Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Cable news revealed, reproached

After another week of research, it’s become clear that cable news is an art form that is one part comedy and two parts tragedy. It is a land where Larry King can be considered the entertainment guy, a land where cutting corners means we’re subjected to the same creepy 20-second Anna Nicole Smith b-roll for hours on end, where Nancy Grace causes the distressed mothers of missing children to commit suicide and gloats about it later, and where the graphics are cheesy and the anchor hair is always perfectly stiff and ready for action.

As part of The Badger Herald’s continued effort to find the perfect cable infotainment show for college students, I am proud to present The Urban Correspondent’s Comprehensive Guide to Primetime Cable News.



CNN: “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”

Between Wolf Blitzer’s yelling, his 4-foot-9-inch frame, the giant TV screens that surround him at all times and Jack Cafferty’s incomprehensible muttering, this show is akin to being trapped in a $2 billion carnival fun house. Blitzer’s concerted efforts to report the news in a comprehensive, fast-paced format are consistently interrupted by Jack Cafferty, who, based on empirical evidence, is Wolf Blitzer’s crazy uncle.

Despite its foibles, you would be hard-pressed to make an argument that cable news’ record holder for consecutive starts, Wolf “Iron Man” Blitzer, doesn’t host one of the best shows on cable.

Fox News: “Your World With Neil Cavuto”

This financial analyst is neither the kind of guy you want to drink a beer with nor get financial advice from.

MSNBC: “Hardball with Chris Matthews”

Who else is wondering how many times he has hosted this show shit-faced drunk? In this MSNBC staple, “forever-wired” Chris Matthews asks blunt questions, laughs obnoxiously and scarfs down scalloped potatoes, all in an attempt to reduce hapless guests to tears. But if you’re new to the world of insider politics, this show will be akin to jumping into the deep end before your first swimming lesson.

Early Evening

MSNBC: “Race For The White House with David Gregory”

Even if you never watch a second of this show, do yourself a favor and tune in at 5 p.m. for the opening video. It features the 6-foot-5-inch NBC White House correspondent looking trendy, hip and cool while dodging a pesky red and blue graphic that doesn’t make any more sense than my description of it.

This replacement for canceled cult classic “Tucker” features David Gregory’s massive head floating in the middle of four sleep-deprived analysts reciting everything they’ve said for the past two months. The disorienting format of “Race for the White House” can only be compared to a dream sequence from The Brady Bunch.

On the bright side, Air America host Rachel Maddow’s ongoing feud with former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan (the guy all those old people in Florida accidentally voted for) provide much-needed comic relief.

Note to NBC: Just because you can put five people in tiny boxes on my screen doesn’t mean I’ll care. For the love of God, bring back that lovable oaf Tucker Carlson.

FOX News: “Special Report with Brit Hume”

On one hand, I’m pretty sure he sold his soul for that dilapidated patch of anchor hair. On the other hand, this show is sure to clear up your insomnia. His droning voice is like white noise or an ocean soundtrack.

CNN: “Lou Dobbs Tonight”

Illegal immigration is bad. If you disagree, don’t watch this show. If you agree and want your beliefs reaffirmed by a team of two-bit reporters and an old man, welcome to heaven.

Main Events

Fox News: “The O’Reilly Factor”

The ultimate guilty pleasure. You will yell, throw falafels at your TV set (Google it) and turn the channel during one of his painfully reasoned arguments. But watch your hand as it inches toward the remote, and you’ll realize it’s like watching a train wreck where the conductors somehow put the engines in reverse and slam into each other again and again.

But beware — long-term use of the “Factor” can lead to irreversible brain damage. The first symptoms will have something to do with a “War on Christmas.”

CNN: “Anderson Cooper 360”

If you look deep enough into Cooper’s piercing blue eyes, you’ll regain consciousness an hour later with a hand down your jeans. Cooper prides himself on firsthand reporting, donning stereotypical journalist vests and carrying CNN’s after-dark operation.

MSNBC: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”

It’s like “SportsCenter” — but with news! This liberal former sports host touts perfect anchor hair and unbridled disdain for celebrities. Still, researchers haven’t been able to determine why the lead story on “Countdown” is always No. 5, while the Britney Spears coverage producers “force” on Olbermann is No. 1. I, for one, believe Olbermann’s new career is research for his upcoming book, “Why People with Discernable Talent Shouldn’t Do Cable News.” Tim Russert wrote the foreword.

Fox News: “Hannity and Colmes”

One is a conservative, and the other is a doormat. If you can’t get enough of your aunts and uncles yelling during Thanksgiving, break out that leftover turkey.

Bassey Etim ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science and journalism. He refuses to review Dan Abrams’ awful show, “Verdict,” until Abrams stops making on-screen graphics with his Etch-a-Sketch. And that Anderson Cooper thing was totally not about me. Totally.

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