Kathy Griffin's desperate efforts to get some shock buzz New Year's Eve on CNN were so obvious that I vowed I wouldn't write about her -- wouldn't write about her kissing Anderson Cooper's crotch and trying to make sure every viewer knew what she was doing.
This isn't about politics. It's about a cable channel letting one of its highest visibility show hosts and its brand be debased -- not once but twice. First on New Year's Eve, and then again on Cooper's Tuesday night show. To me, the Tuesday night performance was even worse.
On New Year's Eve, when I saw Griffin first kiss Cooper's crotch -- and listened to all her shock-jock double-entendre crap surrounding it -- I had two thoughts:
First, Jeff Zucker can't take over fast enough at CNN, which seems to have utterly lost its grip with stuff like this.
And second, maybe Cooper's image is bulletproof, but how much of this silliness can he keep indulging before people start to say, "Hey, maybe this is who this guy really is - a giggling clown, not a newsman"?
So, why am I writing about it now if I made that vow on New Year's Eve not to?
Because Tuesday night, Cooper had Griffin back on his show, and the two acted like a couple of adolescents celebrating how naughty they had been the night before. And this went on a long, long time, with video highlights and Cooper letting Griffin plug her next junky special.
Meanwhile, on Fox News, first-string anchors, reporters and analysts were going all out on a holiday night trying to cover the fiscal cliff maneuverings in Washington.
Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer, Ed Henry -- they were all there covering a major news story on Fox News, while CNN brought us Anderson and Kathy up in a tree.
And here's Zurawik, the guy who has been calling CNN "our last, best hope for a real news and information channel on cable TV," thinking how impressed I am by Fox's commitment to covering the story and how disgusted I am by CNN.
Cooper and Griffin did discuss the fiscal cliff. She joked about having a Maserati, and wondered how fiscal cliff legislation might affect her.
Ha ha, you ignorant, trashy fool. People were in danger of losing their unemployment benefits. You think there is anything funny about how they feel?
And her pal Cooper laughed at all her stupid jokes Tuesday night. Maybe he thinks people losing benefits their families depend on is funny, too.
I guess he's so cool he doesn't have to cover the news any more. He's living large in D-List Celebrity Land these days with a failed daytime talk show and a weeknight program on CNN that never wins its time period.
(UPDATE: The House did later pass a fiscal cliff package Tuesday night.)