If nothing else, Monday night's dueling prime-time addresses to the nation by President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner hopefully woke more Americans up to the fact that we are at an epic moment in the nation's history.
The narcissists and emotional adolescents in Congress and the White House have finally walked us to the edge of the cliff of international disgrace -- the brink of doing something shameful that this nation has never done.
And at this crucial moment when we need the down-the-middle, keen analysis that CNN usually provides, what does the cable channel give us instead? Piers Morgan.
I can't remember the last time I was as angry as I was last night when CNN decided it was going to stick with Mr. America's Got Talent following the words of the leaders of two branches of government who sounded like they were never going to compromise for all the president's phony use of the word Monday night.
I know it was the 9 p.m. time period that usually belongs to Morgan's drippy talk show. But since it wasn't the kind of night when a schmoozy chat with Billy Ray Cyrus was going to cut it, don't you think CNN could have given Morgan the evening off?
After all, he's been pretty busy lately trying to knock down allegations as to what he did or did not have knowledge of while he was editor of the Daily Mirror and/or Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. (That's the same Rupert Murdoch whom Morgan declared the innocent victim of a crazed "witch hunt" last week.)
I am serious, it was ridiculous to have that superb crew of CNN Washington journalists being interviewed by Morgan rather than Wolf Blitzer, who was on hand but forced to play the role of anlayst rather than anchor.
I tuned out when Morgan interrupted David Gergen, one of the savviest analysts in the history of political television, while he was trying to make a point. Have you ever heard Blitzer or John King or any other CNN anchor interrupt Gergen?
Memo to Morgan's producer: Spare me the angry email about the difficulty of interviewing via remote. I've been there, and there is no technological excuse for Morgan stepping all over the words of the folks who actually have some wisdom to share.
Maybe, I should be thankful to CNN.
Normally, I would have stuck with them all night for analysis and context, and gone to bed a better informed citizen at this dark time in our nation's life. But by going with Morgan, CNN drove me to channel hopping. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised by what I found elsewhere.
MSNBC had Lawrence O'Donnell interviewing Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, of Illinois, and they were having a spirited debate about whether or not Obama could legitimately invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan. And you know what? As much as they disagreed and as passionate as they both were, they were respectful of each, and I found it instructive.
It certainly was a far cry from mid-term election night when the Keith Olbermann gang on MSNBC mocked Republicans. Good for O'Donnell -- and good Walsh.
And, of course, Fox News had Ed Henry, whom I wrote about earlier in the day. Read that here.
I loved his post-speech analysis, and I was reminded of how fast, smooth and incisive he can be on the absolute run. It was Henry's first day on the job for Fox as chief White House correspondent, and he was absolutely Mr. Hit-It-And-Get-It.
What I found on MSNBC and Fox made me feel better last night.
Latest David Zurawik
CNN is the A-Team when it comes to overall depth and talent in times of political crisis. But even with an outstanding symphony orchestra, if you hand it over to an inept conductor, don't expect fine music.
- 21st Century Fox
- Rupert Murdoch
- Satellite and Cable Service
- Politics and Government
- America's Got Talent (tv program)
- Talk Shows (genre)
- MSNBC (tv network)
- Fox News Channel
- Republican Party
- Piers Morgan
- Keith Olbermann
- Wolf Blitzer
- Billy Ray Cyrus
- Joe Walsh
- Ronald Reagan
- Barack Obama
- John Boehner