Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Back in the heyday of CNN, Crossfire was the place to see a good argument. Hosts were vibrant, passionate, and articulate. The show would occasionally degenerate into a vulgar shouting match with commercial interruptions. It was entertaining hour of banter.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Crossfire now has a studio audience. Yesterday's audience was bolstered by four tour busses full of school teachers visiting Washington DC. Bonjo and I (symbolically of course) occupied the last two chairs in the furthest corner of the right side of the studio.
The show was hosted by Paul "The Forehead" Begala and Robert Novak. The Forehead was by far the more energetic of the two, but his talking points and commentary haven't been revised since 1992. Novak, once a great orator, is far past his prime. During commercial breaks, while The Forehead and the two guests were getting their makeup retouched, paramedics had to come in, break out the paddles, and revive Novak.
Paramedic: Charge to 300! Clear! <ZOLT> Ok, we've got a pulse...it's faint, but he'll make it through the next segment.
Producer: Coming back from commercial in five...four...three...two...
Novak: Welcome back to Crossfire...
The most poignant quote of the show came not from the hosts or the guests, but from a teacher sitting next to us. She commented about the show format, and Bonjo explained that it was designed to show both sides of the issue. She understood that The Forehead represented the liberal side, but when Bonjo pointed out that Novak represented the conservative side, she said the following:
He's a conservative?
CNN badly needs to add life to that show. One pulse is not enough to carry the water.
Here endeth the lesson.