How about the three major cable stations?
The worst. God, that’s tough. I watch O’Reilly, and, you know, he can be so wrong, he can turn reality upside-down with such skill, 180 degrees wrong. But he puts on such a fast show. It’s one of the worst shows in terms of demagoguery, but in terms of, like, pace, it’s one of the best shows.
Hannity & Colmes drives me nuts, but I’ve got to be honest with you: I haven’t seen it for a couple years. In a sense, it’s the absolute worst because of the pure fraud, the fraud in advertising. That’s got to be up there high. I’ll turn it on for two minutes to see if Alan’s doing anything. “Well, Sean — do we have to call names?” Instead of ever countering an idea with an idea. So that’s got to be down there among the worst.
Tucker Carlson used to just rattle my cage. Scarborough used to drive me crazy — just a bad imitator of O’Reilly. And there’s one other I wanted to mention. Oh, let me stop there.
What do you make of the revamped CBS Evening News with Katie Couric so far?
I’ve only seen a few minutes here and there. I’m glad to see changes made to the format, but I can’t trust anything that goes on in corporate TV news today.
You close your book by praising independent media such as Air America Radio and progressive Web sites like MoveOn.org.
Air America gets not so much praise as my being happy that it exists. Other things get praise. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! gets praise.
What’s your next act? Are you going to be part of this new movement?
I would like to be part of the Real News, which I write about in the epilogue. Their goal is to take the model of the Howard Dean campaign and MoveOn.org and see if they can get tens of thousands of people to pay $50 for an independent channel that would give news and commentary that you can’t get in the US. The goal is to eliminate any government money and any corporate money.
My dream has always been to work with a truly independent TV channel that allowed differing views but was focused on journalism and challenging the powers that be, including the economic ones.
Jeff Cohen will appear at Brown University on Wednesday, September 27, at a time and place to be announced. He will appear with Jimmy Tingle at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater, in Somerville, on Thursday, September 28, at 7:30 pm. For more information, go to www.takeonthemedia.org .