance that has ever crossed between us. Even the Coop seemed confused, and also embarrassed - so embarrassed that he actually mumbled something about possible "...spin from the liberal segment of the media". Anderson will no doubt be going to the Principal's office, and it ain't going to be pretty.

Wednesday morning, if you clicked on CNN's website, you didn't see any mention of the shifting of the electoral tectonic plates that had occurred. It was down in the politics section, hidden underneath a story about a homeless guy who plays the cello. This is shameless, but the administration's weekly Sunday morning finger wagging at FOXNews is meant to convey a not so subtle warning to the folks at CNN: Step out of line, and you'll be sitting in the cheap seats at the next White House press briefing.

Bizzaro hour aside, we should temper our victory with an ounce of prudence. The GOP is notorious for fumbling the ball, and reports of vote tampering and fraud by the Democrats are beginning to trickle in. Had the margins been a little slimmer, Tuesday night's results could have been drastically different. Polls are showing that over 40% of Americans identify themselves as conservatives - Republicans would do well to remember that.

Maybe Soledad's magical political forecast is correct. One year from now, perhaps 65% the population will be happy with the way things are being handled in Washington - right after we send the Democrats packing in the mid-term elections. Pie anyone?


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