Have you seen MSNBC’s The Cycle? It is amazing, because the show tries so hard to be “young” and “hip” it is painful to watch. It is like they’re going after the demographic that likes The Young Turks without having ever watched it. “Put some young people on the TV; it will be like a political American Bandstand.” Except it isn’t.
Touré, who hosts the show projects so much anemic middle-of-the-roadness that he seems more like a Young Republican in black face than the edgy Gen-Xer his other work would indicate. Steve Kornacki, one of the liberals on the show, tries hard to imitate a hip Ezra Klein. Unfortunately, he lands the hip but fails miserably on the Klein. Unlike his “both sides now” newspaper writing, when Klein is on MSNBC, he’s at his best: unapologetically liberal. As the other liberal on the show, Krystal Ball tries her best. Unfortunately, she isn’t that liberal, so she comes off as more whiny than progressive.
All of this could be forgiven if it weren’t for the choice of S. E. Cupp to play the part of the conservative on The Cycle. I know that in this modern world, it is easy to equate conservative and stupid or conservative and ignorant or conservative and both. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If I were creating a show where I needed a token conservative, I would try to find one. (Josh Barro would be a great choice!) I wouldn’t just pick any public idiot. But that is what the producers of The Cycle did when they hired S. E. Cupp.
On today’s show, Cupp explained that Biden did pretty well on domestic issues, but embarrassed himself on foreign affairs. As I noted last night during the debate, I thought Ryan embarrassed himself in this area—especially on the issue of Afghanistan. But I understand that Biden wasn’t perfect, especially when explaining the Libyan embassy attacks. But this is not why Cupp thinks Biden “embarrassed” himself. Biden embarrassed himself on the issue of Iran. After all, Martha Raddatz had to “ask” Biden, “You are acting a little bit like [the Iranians] don’t want [a nuclear weapon].” The assumption is that the Iranians are just evil and irrational —the same charges we have heard about America’s enemies for as long as I’ve been alive. These are also the same charges that have proved to be wrong each and every time. And this is what S. E. Cupp knows to be the case and this is her damning indictment of Joe Biden.
Of course, it is exactly because of such ignorant statements that shows like the The Cycle have conservatives on. Liberals won’t say such things. Just the same, they won’t counter them either. Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent article this morning that touched on this subject, Martha Raddatz and the faux objectivity of journalists. Supposedly objective journalists like Raddatz are committed to war with Iran and no liberal pundit is going to point out how off the chart crazy these ideas are:
Note what Raddatz did not ask and never would. Even after both candidates re-affirmed their commitment to attacking Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon (…), there were no questions about whether the US would have the legal or moral right to launch an aggressive attack on Iran. That the US has the right to attack any country it wants is one of those unexamined assumptions in Washington discourse, probably the supreme orthodoxy of the nation’s “foreign policy community”.
The Cycle is a much more dangerous show than Fox News’ The Five. Whereas The Five is supposed to be crazy conservative and is, The Cycle is supposed to be at least somewhat liberal but isn’t. Instead, it provides a venue for crazy conservative talking points to be spouted without any counter. But I don’t suppose it matters, because in addition to everything else, The Cycle is boring. I don’t think it will be long for the TV machine.