Were the Comas on "All My Children" Realistic?
April 15, 2011

Yesterday, ABC announced the cancellation of two long-running soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live. The cancellations leave only four soap operas scheduled to air on the major networks through the end of the 2011-12 television season. (In case you're curious, the four are Days of Our Lives on NBC, General Hospital on ABC, and The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless on CBS. You're welcome.) In the four decades the two shows have been on the air, they have each produced over 10,000 episodes, including just about every plot device you could think of.

April 07, 2011

The day after I arrived in Chicago to cover the mayoral debate, an Appeals Court removed frontrunner Rahm Emanuel’s name from the ballot. The decision, which reversed findings by the Chicago Elections Board and a Circuit Court judge, ignored more than 150 years of Illinois election law in denying that Emanuel met the residence requirements for a mayoral candidate. Not surprisingly, the ruling drew outrage.

I’ve Sheen Enough
March 02, 2011

As an experiment, two mornings in a row this week, I got up early, turned on the television in my apartment, and flipped through every news show on air. (Well, every show except one; I couldn’t bring myself to watch “Fox & Friends” lest I bump into Sarah Palin.) Almost every channel was covering Charlie Sheen. Each show was either interviewing Sheen, or talking to someone who had recently interviewed Sheen, or discussing Sheen with a medical or Hollywood expert.

Free Association
January 24, 2011

Among the many thoughts I've had about the shooting of those unfortunate people who went to a supermarket on a Saturday morning to meet with their congresswoman, I've been stuck by how hard people have tried to create meaning out of the mayhem. For some observers, things as seemingly insignificant as a birth date—in this case, the birth date of a nine-year-old girl—feel heavy with significance, if only we knew how to interpret them.

The Sexism of 'Morning Joe'
December 13, 2010

One Monday morning in November, according to the admittedly rough transcript provided by the Federal News Service, “Morning Joe,” anchor Joe Scarborough spoke 3,213 words; his co-anchor Mika Brzezinski spoke just 644. Most of her words seemed merely to remind the audience that she was still awake: Yeah. Okay. Yes. No. Maybe. Right. Terrific. Scarborough dominated the meaty segments; Brzezinski piped up mainly during the transitions.

The Second Coming of 1994, by the Numbers
September 07, 2010

National surveys dominated today’s political news, and they made unhappy reading for Democrats. Some of the most interesting findings didn’t get widely reported, however.

Obama And The Lonely Center
September 07, 2010

The most striking theme in today's Washington Post poll is, once again, the extraordinary apathy of the liberal Democratic base. Registered voters basically split on whether they plan to vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the House, with 47% favoring the former and 45% the latter. But among likely voters, the GOP opens up a mammoth 53%-40% advantage. The enthusiasm gap here is a canyon. Here's another interesting finding from the poll, pointing in the same direction.

You Know, Christiane Amanpour Runs a Pretty Good Show
September 01, 2010

As you may recall, ABC's decision to make Christiane Amanpour the host of "This Week" didn't go over so well with a lot of people. Among the criticisms leveled against her: The longtime foreign correspondent lacked a sophisticated grasp of domestic news. This Sunday's broadcast, among others, convinces me (as I always suspected) that they had no idea what they were talking about. It featured a smart, substantive discussion of education reform--of what's been working and what hasn't, and why. It also featured a debate that was sharp, but civil.

The Poetry Of Pete Wehner
August 11, 2010

Readers know that one of my guilty pleasures is a morbid fascination with former Bush administration Minister of Propaganda Pete Wehner. Wehner blogs for Commentary, and his favorite genre of Wehner blog post is the clipped news item portending doom for President Obama and the Democrats, followed by Wehner's cutting remark. Here's an example from today: According to the Associated Press: Victorious Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado says he appreciates Barack Obama’s help in his primary fight, but isn’t sure how big a part the president will play in his fall campaign.

Why Dems Are Happy About the Primaries and I'm Not
August 11, 2010

The early spin on last night's primaries is that it was a good night for the Democrats, largely because Republican voters in four states rallied behind candidates who, in the words of Politico, are "tarnished by scandal, gaffes or some other significant vulnerability." And when you think about the likes of Linda McMahon, the World Wrestling tycoon, running for the Senate from Connecticut, the spin makes a lot of sense. This morning McMahon was on "Good Morning America" and host George Stephanopoulos asked her whether she regretted anything she did during her tenure at WWE.