Anyway, I ended this practice about the time I started college, not only because I treasured my sleep, but because I treasured my mental health. The Sunday morning shows consistently got their coverage wrong, causing me to yell at the TV out loud or in my head, which one can only do for so long. After awhile, the Cokie Roberts-Sam Donaldson duo was too much for me to bare. I stopped watching the news shows. The following is another reason why.
During the Clinton presidency, a constant topic on these shows was Clinton's "appearance of guilt," which opened the talk show floor up to much speculation accompanied by little analysis based on fact (NOTE: no one was indicted or convicted of crimes connected to the Whitewater investgation). For those who think the press relishes a scandal--a view that I find overly-simplistic--ask yourselves why we don't here the cacophony of scandal-mongering from the bygone days of Clinton now that members of the Bush administration are being questioned both in a criminal and in a moral context about their actions, actions that are undeniably much more serious.
A very recent example of the D.C. press corps's misplaced priorities is Tim Russert's recent interview with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. First, after Dean pointed out that the administration lied in connecting Saddam to Iraq as a justification for going to war there, Russert incorrectly asserted that they had never done such a thing. Russert then grilled Dean persistently about why the Democrats had no specific answers to problems they have been bringing light to--problems from health care to the tax code to the war. Dean pointed out that (1) the Democrats do have answers and (2) the Democrats, who currently are the minority in the House, Senate, and who don't hold the presidency, are the opposition party. In practical terms, there is no point in the opposition party constructing specific legislation unless they can get it passed through bipartisan support. Something like guaranteed healthcare or a revision of the tax code isn't going to go through this Congress, and that's why we need to "clean House" (pun very much intended).
So why did Russert persist in this line of questioning, even after Dean gave what was a very genuine and logical answer? My guess: Tim feels lost if he is not trying to find something wrong with Democrats, which he is so accustomed to doing. Back in the '90s, mainstream media deans like Russert weren't among that group of people who were increasingly frustrated that the Republicans didn't have any intention of getting to the nation's business. Funny then how doggedly Tim pursued Dean on this question, despite Democrats being the minority party. Funnier still that, as in the 1990s, the group that does care that Republicans aren't getting to the nation's business--as polls continually show--are the American people. Russert would do the country a favor to join the rest of us and get to what really matters in this country. I'll give you a hint, Tim: it's not what you think it is.