If Books Could Kill

Pundit Portraits: Kathleen Parker and Chris Cillizza [TEASER]

November 28, 2023
If Books Could Kill
Pundit Portraits: Kathleen Parker and Chris Cillizza [TEASER]
Show Notes Transcript

Peter: Michael. 


Michael: Peter. 


Peter: What do you know about political pundits? 


Michael:
All I know is that the only job easier than their job is doing a podcast about political pundits. 

 

[theme]


Peter:
So, we were bouncing around premium content-


Michael: Cool.


Peter: -For our dedicated listeners, our paying customers. 


Michael:
Hello. 


Peter:
We are at the end of the day, a media criticism podcast that has sort of taken a firm position against opinion columnists.


Michael:  And anti-pundit position, anti-pundit stance. 


Peter:
And so, what better way to highlight that stance and dig in, than to have a series where we explain some to each other and to our audience. 


Michael:
 Hmm-mm. Where we introduce each other to specific pundits and their punditry. 


Peter:
Yeah, I especially because I think a lot of these people sort of blend together in my mind. Where I have a sense that if I hear a name, "Oh, that's a dummy." 


Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs]


Peter: But I couldn't quite pin specific opinions on them. 


Michael:
Also, I think there's something interesting with punditry and maybe with everybody on the internet, where it's like they just come to you fully formed. You're like, "This is just a political pundit whose views I'm hearing." And oftentimes you don't know, like, "Wait, who is this person? "


Peter: Yeah.


Michael: I feel like this is also an opportunity to go into the background of some of these people. 


Peter:
Yeah. Although I won't be doing that too much. 


Michael:
Okay.


[laughter]


I was sub-tweeting my own segment, but maybe we're not going to do that for yours. 


Peter: Well, my pundit portrait is Kathleen Parker, Columnist for The Washington Post, who is pretty distinctly uninteresting in terms of her history. 


Michael:
Oh okay, just like, as a person. 


Peter:
Now, what do you know about Kathleen Parker? 


Michael:
I literally know nothing. You said you wanted to start this series with some more obscure pundits, and like this is as obscure as it gets, I literally know her name and where she works, that's it. 


Peter:
Yeah, she's at the Post. She's been a columnist since 1987. She started off with the Orlando Sentinel, eventually makes her way to The Post, where she remains because that's the kind of job you get and you die with. It's like a Supreme Court appointment. 


Michael:
It is really weird to me, that this is just background noise of these fucking columnists that they just have their jobs for life. 


Peter:
And you will see as we go through some of her greatest hits. It doesn't matter how wrong you are-. 


Michael: Yes.


Peter: -If, anything being wrong about a past column, that's a new column. 


Michael:
Yeah, yeah.


[laughter]


Peter:
So, she's now like just over 70 years old. So, has spent like half of her life as an opinion columnist in major newspapers. And you can see the effects of that on her brain. She's mostly just like a generic moderate Republican, which I guess is sort of like the most common kind of opinion columnist. She is really just sort of a window into the politics of insulated, wealthy suburban Republicans. I have selected some writings of hers to show you it's possible that when I send you these columns, you will remember it. 


Michael:
I just love that the editors of these pages are like, "We've heard from lots of people who are correct about things, but what about balance? What about the people who are incorrect all the time?" 


Peter: [Laughs] Well, that's what's great about the selection that I'm going to show you, because Parker does have plenty of just dumb, fluffy columns in the same way that most columnists do. She's very weird about race in like a very conventional older white person way. 


Michael: Black, white, or purple. 


Peter:
But what I think sets her apart a little bit is her willingness to make very bold and specific predictions leading to her being proven very wrong repeatedly and publicly for years on end. I'm going to drop a piece that was published by her on November 4th, 2016. 


Michael: Okay. Oh, nice. [laughs] 


Peter: Go ahead and read me that headline if you will. 


Michael:
It says, "Calm down, we'll be fine no matter who wins." And it's a photo of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 


Peter:
This is right before the election, and she's just being like "Can you all relax?" 


Michael:
Everyone chillout, everything's basically the same, nothing matters, 


Peter: She says, "As November 9th dawns, Americans are sure to be mad as hell. Those happy with the victor will be re-angry soon enough when they realize they won't be getting what they were promised, this is the good news. Thanks to the brilliance of our tripartite government, nobody gets to be a dictator-


Michael:
Hell yeah. 


Peter:
-And despite what nearly everyone seems to believe, our 'broken government' works pretty well most of the time." 


Michael:
I love that, it's like, "I've dedicated my life to political punditry, and also politics doesn't really matter you guys." 


Peter:
I'm going to send you a specific excerpt. 


Michael: I like that. Mine is like this kind of three-dimensional tragic figure, and yours is just like a one-dimensional dunk fest- 


[laughter] 


Michael: -like how much this lady sucks.


Peter:
If you go into a pundit portrait looking for three-dimensional characters, you not going to find that many.


Michael: I misunderstood the brief potentially.


[laughter]


Okay she says, "If Trump wins, he’ll be held more or less in check by the House and Senate because that’s the way our system of government is set up. Not even Republicans are eager to follow Trump’s lead. There won’t be a wall. He won’t impose any religion-based immigration restrictions, because even Trump isn’t that lame-brained. He’ll dress up and behave at state dinners and be funny when called upon. He’ll even invite the media to the White House holiday party. He won’t nuke Iran for rude gestures. He won’t assault women. He and Vladimir Putin will hate each other, respectfully." 


Holy shit. This is like eight for ten or just, like, wrong predictions. 


Peter: [laughs] How? Like you could flip 100 coins and never. 


Michael:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Peter: You know what I mean? This is just an insane series of really terrible predictions, and they don't make sense. Like, there won't be a wall. 


Michael:
There already is a wall. 


Peter:
There already is a wall and that was like big part of like the serious people critique of Trump "He won't impose any religion-based immigration restrictions because even Trump isn't that lame brained." What is that supposed to mean? When this was like one of his primary campaign promises, the Muslim ban. 


Michael:
He literally--."The nuking Iran" is the only one that she was right about. All the other ones are arguably--. Like, she says, "He and Vladimir Putin will hate each other." That's not really true. I mean, I guess he didn't assault women in the White House that we know of, but we have--. He assaulted, it appears, every other woman he's interacted with. 


Peter:
I love that. That is like, "Don't worry, Donald Trump won't assault women in the White House." I wasn't particularly worried about that, I guess. 


Michael: Yeah. It's not the specific location of the assaulting that bothers me, yeah. 


Peter: This is what makes pundits so special. They can just be outrageously bad at their job. Not just in view of their bosses, but in public, in view of everyone. 


Michael:
This is cannibalizing, my little pundit section. But there's also the thing of why is it their job to predict stuff? It's like, "I think this person's going to win or this is what's going to happen." Well, why don't we just wait and see what happens? The whole project of people thinking that their job is to tell people what's going to happen is just very odd to me. 


Peter:
This reminds me of a I'm sorry to say something that you will relate to so little, but this reminds me of a football game preshow when the talking head football analysts make their predictions about who's going to win. And you might think about it rationally and be like "Well, why the fuck are we even listening to this? The game is about to happen. The game is about to happen, let's watch the game." But of course, what's actually happening is that they are just doing it as entertainment. 



Michael: Every relationship I have with a straight person eventually culminates and them explaining sports commentary to me. 


Peter:
Here's how I've explained sports to straight women. I will ask if they do straight women stuff, like watch Bravo, 


Michael: Okay.


Peter: Do they talk about Bravo shows with their friends? Maybe like the bachelor. 


Michael:
Yeah. 


Peter:
The only difference between straight men and straight women in this regard is that I think you can get most straight women to admit that stuff is stupid. 


Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs] 


Peter: Whereas men will try to convince you forever that there is something about sports that is somehow important. 


Michael:
It is 08:45 AM, and I've watched three makeup tutorials, so I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I don't also imbibe frivolous commentary. 


Peter:
I think that is sort of quintessential Kathleen Parker. And the only thing I can say in her favor here is that in 2020, she apologized for this. 


[laughs]


Michael:
Oh, did she? 


Peter:
Yeah.


Michael: Okay. 


Peter: [laughs] She was like, "Okay, look, I got it wrong." Although what she sort of focused on was like, "Look, he has sort of eroded and undermined these very important institutional norms." And she was also very critical of his coronavirus response. And so, she's like, "Okay, sorry, I got that wrong." She wasn't like, "Oh, by the way, he did in fact take steps to ban Muslims from entering the country." 


Michael: Right. Like sentence by sentence, yeah. 


Peter: Right. Like, the actual things that she got materially incorrect, she doesn't really address. 


Michael:
I also think it's very funny with Trump specifically too, that it's like the actual pundit view over and over again is like, "Yeah, he says he'll do a bunch of authoritarian stuff," but it's not going to happen. Shouldn't the fact that he's saying authoritarian stuff constantly, that seems like a really big deal. We haven't had that before. 


Peter:
How can you tell me that bad things are going to happen when a bad thing has never happened to me in my entire life? 


Michael:
Yeah, exactly. [laughs] 


Peter:
Let's step forward a couple of years. September 18th, 2018. Kathleen drops a heater. This is during the Brett Kavanaugh nomination drama. He's in the midst of his confirmation hearings, and they have been sort of derailed by a very credible, very detailed accusation of sexual assault made by Professor Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh, of course, denies the accusation. And then before either Ford or Kavanaugh so much as testified, we get this piece, which I'm going to send you. 


Michael:
Oh, no. It says, "Is there a Kavanaugh doppelganger?" Was this fucking deranged thing where it's like she misidentified someone who was also there, and it was based on Google Street View analysis. 


Peter: That's the Ed Whelan spinoff from this op-ed, that happens after. 


Michael: Okay.


Peter: But this is basically Kathleen doing, I don't want to call it analysis, it's something less than that. But Kathleen is trying to square two things in her brain. One, she is not a psycho on sexual assault issues generally, so when she hears an accusation, she doesn't think like, "Oh, this is fraudulent," she believes her. But Kavanaugh has put out a statement denying that it happened. And Kathleen Parker is a Republican who likes Brett Kavanaugh. 


Michael:
Right, but also, she wants him to get confirmed so.


Peter:
How can you hold both of these thoughts at once? And where she lands is, "What if it wasn't Kavanaugh, but someone who looked like him?" 


Michael: So, she just like made this up?


Peter: This is made up. Here's a quote "As crazy as this sounds, it wouldn't be unheard of. And given the high regard in which Kavanaugh has been held throughout his life, including during high school, it would make the most sense. Could there be a Kavanaugh doppelganger?" The most sense, Michael, the most sense. 


Michael:
I love thinking of all news events as basically like a short story prompt, just like well what if? 


Peter:
Kathleen continues. "Could there have been another Kavanaugh-ish looking teen at the House that night who might have attacked Ford?" 


Michael:
You've got to be kidding me. 


Peter:
"Cases of mistaken identity are far from rare. People with the same name are often confused, as was the case with Ford herself. On Monday, Drudge Report tweeted a link to an article on another site that seemed intended to discredit her with negative comments by her former students, but it turned out that the reviews pertained to another California professor named Christine Ford." 


Michael:
Wait, what? This has nothing to do with anything. Mistaking someone's name is not the same as mistaking someone's appearance. 


Peter:
You have to really think about this, because this is an incredible feat of reasoning. The Drudge Report, of course, essentially a far-right gossip blog that is a one hit wonder. They broke the Lewinsky scandal. So once these accusations were public, they try to smear Professor Ford, but they misfire and they end up smearing some other random professor who has a similar name. Parker is using this as evidence against the veracity of Ford's testimony, when what it actually is evidence that people on the right were engaged in like a shameless effort to discredit Professor Ford. An effort that Parker is participating in right now. 


Michael:
Yeah, she's now joining this effort. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [laughs] 


Peter:
She goes on to talk about how in the 1930s, John Dillinger famously had a doppelganger who was arrested multiple times. 


Michael:
What? 


Peter: It's literally like well what if she was tripping on acid? fuck it. Let's just keep throwing out shit that could possibly explain this. 


Michael:
Yeah, what if she's a Russian spy? Fuck it. 


Peter:
All this is an attempt to moderate claims that she's lying. It's like, Oo, you actually don't need to believe that she's lying or crazy or power hungry or whatever. We can sort of thread that needle and just say that she's mistaken. But the outcome is the same, we're still protecting our boy. 


Michael:
Right. As in all of these things, the real problem is with the editors. The fact that people looked at this and were like, Yes, yes, let's put this in one of the nation's most prestigious newspapers just fully just like wish casting of like this might have happened. It's wild that no one-- I mean, this is always my fucking issue with these columnists is that no one is like, "Hey, sorry, we really need some actual basis for this." They're like, "Well, you're a columnist with lifetime tenure." 


Peter:
The basis is that Brett Kavanaugh denied it. [laughter] I'm now going to send you the closing paragraph. 


Michael:
Wait, I know, I was just about to Google and find the actual text of this because I'm like, there's a little part of me that's like this can't really be what she's doing. It can't actually be this bad. 


Peter:
Trust me. Trust me. 


Michael: Okay. She says, "Thus giving both the benefit of the doubt. It seems possible to believe both that Ford was assaulted just as she's described, and also that Kavanaugh didn't do it. In a case without evidence, witnesses, or corroboration, mistaken identity would provide a welcome resolution to this terrible riddle, anyone?"  [laughter] I love that she ends like, is this anything?


Peter: Cool rule of thumb. When you have to end a column by saying "Anyone," it's probably best to just not publish that column. What this column should actually be titled is, like, "How I Sleep at night while still supporting Brett Kavanaugh." She says, okay, "A case of mistaken identity would provide a welcome resolution to this terrible riddle." What's the riddle? 


Michael:
Yeah, the riddle is just they can't both be lying, but men lie about sexually assaulting women all the fucking time. 


Peter:
I love that what she's sort of implying almost is an alternate reality where Kavanaugh immediately confesses.


Michael: it's also weird, it's like she's doing this as if Blasey Ford was assaulted in a crowded subway car, but she was in a small group. It was like a social event where she knew who was there. It was a very finite number of people. 


Peter:
And she obviously feels confident enough that years later, she stood up knowing that it would ruin her reputation and for those who aren't aware, she tried to keep her identity private in this because she knew she was going to get dragged in the mud, which of course she was. And then ultimately, she got up there and testified. That's how confident she felt. I know that people on the right sort of imagine that there are rewards for people who accuse powerful men of sexual assault, but of course the opposite is true. That's all incredibly strong evidence that she's confident about his identity. And Kathleen Parker just can't hold those two thoughts at once. She needs to be able to support Brett Kavanaugh and so she's just working her way there without going off the deep end like Matt Drudge. 


Michael:
This is me continuing to follow Azealia Banks on Instagram. I don't want to like her, but I still like her. 


Peter:
[Laughs] She's not always right, but when she's right Uff. 


Michael: 
Oh, I know. Fair enough Azealia. 


Peter:
[laughs] There's just so much going on, like complete speculation being published as like a plausible theory. The theory itself being a way for her to reassure herself that it's okay to support this.  And we are now-- and like on top of that, you get in this sort of implicit discrediting of a sexual assault victim. 


Michael:
It's also an acknowledgement that Kavanaugh is basically just like a generic white guy. She's like, "Hey everyone kind of looks like this fucking guy." 


Peter:
That is the strongest part of the argument you know 


Michael:
Just like replacement level. 


Peter:
You could walk multiple Brett Kavanaugh's by someone on the sidewalk, like one after another, and they wouldn't notice that it was weird. 


There is one more article I want to discuss. This one is actually from a couple of months before the Kavanaugh won. This is July 3rd, 2018. As she's writing this, Anthony Kennedy has stepped down from the Supreme Court and he's going to be replaced by Trump. Brett Kavanaugh is the likely candidate, although there's been no investigation, no opposition research onto him or anything. So, we're just sort of in the early phases here. And she publishes this heater. 


Michael:
Oh, yeah, classic stuff. She says, "Calm down. Roe V. Wade isn't going anywhere." God, there were so many of these Peter, Jesus Christ. 


Peter:
This is one of the most prominent of this type. But first, does that headline read familiar to you? 


Michael:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah calm down. [laughs] 


Peter:
This is like the tactic that angry guys use when they're in a fight with their wives. 


Michael:
Is this a thing like Roberts won't destroy the reputation of the Supreme Court or whatever? 


Peter:
It's almost-- it's less sophisticated than that. Here's what's going on here, big picture. Anthony Kennedy was generally considered the fifth vote for Roe V. Wade. He was a supporter of it. And so, he's stepping down. He's going to be replaced by Trump. Several legal analysts, notably Jeffrey Toobin, flagged the distinct possibility that Roe V. Wade was going to be overturned. She says, "What new justice would want to be that man or woman who forevermore would be credited with upending settled law and causing massive societal upheaval?" 


Michael:
What, they would get more fishing trips to Wisconsin or whatever the fuck Clarence Thomas is doing? Why would someone not want to do that? 


Peter:
She says, "Only Clarence Thomas would likely vote to overturn Roe V. Wade." Swing and a miss. 


Michael:
Oh, yeah that's rough, that's rough. 


Peter:
This is someone who, in 2018, thought that Sam Alito was a vote to uphold Roe V. Wade. 


Michael:
Sam Alito has six Breitbart tabs open in his browser right now. Like how can you look at this guy and be like, "No, no, he's a lock" yeah. 


Peter:
Okay, I'm going to send you another key paragraph here. 


Michael:
Oh my god. She says, "Many Americans, including some conservatives, would rather Trump not have access to the employee suggestion box, much less the Supreme Court. Then again, Gorsuch, whom he nominated upon taking office is hardly a radical wing nut. And though true that Trump promised during his campaign to select justices who would send abortion back to the States, he doesn't actually get to dictate how they rule." 


Oh, this is again like, although he says explicitly, he wants to overturn Roe V. Wade, he's not going to overturn Roe V. Wade.  [laughs] 


Peter:
Yeah, that's why I like this paragraph so much, because once again, Donald Trump is saying something very specific. I'm going to select justices that will overturn Roe V. Wade. And she's like, no. 


Michael:
She says he doesn't get to dictate how they rule, which is true, but he does get to choose the justices, whether or not they would rule to overturn Roe V. Wade is the litmus test for choosing them. So, it's a distinction without a difference. 


Peter:
So, there were columns, including one in the Washington Post itself, that were like, "Let's take a quick review of who was wrong about Roe V. Wade." They call out Kathleen Parker herself, and they contact her and they say, "Do you stand by it?" And she says, and I "100% at the time it was written, it was accurate. It was on the nose." 


Michael: 
What? The thing is I can see standing by a wrong prediction if you're talking about some sort of act of God. I thought the next Marvel movie would make a billion dollars but then the Coronavirus pandemic happened and nobody went to movies for two years. Something like that, like based on the information I had, I made the correct prediction, but that's not the case here. She had the previous decisions of these specific Supreme Court justices to go on, and she just got it wrong. 


Peter:
At the time that I said that you would not be stabbed, the knife wielding maniac was 15 feet away from you. Here's the kicker if you're ready for this one, "Had the jackals of the abortion rights movement not protested at Kavanaugh's House, Parker said he might well have switched sides in that case" 


Michael:
Oh, fuck off. So, it's the problem of the leftists. 


Peter:
So, not only was I not wrong, but to the extent I was wrong, it's sort of your fault for being mean to Brett Kavanaugh, who, by the way just happens to look like the guy who did a sexual assault back in 1982. 


Michael: 
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Maybe they didn't even protest in front of his house. Maybe it was just a guy that looked like him. Kathleen, follow it. Follow it through. 


Peter: [laughs]
That is sort of a rundown of my quintessential Kathleen Parker columns. I do want to be clear that although these are three of her most aggressively incorrect columns, she does have the sort of dumb bullshit that every other columnist does, too. And I'm just going to rattle off some headlines to give you a good sense. These are all from this year. First, a little crossover with a previous premium episode of ours. "Bud Light started a fight, it was bound to lose" subheading, "In a time of culturally encouraged identity confusion and gender fluidity, Anheuser-Busch tried to exploit a 26-year-old actress on TikTok, shame on them." 


Michael:
Oh, my God. That's again, the thing where she's trying not to be like out and out transphobic while defending transphobes and echoing a bunch of transphobic talking points. 


Peter:
All Bud Light did was partner up for an Instagram promo with a trans influencer. Kathleen Parker says that is exploiting a 26-year-old actress. How is that exploit? It's literally giving her money in exchange for the services.


Michael:
Just giving her money to do ads. This is a normal.


Peter: And I promise that is the last one that'll make you angry. The rest of them are just dumb. "Dressing down for the Senate is just bad manners." 


Michael:
Oh, my fucking, I may have read this one. 


Peter:
Yeah. This, of course, is just about Senator Fetterman subheading, "Senators should no more come to the chamber wearing a jogging suit than they should wear a tuxedo to play tennis." 


Michael:
What would she have said at your wedding, Peter? You came out in the tracksuit, [crosstalk and laughter] egregious.  


Peter:
That was the only reason I didn't invite her. Okay, some more headlines, "Why I ordered 200 incandescent light bulbs." And that's just a story about how she likes incandescent light bulbs. 


Michael:
What? Okay, that one I'm actually I'll give her a pass when they're dumb but not harmful, just like you know what? I've had a Kathleen. 


Peter:
Here's one I like, "Want to be happy? then don't be a lawyer." 


Michael:
Ooh that's true, Peter. 


Peter:
I mean, that's definitely true. 


Michael:
She could go on and fight for.


Peter:
Just a full column about a poll of lawyers that says that we're sad, which, of course, there's like 100 of those published every year. The real superheroes of TV, the makeup artists, that's just about makeup artists. 


Michael:
Okay, maybe we're watching the same tutorials. 


Peter:
That's really all I have for Kathleen Parker. I feel like she is very emblematic of-- a type of very insulated, rich, white person, like, sort of moderately reactionary. On the other hand, not totally nuts. She was very pro mask and wrote a lot about that during COVID and was very critical of Trump's response. But on the other hand, she will never get behind trans rights. Whenever partisan politics come to the front, she's pretty distinctly Republican. 


Michael:
And this thing of blaming left wing activists for basically everything that the right wing does. I feel like this is another very common trope in these columns. 


Peter:
And I think a lot of what makes her so shitty is that a lot of what she writes about when she really gets into substantive issues is just sort of like, "Oh, it's not so bad." 


Michael:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  


Peter:
And I think that's just a classic privileged person sort of position, because for her, it's not so bad. And it won't be bad, basically, no matter what happens. 


Michael:
I like that what qualifies for balance in the nation's most prestigious opinion pages. It's like people who are comfortable in a mildly leftwing way and people who are comfortable in a mildly rightwing way. 


Peter:
All right, we can do whoever yours is. 


Michael:
Okay, are we on me now? 


Peter:
I think we are. 


Michael:
Okay, so you, I have kept this a secret from you. I'm doing a somewhat obscure pundit, although I don't actually know if this is obscure to you, because you're like a Twitter super user, and this is a person that got yelled at on Twitter constantly, which is how I first heard of him. So, we are going to talk about Chris Cillizza. Are you familiar with Chris Cillizza? 


Peter:
Yeah, yeah, yeah of course I'm familiar with Chris Cillizza. I think he's now former CNN, right?


Michael: Yes.


Peter: And that is sort of where he spent the last, I don't know what several years.


Michael: Yeah, 2017 to 2022. 


Peter:
This is a perfect pundit portrait because I have a sense of him, which is that he's just sort of like a horse brained sort of dummy who gives these sort of like middling hedging takes that are sort of bizarrely critical of the left. But I don't really know any actual details. I've never paid attention to him. It's true that I've seen him get dunked on Twitter quite a bit, but I've never dug in because he doesn't seem like the type of person that's worth [laughs] digging in to.  


Michael:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, this is-- I mean I think this is like one of the core paradoxes of this show is that there's these people that just aren't that interesting to talk about. But also, his posts on The Washington Post would get 3 million views, and he was one of the most popular pundits on CNN. So, like these are worlds that just don't interest us very much, like TV news commentary, like the fucking Sunday morning talk shows. But also, we ignore it at our payroll because, like these fucking self-help books that we talk about, people listen to these people. 


Peter:
I mean, I think we're still sort of just haunted by the fact that old people vote and young people and these people just have the news on in their home. 


Michael:
[laughs] Yeah, just voices in the background.


Peter:
And it's are you going to be a complete freak and have Fox News on? Or are you going to be just sort of a common dummy and have CNN on? 


Michael:
Whereas we get our news in a much more objective fashion, where we just look at who's getting yelled at on Twitter today? 


Peter: Absolutely.


Michael: Top story, Being Dad, the whole nation is in an uproar. 


Peter:
I scroll my Twitter feed at 100 miles an hour, picking up keywords as I go, and then I stare out upon the New York City skyline, and I just kind of feel what the vibes are. And that's how I absorb my news every day. 


Michael:
So, Chris Cillizza is actually, it turns out, fairly interesting as a person. He grows up in Connecticut. It appears that he grew up in a fairly middle-class family, but he also went to an elite boarding school whose name I forget and I don't care about. And he has no interest in politics. He gets into it because he gets an internship with George Will when he's in college. And the only reason he's even heard of George Will at the time is that George Will wrote a book about baseball. And he's like a sports guy.  And I actually-- I mean, we talked about it briefly before, but I think the rise of people like Chris Cillizza is part of this transformation of political journalism into essentially sports commentary. 


Peter:
Right.


Michael:  after he works for George Will, he works for something called Roll Call, which is one of these political who's up, who's down things. Then in 2005, he gets hired by The Washington Post and has a column called The Fix. He gets famous when he starts doing these videos for Washington Post of who had the best and worst week in Washington? 


Peter: Oh, yeah.


Michael: You remember this, and there's like, a wheel that he spins and everything?


Peter:
Yeah, yeah. Man this is-- this must have been when I was actually absorbing political nonsense like this- 


Michael: Like a normal person. 


Peter: -As a young guy. I was living in DC. For a bit after college and reading the hot blogs and just absorbing trash into my brain. 


Michael:
So, we're going to watch some of this trash. 


Peter:
Oh, God. Okay. 


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