In what was not a surprising interview for anyone who has followed Jesse Ventura and his opinions about both the Democratic and Republican parties, our military industrial complex and what's wrong with our corporate media today, Piers Morgan allowed Ventura to air his grievances on all of the above this Monday evening on CNN.
While I do not agree with Ventura on all of his views by any means, it's hard to disagree with some of the points he made during this interview. Our political system has been corrupted by too much money on all sides. The two political parties have crowded out any chance for most in a third party to get elected. Our militarism and how we treat other countries would never be accepted if the tables were turned and other countries attempted to treat us the same way we do them. And our media is utterly broken and I agree completely with the point he made here:
MORGAN: How much do you think the media have to take responsibility for some of the way the political system has gone? You now have very partisan cable networks. FOX on the right, MSNBC on the left, CNN sort of squeezed somewhere in the middle.
When you see them getting more vociferous and partisan, does that matter? Is that good for political debate? Is it corrupting political debate? What do you think?
VENTURA: I think it's awful. It's terrible. You know, the news used to be to report facts and allow you to make the decision. All these shows are nothing but opinion moderators. They're hired guns to push an agenda. I think it's horrible.
When our forefathers created this country, the media was supposed to be the fourth branch of government, the unwritten branch. Their job was to keep track of what the other three were doing and report it to the American people so the American people could judge it accordingly. What you have now is nothing but a media with opinion and a media that I remember the death of Anna Nicole Smith. It was the headline for a month -- a month. And yet the meat and potatoes of running our country gets cast aside because why? The media today is not in to reporting the news, they're in to creating it, and that is very, very dangerous.
Because the light went on with "60 Minutes". They found out the news could make money. So the bean counters came in. Now the news is nothing but entertainment. It's done to get ratings.
Where in the old days of Walter Cronkite, the news took a loss and they accepted that and they made up for it in their entertainment division. Not today. Today, the news is expected to get ratings and expected to generate money and that is horrible.
MORGAN: So presumably you'll be boycotting FOX and MSNBC on your book tour, will you, Jesse?
VENTURA: I won't be boycotting them. They boycott me. I'd go on happily.
No, that's the truth, Piers. Neither of them will have me on. Neither of them.
VENTURA: -- will have me on. Nope, it's been that way for my last three books. None of the FOX nighttime people will have me on. None of the MSNBC nighttime people will have me on.
Now, FOX Business will put me on. I think they're another division. I'm not sure about that. But some of the business shows at FOX will have me on.
But no, FOX and MSNBC have banned me. I'm too controversial I guess.
You know who else wouldn't let me on? Don Imus. His producers and all them wanted me on but they wanted to know what five songs I wanted to have played. So I told them I wanted -- no, I told them I want Rage Against the Machine. Those are the songs I want.
From Tom Morello. He's a new Bob Dylan. He's a man who can play guitar like heck and Rage Against the Machine. Well, you know they banned them prior to the Iraq War and the buildup to it. None of Clear Channel stations would play anything. They censored Rage Against the Machine. So I guess so did Don Imus.
MORGAN: Well, Jesse, you are outrageous and controversial. You're difficult. You can be menacing. That's exactly why I like you as a guest.
I was glad to see Morgan allow Ventura to express his concerns over how our media treats reporting the news and conflating that with entertainment. And it's a rare occasion anyone points out that delivering actual news should be considered a public service if you're going to be allowed to have your license to broadcast even if it means a loss, rather than "news" divisions being turned into profit centers and by default when you do that, entertainment instead of news.
I don't expect it will change the fact that Morgan or his cohorts at CNN will continue to do daily exactly what Ventura was criticizing here, despite the fact that they actually allowed some criticism of their business model on the air.