When CNN decided to name its second Republican Party debate the Tea Party Debate, you just knew things were bound to get weird. But in an evening that featured ten minutes worth of heated discussion about the HPV vaccine as the vultures circled newly-crowned frontrunner Rick Perry, one unsettling incident stood out out as the signature moment of the evening. Televised debates rarely veer into such dramatic -- and unsettling -- territory.
CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical question about health care to libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul: say a 30-year-old man gets struck with a catastrophic illness, but has made the choice to not buy healthcare. Who should pay for his care, if he's, say, in a coma?
Harking back to his campaign's themes of personal responsibility and minimal government, Paul started to answer that the man had made a choice to go without healthcare, and it wasn't society's responsibility to foot the bill. "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody" is the basis of a "welfare state," he said, drawing big applause from the crowd.
"But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?" asked Blitzer.
And that's when a significantly smaller portion of the audience started clapping and yelling, "Yeah!" It was hard to tell if it was just a few, very loud people who were rooting for this hypothetical man to die, or a wider portion of the audience, but it was a strange, chilling moment nonetheless. Paul went on to say no, the man should not be left to die, expressing confidence that he would be saved by some combination of volunteerism, churches contributing to the man's care and hospitals treating people for free. But the optics, and audio, of the moment overrode anything else he said.
Check out the video after the jump, and tell us what you think the moment means.
"It's, like, 80,000 people," Samberg said of the dinner. "And it's, like, all famous people. Everyone in Hollywood goes."
"Following Larry is bit like following Frank Sinatra," Morgan said. "But I can do things my way, and by dangerous I kind of mean I like interviews to be theatrical. I like it to be a theater, where two protagonists come in and we have fun and it's probing and challenging, a little bit edgy perhaps, and occasional dangerous, where no one is quite sure what's going to happen next."
Morgan added that Larry King's long-running interview show was also occasionally dangerous:
"Some of Larry's most memorable moments encompassed extreme danger, for instance when Marlon Brando kissed him live on air."
Of course, what really made 'Larry King Live' dangerous -- particularly in its later years -- was the impression the audience got that the host could quite possibly fall asleep at any moment. Which is a dramatic tension that Morgan, 45, will struggle to recreate.
Hosts Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard might have helped, but instead Doug E. Fresh himself came onstage to demonstrate the latest dance craze. And... um, all we can say is that Blitzer tried really hard.
Bill Maher Doubles Down On His Comments That Too Many Babies Named Mohammad Are Being Born in England (VIDEO)
"I don't feel like I have to apologize for being a proud westerner," he told Blitzer. "When I say a westerner, I mean someone who believes in the values that Western people believe in, like a lot of the Muslim world does not."
"I would like to keep these values here, and if Muslim people in societies are having babies at rate at 6 or 8 times what the other people are having ... in 200 or 300 years, if Muhammad is the most popular name now, I don't want England to lose those values."
Maher is well-known critic of all religions, so perhaps that's why these Muslim-specific comments haven't kicked up more of a firestorm. Still, these days it's a getting difficult to keep track of what people of which ideologies are allowed to say what about which people on what television stations.
"I think he's very bright. As a matter of fact, brilliant," Mondale said about Obama. "And he uses these idiot boards to read speeches on television and I think he loses the connection that he needs emotionally with American voters."
"If you're looking at the teleprompter, you're here, you're here, you're here -- and your audience is right there," Mondale continued.
It should be pointed out that Ronald Reagan, who was famous for his ability to connect with voters, relied on a teleprompter almost as much as Obama does. Reagan also famously beat Mondale forty-nine states to one in the 1984 presidential election, so that might be where some of Mondale's disdain for "idiot boards" is coming from.
Couric was practically gushing when she told the story and shared photos. "It looks like two creepy old guys picked up a young girl," joked Jay Leno of the photo of Couric sandwiched between Blitzer and Clinton.
Couric already felt like she was "livin' large" -- and then Jagger strolled in. That was the icing on the cake -- until an awkward moment with the rocker.
CNN has been looking for ways to prop up their sagging ratings in the never-ending cable news wars by becoming a network that actually just delivers news as opposed to "from-the-hip," unsubstantiated opinions, as long as you don't count their constant monitoring of their viewers' Twitter feeds. Apparently they are so desperate for a format change that they have consulted a former ESPN producer to suggest ways to revamp their style.
This actually makes sense. The Situation Room is very political and during the campaign and the election, the ratings were high. We're in a post-election period now and will be for a while.
The CNN idea is to fill the afternoon with more fluff and general interest news, the kind of stuff Rick Sanchez is better suited to handle. He can talk about lists for hours, taking calls, reading Tweets and vamping. The man enjoys the sound of his own voice.
Every section of your TV had been preempted and saturated with coverage of what sheriff's deputies believed to be a runaway balloon that was carrying the life of an innocent boy with it. It even preempted the so-called cable "news" networks that interrupted coverage of the pending health care reform bill. That move only would have made sense if insurance companies refused to cover victims of hot air balloon accidents because they considered "gravity" to be a pre-existing condition.
And the really funny part is now it starts getting weird. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said the family faked the whole thing just so they could get on TV.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|CNN Leaves It There|
The three celebrities who played the first game of this season's tournament were Wolf Blitzer, Dana Delany, and Andy Richer...and Richter won! Actually, it's not even fair to say he "won," he crushed Blizter and Delany. The game was over way before they even got to the Final Jeopardy round. Blitzer didn't even make it to that round (I cringed when he added an "S" to Julia Child's last name because I knew the money would be taken away), but they let him play anyway.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer must be running on Energizer batteries. Between his duties on his weekly The Situation Room program and Sunday's two-hour Late Edition talkfest, Wolf is on the air 17 hours a week. While this makes him the leader in face time over any other television anchor it probably doesn't bode well for his social and family life. Not to mention that he's probably missing the new season of According to Jim. So, the cable news network is doing something to free his schedule up.Sometime in the new year, Wolf will step down from his Late Edition duties and will be replaced by chief political and magic map correspondent John King. The revamped Sunday schedule will begin at 9 a.m., with the first hour dedicated to politics and opinions on the new Obama administration. Later hours will touch on national and world affairs with commentary on current events. And, most likely, John will use the powers of the magic map to make some of the less likable pundits disappear.
Now comes the scandal: they weren't even holograms!
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