Posted by: Chris | October 27, 2009

What Happened to Johnny Mac?

Not sure how I ended up here, but I found this page of idle speculation from the 2000 campaign incredibly interesting.   I am not talking about the obvious reminder of how close we were to a Gore presidency, but how the McLaughlin Group is cited as one of the big Sunday politics shows and a legitimate source of informed discussion.  I can’t remember the last time I read a horse race type article that even remembered the McLaughlin Group was still on the air, much less quoted it extensively.  What the hell changed between 2000 and now that made everyone forget McLaughlin exists?  Its not like the show was any less absurd back then, as these two snippets attest:

John McLaughlin sees a conspiracy behind the story: Because Bush called the New York Times‘ Adam Clymer an “asshole” on camera several weeks ago, Clymer got the Times to play up the subliminal-message story as revenge….

During his panel’s discussion of the GOP’s allegedly subliminal ad, John McLaughlin has his producers flash “GENIUS” for a split second whenever McLaughlin himself appears on camera.

And its not like our standards have raised all that much, as stuff like this are still the talk of the political gossip pages.  Has the rise of ideological balkanization, via the internet or Fox or wherever really done in the “roundtable chat show” model, as Dan Drezner suggested earlier?  Or is it perhaps a more subtle shift, with Bill O’Maddow and co. vacuuming up all the opinion type viewers during weekday primetime and Sunday segregating solely into Meet the Press clones, with their austere sense of objectivity?  Did the loss of Tony Blankley do in the show for everyone else as much as it did for us (if so, why does Monica Crowley still appearing)?  Has did the novelty of John and Eleanor and Pat yelling at each other somehow diminish markedly over the past eight years?

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