Over time, television watching has changed styles in this house. We used to run to the television at 7:00 pm to watch Olbermann. This summer, though, we've had other things going on and we wanted to wait till it got dark at 9, so we've been recording it for later. I don't think I can go back to time-based viewing of an event, because it's just too nice to skip past all the commercials, and avoid the parts of a show (particularly one supposed to be *news*, and I say that loosely) that suck. I have no sense of obligation to watch right-wingers just so I can be informed of what they're saying via television. I mean, what in the heck do you MISS if you don't watch, for example, Ann Coulter? Nothing except a woman with a screw loose but an uncanny ability to ratchet up a tempest so she can sell more books.
I didn't watch Hardball at all on Tuesday, didn't miss it. Saw John Edwards on it last night and thought he handled himself very well, but I have two observations about this whole thing. First up, his campaign sure seems to be profiting, AS WELL, from Ann Coulter-Edwards said it was a matter of people standing up and joining him... but it's not *merely* standing up and joining him, it's giving him MONEY. That takes it from a matter of principle to a matter of opportunism. Second, there's a political principle that says you don't put yourself on the same level as those you want to supercede. Ann Coulter is the equivalent of the nasty centipede that you found sneaking into your house in a dark corner, that you quickly get OUT of your house or you ignore till you can. I'm glad Edwards fought back against the hateful things Coulter says, but wish he had not done it on the show that CHOSE to bring her on. Because, third, that was Matthew's opportunism, a way to continue to milk the situation for even MORE ratings. When Matthews asked his *hard-hitting* questions about Coulter's nasty comments, he didn't, um, slam *himself* for bringing her on in the first place and giving her an HOUR to speak. Edwards rebuttal puts him on the same playing field as Coulter, and, while I definitely think it was good for him to answer back, it would have been, in my opinion, MORE effective to do it from a distance or, say, on CNN, etc where he wasn't drawn into the hornet's nest setup.
Back to my original premise about viewing habits changing (for the better) due to being able to easily watch shows on demand, and selectively. I have Fox News on cable entirely blocked, so it doesn't even appear in the channel listing. Since I record shows now before watching, I can skip shows entirely (when I find out, for example, that Hardball is going to give Looney Tunes an entire hour to spew hate), or, in the case of other shows, skip past people who I knew are Republican Talking Points parrots (like, when I see that cross-eyed guy who used to work for Cheney and is now apparently THE token Republican black on Hardball, I can avoid him.)Naturally, this makes the shows much, much shorter, but I take away from it what I want.
More than that. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. I haven't even once, seen the O'Reilly Factor (in fact, I've seen MORE of it on Olbermann by his showing clips from it). Why should I watch? Most *news* doesn't bother to regularly put on anyone I'd like to hear that is even close to my viewpoint-it's more like they think the country is made up, on the Democrat side, of people who trend centrist. I don't even know if that's true, I just know it's not true *for me*.
I have read that shows hate the DVR because it's almost impossible to get accurate ratings for who is watching the show, thus how do you appease the advertisers. And yes, if I go to a show later and skip the ads, and avoid the parts with talking heads that are spouting propaganda, even if I were on Nielson ratings, how can one measure the viewing time and worth of the program? But I love the DVR for the very reasons that advertisers dislike, and enjoy the flexibility to skip hateful people.
See, it isn't that Hardball, or any other *news* show, is giving air time to this woman. Of course they are because they're all prosties for ratings. And, at least for me, because sometimes there is someone speaking that I want to hear, I refuse to block it out entirely from my channel. I'm not getting measured in Nielson, so boycotting the show one way or the other makes no difference... except for my own head. And because nowadays one can selectively see only the good parts, there's no reason to complain about Ann Coulter and her ilk-unless one just wants to sit down and watch her SO one can bitch. And how is that, albeit in a different venue, much different than watching E!?