24 December 2004 | vertigo_14
A show where even discussion about the weather is partisan.
"Crossfire" is a mind-numbingly poor excuse for political discussion. The show has been on CNN for quite awhile, but the recent hosts (as of 2004) are James Carville and Paul Begala representing the "left" (despite views that are not very progressive) and Robert Novak and Tucker "I wear this bow tie for maximum ass kissing" Carlson representing "the right" (although they tend to lean more toward the extreme right).
The rules are the following: you can't discuss anything, no matter how important, for more than two minutes. (Imagine how much meaningful debate can arise from this). It is a half-hour talk show, and something like a boxing ring bell sounds every time the hosts are supposed to move on to a new subject. Second, you can't do anything or say anything without having a bias position (notice they don't have anyone representing "independents" or "non-partisans"), so every situation is supposed to be clear cut, black and white: either Democratic or Republican in viewpoint. Third, if you're the host, no matter which side you sit on, you have to either pre-apologize for anything you say about another person (extreme political correctness) or you can't directly address the other person (James Carville almost never looks at Novak). And fourth, and this is the most important rule for the show, don't present real or unambiguous facts. That is why any counterargument generalizes about "liberals" or "conservatives" rather than addressing the issue at hand and any legitimate counterarguments. If it were a legitimate debate show, they would ask academics and other "experts" on their shows rather than the usual career politicians and other hacks.
If you have seen the recent documentary, "Outfoxed" and thought FOX was the only problem as far as corporate news networks and their failures to present meaningful political discussion and information rather than partisan bickering and mindless entertainment, then you probably haven't watched CNN, who seems to have taken the cue from FOX. To sum up what a poor mockery this show really is, check out the October 2004 (or November?) show when Jon Stewart was a guest. Shows like these encourage arbitrary extreme partisanship, and are responsible for the extreme competitiveness and polarization of most of the American populace. It doesn't matter what the situation is, what the facts are, shows like these only want you to keep two things in mind: there are two sides (and only two sides) to everything, and there is only one winner.