In a remarkable turn of non-events, the major cable news stations all declared that there really isn’t any news today so they have nothing meaningful to offer to the public until tomorrow.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin stated, “Hate to say but there’s nothing new to report today to the American public. I mean, we could recycle stories from previous days, focusing just on hyping up outrage and partisan anger but that just wouldn’t be responsible.”
Jeff Zucker, President of CNN expressed similar sentiments, “What kind of a news organization would we be if we beat a dead horse…or a missing jet…day after day, just filling hours with knowingly worthless and melodramatic speculation or repetition? Nope, there’s no new stories today so there’s nothing for us to broadcast. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.”
Fox News President, Roger Ailes, described today this way, “Our headline today is, “Go read a book, nothing to see here!” Ailes shook his head in resignation, “You have days like this in the news business. The first three letters in “news” is “new” and there isn’t anything new today. Just the same stories we’ve already reported on and you don’t want to hear us recycling those into preposterous scandals or simply making up stories that aren’t true just to feed an addiction to anger, that may be what propagandists do but it’s not what genuine news organizations do.”
What’s just as fascinating is what the hosts on these networks are doing to fill time on their shows.
On CNN, Wolf Blitzer used his time on The Situation Room to re-enact the classic movie, “Miracle on 34th Street”, playing the role of Santa Claus and being particularly enthusiastic in the scene where Santa gets bubble gum stuck in his beard.
On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough dedicated his program, Morning Joe, to assembling an Ikea living room set, having an especially difficult time reading the instructions and putting things together properly.
On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly appeared on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, with Tucker Carlson sitting on his knee as they did a faux ventriloquist comedy act. Sean Hannity stopped by, juggling bowling pins, then joined O’Reilly in a rendition of the old Abbott and Costello sketch, “Who’s On First?”.
Back to CNN, Erin Burnett spent her time on her program, Out Front, on the streets of Manhattan pulling pranks on passers by, including having Anderson Cooper dress up as a zombie and asking people casually if they had brains he could eat.
Chris Matthews used his program, Hardball, to host a dance contest between couples made up of GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell dancing against MSNBC host, Ed Schultz and DNC Chairwoman and House Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Priebus and Mitchell received a standing ovation for their seamless tango).
Earlier, on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy led his cohosts in a Jackass-style series of stunts including Brian Kilmeade kicking a football directly into Doocy’s crotch, Clayton Morris launching Anna Koolman into a wall with a catapult and Elisabeth Hasselbeck clamping Tucker Carlson’s head in a waffle iron.
There was snap polling of the regular viewers of each channel which revealed some interesting results. An average of 28% of viewers said they enjoyed the news-less programming, 18% said they did not enjoy it and 52% claimed they hadn’t noticed any difference.