This week’s college visit tour brought us to the western Philly suburbs, a place that has divided political loyalties. For the last 10 years, the area has been represented by a Republican in the House. In 2016, the district gave the edge to Hillary Clinton but in 2012, they voted for Mitt Romney. So the neighborhood is divided and that seemed to be reflected in the hotel lobby on Wednesday morning, where I went to read and drink my morning coffee while JT slept the sleep of the teenage boy. Someone at the hotel had turned the telly to the Fox and Friends morning news show.
I rarely watch TV news anymore, and certainly not the morning programs. Fox and Friends was eye-opening, and not in a good way.
As I was reading Vox and Cook Political Report analysis of Tuesday’s special elections in Georgia and South Carolina, where Republicans prevailed, the Fox crew was gloating over the Georgia victory and talking up the Trump White House. They had a British-accented guest, whose name I never caught, give his take on America (Trump is great!), Sarah Huckabee from the White House, ostensibly on to discuss the coming communication shake-up in the White House. That discussion got nowhere as she offered the message of the day: Trump is great. We all chewed on that good news for a bit. Next up was a round table discussion between the hosts about Trump’s upcoming trip to Iowa where he will rally the red-masses and talk up his #maga message.
At that point, I couldn’t take it anymore. Though I contemplated smashing in the TV, I instead opted to return to my room. My take away is that we are not a nation of thinkers and that’s reflected in our morning news, which is a vapid neverland. The deeper question is whether TV news drives the useless discourse or reflects a disengaged, thoughtless citizenry.
Neither question seems particularly hopeful.