It's hard for me to believe, but this scene from the last season of thirtysomething is more than 20 years old, and yet I remember it so distinctly. Deeply nestled in the yuppie years of the late 80s, we were pulling out of Iraq after our "victory" in the first Gulf War, though questions remained as to why we needed to be there at all. Series protagonist Michael Steadman, the creative director of an ad agency run by Miles Drentell, also in this scene, is shocked when a client demands a spokesmodel for a national campaign already launched be fired--damn the expense--for participating in a peace protest. Listen carefully to how Miles describes the job of advertising to the perpetually anguished Michael.
It occurred to me that in these convening two decades, this is EXACTLY what "news" has morphed into. No longer responsible for accurately informing the public, what passes for "news" now is a mixture of soothing the public into believing all is well and scaring the public into believing that the end of civilization is nigh, often simultaneously. Case in point: last night was Nerd Prom, otherwise known as the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner, where the likes of Luke Russert got to flirt with Anna Kendrick and CNN's Ed Henry rubbed elbows with the Jonas Brothers, Kim Kardashian and the guy from The Hangover. In fact, if you're so inclined, Joe and Mika are holding a special post-Nerd Prom Morning Joe, with all the good gossip (we heard Rachel Maddow was mixing some awesome drinks at the MSNBC afterparty) this morning.
But in more serious coverage--This Week has on BP America Chairman Lamar McKay to answer questions on the oil spill. Now, normally, I'd write this off as a joke, but since Jake Tapper has been working with Politifact and offering something other than the tired notion of binary Republican vs. Democrat reductions (the other headliners today are WH Cabinet members Janet Napolitano and Ken Salazar on the AZ immigration bill--not a Republican in sight!) and Bill Maher on the roundtable, I'm willing to give Tapper a chance to ask some tough questions. Over on Meet the Press, it's a busy docket, with Hillary Rodham Clinton joining Napolitano and Salazar, along with new independent Gov. Charlie Crist, with Governors Jennifer Granholm and Bill Richardson. But watch out on CNN and Fox News Sunday, where Napolitano and Salazar are joined by Republican It-Boy Marco Rubio.
ABC's "This Week" - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Lamar McKay, chairman and president of BP America.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.; Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; Napolitano; Salazar; Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Govs. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., and Bill Richardson, D-N.M.; Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Andrea Mitchell, Howard Fineman, Clarence Page, Gloria Borger. Topics: What Is President Obama Going For With His Supreme Court Pick? Remembering the Kent State Massacre Forty Years Later.
CNN's "State of the Union" - Napolitano; Salazar; Allen; and Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - An exclusive interview with Goldman Sachs Chairman & CEO Lloyd Blankfein. The man atop this embattled global banking giant gives -- for the first time -- a detailed defense of the deal that lead to fraud charges from the SEC. He expresses regret for what he calls Goldman's mistakes, and talks about Goldman's share of responsibility for the global economic crisis. And, can Blankfein - a man who made $68 million in 2007 - truly understand the human cost of the crisis?
"Fox News Sunday" - Napolitano; Salazar; Allen; Rubio; Sally Ride, the first female U.S. astronaut.
So what's catching your eye this morning?