It is the dark, painful secret of broadcast journalism. Dedicated professionals actually work tirelessly to produce that lowest common denominator pabulum known as ‘mainstream media.’ Insiders admit the fare is about as nutritious as rice cakes dipped in excrement, but they’re quick to blame the audience. CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “We only have 360,000 viewers, and most of them are stuck at airports probably. We have to give people what they want.”
According to Cooper and his counterparts at MSNBC and Fox News, one thing viewers definitely don’t want is more Presidential debates. Grizzled broadcast veteran Geraldo Rivera perhaps best encapsulated the problem. “The market research is solid. 78% of Americans would rather see me at Capone’s vault than watch another Presidential debate.” In retrospect, experts agree the 28 televised debates during the GOP nomination race were a ‘bridge too far.’ Well, more like 20 bridges too far, but it’s too late to count now.
An unlikely hero has emerged to slice through the Gordian knot of Presidential debate fatigue; Chris Matthews has actually thought up a good idea. Rumor has it Mr. ‘Thrill up the Leg’ demanded a conference call with all news leaders and laid down the law in no uncertain terms. Although no transcript is available from the planning session, some of those involved were willing to divulge details.
Since the two candidates are about as unpredictable as the work of late artist Thomas Kinkade, the only solution is to add excitement with choice of moderator. Judith Sheindlin, popularly known as ‘Judge Judy’ this week signed on as lead Inquisitor. It seems the move has placed the fourth estate at crossed swords with the juggernaut campaigns. Insiders predict the press has the upper hand in this contest against the nation’s preeminent walking wind socks. Absent Judge Judy’s participation, the candidates can fight it out on NPR, the Home Shopping Network, or perhaps a special episode of “Pawn Stars.”
The Presidential debates will be a Pay-per-view event with all proceeds (well, part of the proceeds) donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research.
An excited Judge Judy has already revealed some of her planned questions. “I want to ask Governor Romney why he thinks everybody finds him sort of creepy. And I want to ask President Obama why he still thinks he’s cool, when everybody else thinks he’s an ineffectual putz.”
In a totally unrelated story, Simon Cowell kicked his cat today and yelled “Dammit!”