Damn this endless flood of September deadlines. Filed a story for CP today ranting about the current sorry state of elections and political manipulation on television. After I pressed send, I went upstairs, made lunch, and caught up with what I had PVR'd the night before, Wednesday night's episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
The bloody Scott said it better and said it with passion. Craig Ferguson was good and angry last night, teeing off on what passes these days for U.S. election coverage. Check it out below:
Ferguson's main point (he had several of them) was that coverage of this U.S. presidential election is going all to hell. "This is a very important election but you would not know it by the way it was being covered," he said. The petty fascination with Sen. Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment seemed to be the last straw for the Scottish-born host, who became an American citizen earlier this year. "The way this election is being covered, it's like it is TMZ or something," he said. "It's like they're covering Paris and Nicole."
As Ferguson would say, "I KNOW!" The host of CBS's Late Late Show went on to say the all-news networks were embarrassing themselves with their rigid biases. No wonder kids were turning to Jon Stewart to get the real goods on politics. "If Walter Cronkite could see these brain dead morons yapping about flag pins and hair styles he'd turn over in his grave," said Ferguson, "which is weird, because Cronkite's alive and well and he lives in Martha's Vinyard."
Cronkite, 91, is indeed alive and well and even blogs occasionally on The Huffington Post.
Ferguson, who, like his boss, David Letterman, dares to walk that tightrope between deadly serious and outright hilarious, also chastised younger voters for not getting out and exercising their democratic duty.
"If you can't get your hands out of your Cheetos," Ferguson ranted, "don't blame me when [American Idol loser] Sanjaya gets elected."
He also mocked the whole "Rock the Vote" push to get kids to the polls, pointing out that "Puff Diddily" ran that last campaign and then apparently didn't even bother to vote himself. "He probably forgot what name he was registered under," said Ferguson.
The pre-taped outburst aired last night immediately following a visit by candidate Obama to Letterman's show. It made for a smart and memorable one-two punch, the kind of critical political discourse many viewers find wanting these days.
Ferguson, who hosted this year's White House correspondent's dinner, has not been afraid to ditch the jokes and speak his mind in the past, but becoming a U.S. citizen has clearly emboldened him to address issues and enter debates he might have once sat out. Last night's performance was dazzling, a two-fisted tug to the head and the heart.
"Listen, I'm an American," he said, reminding viewers at home and in the studio that there are soldiers representing the U.S. fighting and dying in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "If you don't vote, you're a moron."
His one hope? That "the American people are smarter than the media that are meant to be serving them at this time." Amen to that, and that goes double for the Canadian electorate.