I was really looking forward to this show. I’ve always thought Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s focus groups were the best part of Hardball, giving us a window into what some “average” (if more informed and articulate) people felt about the politicians and issues of the day.
But boy, is the spinoff show a disappointment. The format is the same, but the show’s producers were clearly looking for more extreme panelists. Instead of everyday people offering valid concerns and honest reactions, the new participants act like strident partisans who spend the entire hour engaging in an orgy of negativity.
Right there, on the very first show, a Republican told outright lies about Wesley Clark: “He’s DANGEROUS! He told the NATO troops to ATTACK the RUSSIANS!” Had the producers been interested in giving us an honest assessment of Wesley Clark’s chances, they would have put him before a group of Democratslike they did on Hardball for the other candidates, or at least had Luntz call the man on his lies.
Who would’ve thought our “voices” were so shrill, and so wrong? The bottom line is that this show is thoroughly annoying, right down to its loud rock music transitions for commercial breaks. Leave it to MSNBC to forego serious dialogue and embrace the tried-and-true formula of partisan bickering over substance.