Please Save Us From The Spread Of CNN Fight Club Shows
Some folks on the Twitter-mobile referred me to a CNN panel discussion on immigration that featured a showdown between conservative commentator Mary Katherine Ham (no, not her) and Our Revolution president Nina Turner. Apparently, one woman "owned" the other, whose viewpoints were demolished with surgical precision and whose entire ideology was exposed to the world as gibberish produced from a gum ball machine. Whether the "victor" was Ham or Turner depended entirely on your own political views.
These panel discussions depress me because they aren't actually discussions; they're just "shout fests," where the commercial breaks should end with the ring of a boxing bell. "When the fight was over, nothing was solved, but nothing mattered" is not just a line from Fight Club, it's CNN's mission statement.
Apparently, "Amir" is all set to vote for Turner because she slapped the taste out of Ham's mouth on live TV. Maybe that works for him. Personally, I'm not sure how rhetorical dominance translates to effective governance. No minds are ever changed or opinions reconsidered after these panels, so what's the point? I know we live in politically polarized times, but even I have better things to do than watch Turner beat up on an entitled moron (see, that's how my own bias sums up the event).
There are literally dozens of YouTube clips titled "CNN commentators debate how racist Donald Trump is" and we never get anywhere. If these panels only had the rigor and structure of a beauty pageant, Trump would've been crowned Miss Racist already, and we could move on. Hey, just for no fun at all, let's take a painful look at one of many exchanges I selected at random.
Didn't you enjoy that highly prized ideological balance? The panelists have starkly different opinions, some of them hideous but it's important we get outside our bubbles and hear both sides, which is a little difficult when everyone's talking over each other. This isn't communication. It's a wrestling match. Commentator Ana Navarro boasts several gold belts from regularly facing off against whoever is playing The Blonde Bigot that day. I checked and this is apparently Navarro's sole means of support. She was once a Republican strategist who couldn't successfully "strategize" the party from being "out loud" racist. That's good enough for a CNN paycheck and soon a cushy spot on "The View."
As Sara Haines says goodbye to The View, two well-known on-air personalities are already being considered for spots on the daytime talk show.
PEOPLE has learned that Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Abby Huntsman and regular CNN contributor Ana Navarro are at the top of the list of contenders for Haines' replacement. If chosen, they would join current co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Meghan McCain at the table.
Is there really room for another affirmative action Republican hire at "The View"? This conservative quota system they have going is ruining one of my favorite ways to waste my morning. It's already infected the "Today" show's third hour with former FOX News anchor and black Santa debunker Megyn Kelly. My mornings should be light and frothy, a Kelly Ripa latte, not a belt of racist Irish whiskey.
Kelly has panel discussions that are full-on CNN in (mostly) casual wear. The bland participants are clearly not friends sitting around gabbing over their morning coffee before sweating over Michael B. Jordan together. Kelly verbally arm-wrestled with Zerlina Maxwell over swimsuits in the Miss America pageant and assembled a group of cisgendered people to "debate" whether Scarlett Johansson should play a trans character in a movie (guess how that went). She also attacked Sacha Baron Cohen for being a comedian. Lady, this is a morning talk show. You should be swapping home decorating ideas with Cohen not defending his gullible (and terrible!) political targets.
"It makes me feel uncomfortable. To me, Sacha Baron Cohen seems like a bully." She further explained: "If this was done in the schoolyard where you lured somebody in under false pretenses just to humiliate them and then make them a national laughingstock, we would call that person a bully."
Earlier that week, Kelly took a more measured, pro-bully stance when she blithely detailed the cold-blooded killing of a black man outside a convenience store. She did finally break down and shed what resembled human tears when she chose that totally appropriate moment to share the news about the untimely passing of her pet dog, who in fact was not shot down like a dog but died peacefully from natural causes.
The whole panel discussion "shout fest" format makes my ears bleed. But I guess if I ever had the chance to see Nina Turner take Megyn Kelly "down to Chinatown," that might cheer me up.
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.