Wolf Blitzer Humiliated

Wolf Blitzer

According to the Huffington Post, Wolf Blitzer, host of CNN’s The Situation Room completely bombed in a recent episode of Celebrity Jeopardy. He ended up with a total of $-4,600, a rare feat in the history of Jeopardy (I suspect this may be a record in the history of game shows. You can find a video here). He lost out to Andy Richter and Dana Delaney. Does this surprise anyone? Any person who has ever suffered through an episode of Wolf’s program knows that he’s not the brightest bulb. His journalistic skills largely consist of being able to say “situation room” in a melodramatic voice. That’s pretty much it.

It’s interesting to note that Blitzer lost out to Andy Richter, a comedian. According to a recent poll, the most trusted “newsman” in the US is a comedian, Jon Stewart. This may have something to do with the fact that comedians have to figure out how to get people to laugh, which requires thinking. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to be able to say “situation room”.

I remember when I was very young, watching a news program about the relationship between the US and Britain. A woman reporter started the show off by solemnly informing her audience that the US and Britain have been allies “since 1776”. I almost fell off my chair. This was my first inkling that most TV reporters are essentially dumb people. And I know that there are many people who have the same general perception that I have. From Ted Baxter on the old Mary Tyler Moore Show to Kent Brockmann on The Simpsons, the Dumb TV Reporter has become a stock character in American comedy.

I would argue that this is not an accident. Intelligent people who spend all day discussing the news are likely to develop opinions, which may possibly be displeasing to their corporate sponsors. So producers look for people who will swallow whatever nonsense is placed before them. Consider the fact that, during the build-up to the Iraq invasion, no TV reporters questioned the Bush Administration’s absurd claims about “weapons of mass destruction”. (The only exceptions I know of were Bill Moyers and Phil Donahue, both of them marginal figures in the news media.)

With these sorts of people providing us with information, is it any wonder that so many people can’t think clearly about issues such as health care reform?

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