Sunday, October 19, 2008

TV: The fakes

Last night Governor Sarah Palin appeared in the opening skit(s) of Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey, was present, doing her poor impersonation and something interesting happened. Many things actually but let's just zoom in on the fact that Governor Palin and Tina as Palin never shared the stage. No, that is not usual for Saturday Night Live -- in fact, it has never happened. If you don't mind them being "worsts," there were a lot of first racked up last week.


Certainly the crap Pravda on the Hudson served up Thursday qualifies among the worst of the week. That's when Amy Goodman & Co. decided it was time to recreate Wednesday's night's debate between GOP presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. We have no idea why Juan Gonzalez stated early in the broadcast, "During the debate, the Iraq war was barely mentioned. The war in Afghanistan never came up." There was no reason for those topics. They were covered in the other two debates. CBS News' Bob Schieffer's fifth sentence Wednesday night was, "The subject is domestic policy." That was the subject and the candidates (invited) had agreed to it ahead of time.

We have no idea what was confusing about one debate focusing on domestic issues? We also have no idea how the garbage Democracy Now! offered was supposed to helpful or informative.

Goody stated that Bob Barr (Libertarian Party presidential candidate) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party's presidential candidate) had been invited but were unable to participate. Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney were able to participate.

"Participate in what?" should have been the question asked.

They weren't allowed to have a debate, Cynthia and Ralph. They were part of some weird 'post-modern' art show. As usual, Goody spliced in responses from the Wednesday night McCain-Obama debate into the 'proceedings.' Apparently, that wasn't enough, she also had to include lengthy bits from Wednesday night's moderator Schieffer.

Did anyone need to hear Barack or McCain again? Hell no. 56.5 million was the number of people who tuned in (that doesn't include PBS viewers) to watch the McCain-Obama debate last week according to Nielsen.

Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney were excluded from the so-called 'presidential' debates. And, pay attention Goody, this would have been Ralph and Cynthia's first debate -- had they been allowed to debate. At the start of the year, a California event was billed as a Green Party debate. Cynthia took part in the panel and Ralph was supposed to but rules and regulations required him to instead make an address after the panel concluded. This would have been the first debate between Nader and McKinney. That would have been worth watching.

Instead, Goody again stole the format from someone else and manipulated it for her -- not the candidates -- own benefit. Let's start with credit where it's due, Jurgen Vsych made the documentary Ralph Nader Crashes the Two Parties in 2004. That election year, Ralph was also excluded. So what Vsych did was take footage of a 2004 debate with John Kerry (Dem) and what's-his-name (Rep) and film Ralph with his own responses which she then spliced into her film. So credit where it's due.

Thursday on Democracy Now!, there was no need for splicing. Two presidential candidates were present, two more had been invited but weren't able to participate. Two candidates is enough for a debate. Instead of letting them debate, the program put forward the opinion that Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader just don't matter.

How so?

Take Amy's cutting them off with "Time's up." That may seem to make sense until you grasp that she played clips of Obama and McCain and, for the record, Bob Schieffer did not cut them off (though he needed to). So while Ralph and Cynthia were held to a time limit, Goody had no problem playing clips where Barack or McCain yammered on and on endlessly.

Cynthia and Ralph were, in fact, penalized for participating. Thursday morning they were held to a standard that the McCain-Obama were not. And no one was supposed to notice?

Were we also not supposed to notice that neither Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez came up with one damn question? They just grabbed Bob Schieffer's. Correction, they grabbed some of Bob's.

Amy Goodman is of course the woman who thinks smut-merchant Larry F**nt is someone to be 'down' with and his trashy porno mag (H**tler) is something to write for. So it's probably no surprise that the issue of abortion wasn't addressed.

Excuse us, it wasn't addressed by Amy Goodman. Bob asked it in the McCain-Obama debate. But no one thought it was worth including for Ralph or Cynthia?

Let's give you an example of the kind of crap Goody included instead:

Alright, we're going to move to another question, and the topic is leadership in this campaign. Both of you pledged to take the high road in this campaign, yet it has turned very nasty. Senator Obama, your campaign has used words like "erratic," "out of touch," "lie," "angry," "losing his bearings," to describe Senator McCain. Senator McCain, your commercials have included words like "disrespectful," "dangerous," "dishonorable," "he lied." Your running mate said he "palled around with terrorists." Are each of you tonight willing to sit at this table and say to each other's face what your campaigns and the people in your campaigns have said about each other? And, Senator McCain, you're first.

That's Bob Schiffer and while he could ask that question or not of McCain and Obama, Goody had no business replaying it on Democracy Now! to put it to Cynthia and Ralph.

But what you have to grasp is: It's not about Cynthia and Ralph.

It was about Amy tossing on whatever remained of her reputation to yet again promote Barack.

Cynthia and Ralph have not gone 'negative' on one another. There was no point in wasting their time with this bulls**t. But Amy was hoping she could force them to defend Barack and condemn John McCain. Why? Didn't she already make that clear a few weeks back when (out of nowhere) she started asking Ralph if he would urge his voters to abandon his campaign and vote for Barack in battle ground states.

Amy Goodman brings Ralph or Cynthia (or both) on only as props to advance Barack's campaign. You can tell in what she asks and what she doesn't.

There was no point in asking Cynthia and Ralph to comment on what McCain and Obama say about one another. But Goody was able to get Matt Gonzalez to provide cover for Barack during the Democratic Party primaries and she was hoping to do the same again Thursday morning.

Ralph took the bait and responded. Cynthia McKinney ignored it and we applaud for refusing to rally around a White man who instigated more serious acts of violence than have the still persecuted Black Panthers. If you're not getting how that was the point or how Cynthia and Ralph were besides the point in Goody's mind, let's focus on that moment. Goody plays Bob asking the question about 'negative' campaigns. She then shows film of McCain and Obama's response. Ralph and Cynthia are each asked to speak and are both told there two minutes is up. Do we move to the next question?

Hell f**king no. We go to more film clips of Barack from the debate insisting that Billy Ayers is just a so sweet Barack could suck the sugar out of Billy's ass, time permitting.

"That's two minutes, Cynthia McKinney," piped Amy. "Ralph Nader, that's your two minutes," she insisted next. But there was time to roll clip on Barack.

There was never time to fact check but those like Amy aren't interested in facts, they're interested in propaganda and lies. They're interested in trickery and deceit because they can't win on an even playing field (or they fear they can't), so they resort to non-stop lying.

Abortion there wasn't time for. But Amy Goodman wanted to bore the country with what do Ralph and Cynthia think about Barack? Do they really, really like him? Are they into him?

Please, she reduced them to nothings. She cast them in the roles of a Greek chorus at best, glorified extras at worst. That was her entire point.

Repeating, at least 56.5 million saw the McCain-Obama debate last week. There was no need to offer clips of that debate when Ralph and Cynthia could have had their own lively debate. Instead, they were required to wait around while Amy Goomdan made like Nina Blackwood playing 'hot' videos from the MTV basement.

It was embarrassing. But completely expected from The People's Republic of Brooklyn's Amy Goodman. Wednesday's actual debate was probably the strongest of the three and the embarrassment there was Barack's.

Rebecca's noted that Barack doesn't benefit from the sit-down format and he did look back in it. To his credit (actually his team), that haughty head back pose was kept in storage. But someone told him to grin instead and it did not go unnoticed. We think that Laura Taylor (Ambler, Penn) said it best in Friday's New York Times, "I was also a little upset at Mr. Obama's condescending smile, all the time acting as if he was so much smarter. He needs to act a little more mature." In fairness to Barack, like many a model, he's learned the art of smiling with only the lower facial muscles. While that does cut down on creating new wrinkles around the eyes, it also tends to leave many feeling that your smile is less than genuine.

Less than genuine is how Barack came off as he yet again avoided telling the American people what the fines would be under his insurance (for children) program. He side-stepped the issue and was allowed to. He should have been called on it. But he was allowed to lie over and over and he did. He is the young high schooler soon to accidentally run over a classmate following a drunken binge. And the press has to take accountability for all the ways in which they've spoiled him. To our surprise, one actually voiced that reality, "The 'mainstream' media, or what is left of it, has favored and fawned over Obama from the start--even before the current parade of official endorsements. Much of the coverage has been egregiously slanted." That's Howard Fineman of Newsweek.

Howard Fineman was the rare bright spot last week. We're back to SNL. Govenor Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate, came out during Weekend Update, sat down at the desk and announced she couldn't do the agreed upon skit. At which point, Amy Polar Bear did a rap as if she were Palin while Seth and Palin chair danced. Sorry, Sarah, you got punked.

Yes, you knew what you were in was a skit. But SNL fans? Not the brightest -- and certainly not the best. By Monday morning, on college campuses, the word will be "Amy did some funny rap and, check it, she had to because Palin comes out on camera and bails!" Again, Sarah was punked. It was a set up.

Prior to that, Palin participated in the opening which was actually a series of sketches. First up, Ugly Girl Tina Fey was impersonating Palin. That seemed to go on and on -- and it's never been that funny to begin with. Then Palin was shown watching Fey on the monitor with Lorne. Mark Wahlberg comes through the hall looking for Andy. Alec Baldwin shows up in the hall insisting that Tina can't play 'that woman.' Lorne explains to Alec that he's standing with Palin, not Tina Fey. Alec makes a line to her and then walks off with her only to warn Tina Fey that Palin's there.

What did we explain with respect to Saturday Night Live last April? You blink, you lose the laugh.

Those tuning in for Palin were expecting to see a skit with Tina Fey and Sarah Palin. It never happened. And, Palin hung around for the entire show. She attempted to approach Fey after host Josh Brolin gave the thank yous -- but Fey avoided her.

We'd love to believe the guilt was getting to Tina but we were told the real reason is that the point we've made here was made a few times too often around Tina: Governor Palin is a beautiful woman. Tina? Freshly scrubbed on a good day. So Tina is said to have avoided standing next to Palin on camera so that the obvious comparison couldn't be made.

We asked, "Didn't Palin come on the show hoping to do a bit with Tina? Sort of like the bit Hillary did with Amy when Amy was imitating Hillary?" Yeah, that was what Palin wanted but Tina Fey's not just a bad actress, she's also a coward and the coward couldn't face Palin. If you caught the show and are thinking, "This is just like a running gag they had with Mark Wahlberg and Andy." Yeah. Sketch comedy imitates life or bad TV.

"Did you notice how clenched Tina was?" We didn't make that observation, it was made by a writer with SNL to us. And, in response, yes we did. We also noticed that something as simple as walking across the stage was beyond Fey's acting capabilities. Our friend expects Tina to show up shortly with jokes and ideas and "blah, blah, f**king blah but reality is Tina choked." That is reality. He is correct.

Poor Tina Fey, not a good sport and playing one was far beyond her limited acting capabilities. Let's hope 30 Rock's a hit for her this year because that's really the only role she has left to play. Even "Lorne's pet" is a role that comes with an expiration date (when 30 Rock gets cancelled). We think 'social critic' has already expired for Tina. When you're too damn cowardly to do a bit with the woman you've ridden to fame, you don't look brave, you don't look strong. You look like the little pip-squeak you are. Or maybe, like so much else to be found on TV these days, you just looked like a fake.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }