Thursday, January 06, 2005

Debate Shows

Well, I'm not entirely sad to see Crossfire go, of course. It did devolve into something mostly unwatchable. But, it was about the only place on the vast liberal media landscape where partisan lefties actually had a platform. The truth about Crossfire is that in many ways it took all of the worst elements of these types of shows, put them in a blender, and then cut it down to half an hour. The old old old Crossfire (kinsley era), while never a stellar program, was much less explicitly partisan and more educational than the current version. At least as I remember, once upon a time an entire program was often devoted to a single issue, with a single pair of guests, though that changed to two issues at some point. Sure there was some partisan hackery, but the discussion was a bit more in depth. When the Begala/Carville version began it was a breath of fresh air, because the genuine lack of Dem voices on TV combined with the post-9/11 media climate meant that there was no one speaking for "our side." But, the tendency to jam 87 segments into an hour program... and then 87 segments into a half an hour program (oh, and CNN, one reason you're down in the ratings is because you give no thought to West Coast viewers when scheduling your lineup) turned it into a self-parody fast.

There's actually a place for an interesting debate show. Someone should figure out how to make it work. I'm not sad to see Crossfire go, but it really was the only TV platform for the Dems.