Friday, August 15, 2003

Darkness, followed by light. The lights are pretty much back on, according to this story on Talk about more alleged news. Don't get me wrong -- it was obviously a big story. But, honestly, once terrorism was ruled out (and it was, pretty quickly), how much do you need to know?

I did tune in long enough to watch what may be the best question anyone has ever asked Senator Hillary Clinton. On Larry King Live, Wolf Blitzer asked: Senator, everybody's been getting likkered up for hours. Aren't they going to run wild tonight?

Okay, I exaggerate, but not by much. Blitzer:

Senator, the people of New York have responded well so far, but I have some concerns standing here on the streets of New York. It's dark, obviously, very dark right now. A lot of people are mulling around. I have seen a lot of crowds mulling around. Clearly for some -- for some misguided New Yorkers, there almost seems to be a festive atmosphere. A lot of people drink[ing] beer and other spirits up if you will.

Have New York law-enforcement authorities done everything necessary to make sure it doesn't get ugly in parts of New York City tonight?

Clinton was on by phone; I wish she'd been on camera so I could have watched her scrunch her lips. Anyway, she eluded the question and was boring to boot, so I won't quote her response. But at least Blitzer provided a moment of cheap entertainment during the Live Story from Hell. ("The lights are still out ...")

Ventura highway to oblivion. I suppose MSNBC, the number-zero cable news channel, deserves a little bit of credit for indefinitely postponing Jesse Ventura's prime-time debut. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the channel has ever cleaned up one of its train wrecks before it's aired for a few painful months.

Still, Nobody's News Channel will let Ventura hold forth on weekends, as it did earlier with right-wing hatemonger Michael Savage. Obviously Ventura is considerably more savvy -- and less offensive -- than the gay-bashing, garbage-mouthed Savage. But an on-air train wreck remains a distinct possibility.

This, from the aforelinked Jim Rutenberg and (ooh, sorry; with) Charlie LeDuff's account in the New York Times, offers a scary insight into how MSNBC president Erik Sorenson and his drones think:

One concept that the network tried this summer, according to someone present at the taping, had Mr. Ventura eliciting commentary from his guests while an attractive woman served up different topics.

Sounds like the bimbos who flaunted themselves at ringside back in The Body's days with the WWF.

That hissing sound you hear is a sigh of relief from Brian Williams, who escaped from MSNBC last summer and who now holds forth on the unwatched, but unembarrassing, CNBC.

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