I'm working from home and it's the calm before the storm (read: The Spawn are still sleeping). I've got Morning Joe on because I'm on autopilot. It's just as ass-chapping irritating as ever. Seriously, people, I think it's time to let go of my masochistic viewing tendencies. I say that a lot, don't I?
Anyway, I'm reminded of a post I started last week, but never finished because I got busy with have-to things or distracted by something sparkly. I want to go back to it quickly and
Dear Joe Scarborough,
I tuned in to Morning Joe the other day for my masochistic fix. It's just what I do. You should be glad for the viewership, even if I am slightly off balance. On this particular day, you and Mike Barnacle were chewing over the testimony of the bank CEOs before Congress. You decided that your tactic of the day would be to hammer home the notion that our financial mess is the fault of Democrats in Congress (you cited Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, by name).
"Let's talk about how we got here......Congress forced banks to give loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back."
That was your mantra. You repeated it so many times I lost count. Barnacle agreed and jumped in to bang the drum with you.
I'd like to point out to you that this is exactly the reason why perhaps it is time to bring back The Fairness Doctrine. See, as you and your guests "discuss" the really important issues of our day, you oversimplify things to the point where watching you actually makes people dumber, less informed. You say we're in this mess because Freddie and Fannie forced banks to make bad loans and that is the fault of Barney Frank. Here's what you don't say:
-The banks made their profit on those predatory loans up front and weren't all that concerned about the long-term accountability of collections
-Credit default swaps, a product of gross deregulation, played a huge part in our current financial mess
-High gas prices played another big role in this mess. The more money people had to devote to the purchase of fuel, the less money they had for both discretionary and non-discretionary spending. Can't pay your bills if you can't get to work, can't get to work if you don't buy gas, etc.
-High oil prices caused a price increase in many other goods, including groceries, another essential
-Jobs were cut, both as a result of outsourcing that is rewarded by our current tax system and because Wall Street loves job cuts in every sector but its own.
I hope you see what I mean now about how you are dumbing down the conversation with your oversimplification. I know it's a convenient political tool and that you are not, after all, a journalist, but an opinionist and a former Republican Congressman. You have three hours, Monday through Friday, to hold court and pump out your propaganda. Unfortunately, because your cable station MSNBC is considered a news channel, many people assume that what you say is reportage, factual, researched. It's packaged as news, but it's really opinion.
The danger here is that there isn't anyone on your panel to counter your opinion or to expand the conversation. So maybe The Fairness Doctrine is just what we need in this time of infotainment. And, to be fair, I would say this for either side. Debate and a free press are vital to our representative government. We are not served by the ability of anyone to seize the airwaves and pump out propaganda of any kind.
I've watched you on programs when Rachel Maddow, an avowed liberal, says something that simply drives you insane. You want to muzzle her. Well, guess what. That's how I feel when I listen to you. Neither reaction is helpful or appropriate.
Now, a program where the two of you have equal billing and equal time to make your points and it's labeled as opinion? That would make more sense. At least then your viewers would know what they are watching.
Of course, each side is confident that the truth is on their side. Most Americans would tell you that it's somewhere in the middle. I think it's all over the place and often contains elements of both sides.
The reality, though, cannot be denied. It's obvious that deregulation has been a mess. It's obvious that having scads of money in our political system is a disaster. It's obvious that big business has been catered to for far too long, to the detriment of both small businesses and individuals.
Those are the messages that should be discussed, but won't be as long as we allow the imbalance of corporate interests to guide and own the political discourse in this great nation of ours.
This is where you look at your GE paycheck and try to find a graceful way to deny that.
In the meantime, I'm going to listen to some music.