Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A lot of noise

An early evening meeting in Albany meant a late dinner last night in Woodstock. By the time I started looking for the remote control, Larry King's program was on. I stuck with it because Tom Brokaw and Bob Schieffer were guests.

It used to be common for Larry to go long-form with his guests. "For the full hour!" he'd declare. Not last night.

About 15 minutes into the program, it was on to another "panel," as he calls four guests in tic-tac-toe-like video boxes. Too many people, too many voices speaking at once. Choppy conversation interrupted by commercials. Terrible television. (Chris Matthews' program on MSNBC often is similarly uninformative, in part because the host won't allow the guests to get in a word while he repeats the same question three different ways and then answers them himself.)

Anyway, the by-play in the four boxes was cut short so Larry could go to yet another guest, Maria Shriver.

An hour with lots of people and little substance.

Maybe it has something to do with demographics and competition. On the other cable channels, Fox News has Hannity and Colmes and MSNBC has rising star Rachel Maddow. MTV quick cuts have come to cable news.

By 10 o'clock, I flipped over to MSG and the end of the hockey coverage. Larry King had given me a headache.
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