WASHINGTON – (Newsblaze) One of the most celebrated quotes in the history of American Journalism came in an exchange between the great artist Frederic Remington and publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Remington was in Cuba to cover what he thought was the ravaging Spanish-American war. Instead, the artist discovered the goings on were quite peaceful. When Hearst discovered Remington’s assessment, he sent word back to him. “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
I’m writing this story at the Politico Playbook Cocktails event, in the Mayflower hotel on Thursday evening. When I phone Alan Gray, the editor of Newsblaze in Canberra, Australia, some 9,900 miles away from me, I know what I will say. I will file this story of the goings on here in Washington, but I will have to disappoint him by telling him that there is no way even the great Frederic Remington could paint a pretty picture of what happened here tonight.
You could not think of an event more bizarre than this one, coming off the heels of yesterday’s explosive Benghazi hearings on Capitol Hill, to demonstrate how incoherently disconnected America’s Political class is these days. The featured attraction, that has drawn a capacity crowd, is the stars of the MSNBC show “Morning Joe” – Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Full disclosure: I love going to events hosted by Politico and appreciate the service by their events staff, but the caffeine in my Pepsi wasn’t really stimulating enough to get me through this.
The main subject they discussed was Mika’s new book: “Obsessed: why we should start using the word fat.” For 45 minutes, she and her morning co-host droned on about Food. The audience received its cue to disengage the synapses almost instantly when the former Florida congressman impersonated a woman’s voice about the typical impression of a woman coming up to the daughter of the former Carter Administration National Security advisor “I love your book” in a giggly voice.
I was planning to write a news story here but there isn’t a news story to write. The sum total of the book is that a cable news darling couldn’t handle life at 118 odd pounds and felt so much better at 130 pounds – so she though we really had to know that number. Yes, people in life do struggle with weight, but Mika decided to take it one step further. She felt compelled to take on the “food industry” and the manufacturers of our caloric sustenance. No one in that journalistic and political crowd could even remotely deign to ask her “So where’s your degree from Iowa State University in food science?”
The moderators attempted an audition for daytime television as well. Jim Vandehei demonstrated the locker room dialog that Al Roker used to describe his bowel movements on Inauguration Day that sent NBC’s Today show plummeting in ratings. Vandehei told the audience about his buddy Keith and how his diet made him unable to “crap for a week” and his sidekick at Politico, Mike Allen, had to philosophize in front of the audience “what if I was a teenage girl?” Maybe the pressure was off these guys to produce quality dialogue since it was announced recently the corporate parent would be divesting itself of its television properties to keep Politico going.
When it finally appeared that the tyranny of the discussion of food would subside and Scarborough was about to discuss his final speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, this fiasco had to become bipartisan, with Chris Christie phoning in on Mika’s iPhone. In a canned moment, there was a discussion of the New Jersey governor’s recent weight surgery. The governor said “My surgery is my business.” So why did he gab about it with a bunch of dim bulbs in Washington? A simple thought, but I digress.
If you were a conservative, sitting in the back of the audience, thinking this was going to get better when the fluff reached its conclusion, you forget this was the same publication that ran 100 plus articles to defame Herman Cain’s bid for the White House.
Scarborough then proceeded to burnish his ruling class credentials to be gainfully employed by saying Ted Cruz is just “putting on a show,” extremists were taking over the GOP that his father would never stand for, and that the “bright,” “intellectually curious” Obama is surprising his liberal friends with how much of a failure he is. Didn’t Scarborough realize with his running as a “Republican” that progressivism fails? Again, another simple thought these elites couldn’t play in Peoria.
But the telling moment had to be the last question, when Scarborough was queried about his program’s appearance in the Nielsen listings. He said, “We don’t worry about ratings,” adding that advertising revenue was subsidizing the program enough to keep NBC executive Phil Griffith happy.
I ended up with two thoughts. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh, when he finishes his outreach to “low information voters,” might wish to start a new effort to reach “low information Washingtonians,” and if Joe Scarborough doesn’t care about ratings, grab me a press pass – I’ll give it a shot.