Guest Commentary: Flashy shows outshine real political discourse

In the mornings, there is a show on CSPAN that features a woman sitting at a desk. She has a phone on her desk. There is a single TV monitor behind her. A chair is to the left of her desk.

Her phone rings from one of three lines. One line is for Democrats, one for Republicans and one for Independents. She devotes equal time to all three. She does not respond directly to the caller, but she lets them make their point. She then thanks them, recaps the question, and asks for the ramifications.

Politicians regularly come on this show. Not the famous ones. The ones she brings on are people who are on committees such as the Armed Forces, Judiciary and Agriculture. They work in Washington everyday.

The politician sits in the chair to the left of the desk. He says "hi" to the host. The host then begins taking calls. Dumb, drunk cowboys call in and rant about immigration. The host and politician listen. As soon as he or she begins to repeat points, or ramble, the caller is thanked and the phone is hung up. Not once have I heard a caller exclaim they have something else to say. They get their time.

Then some bleeding heart will scream about how President Bush is the gravitational center of evil in the universe. As soon as he or she begins to ramble or repeat points the call is politely ended.

The politician must then answer. The politician is given his time. The politician fields questions by Republicans. The politician says something no one even knew politicians could say. I never knew one could speak sentences longer than talking points.

From what I understand about pundits – from Bill O’Reily, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and whichever one the conservative of Hannity and Colmes is – pundits only say stupid, mean or inflammatory things.

And people say these shows are boring. Why, because there are not 10 flags waving all over the screen? Or because this station believes we are a little older than color-coded threat levels? Why is this boring?

As a political science student I have to wonder what we are in for when our future analysts, politicians and lobbyists enjoy pretty graphics more than information.

Khan, a political science junior, can be reached via [email protected].

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