You have to hand it to Eliot Spitzer. It’s only been two years since he got forced out of his job as Governor of New York because of a sex scandal involving a $1000 a night hooker named Ashley Dupre. Most politicians would still be laying low and avoiding TV cameras. But there he was today on CNN, cohosting in his own new cable talk show with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker. Talk about hiding in plain sight.
Actually, judging by today’s first episode, Parker Spitzer doesn’t look like it’s going to be attracting too much attention. It’s an old-fashioned, dueling-heads chat show straight out of the Jane-you-ignorant-slut school of he says-she says journalism. Spitzer opened the show with a plea to Tim Geithner to resign as Secretary of the Treasury, the two hosts argued about Sarah Palin for a while, and then guests like Andrew Breitbart and Elizabeth Warren dropped by to discuss the tea party movement and the economy. No news was broken. Nobody asked Levi Johnston what newspapers he read. Nothing really happened at all, at least not anything interesting.
CNN is clearing building this show around the chemistry between Parker, a smooth-talking conservative blonde, and the liberal ex-governor also known as Client No. 9. And there is plenty of flirty cohost banter squeezed between the arguments and the jazzy Playboy After Dark-style theme music. But what Parker Spitzer really shows is just how far behind the curve CNN has fallen in the cable news universe. CNN is still clinging to the middle, presenting both sides of the argument, aiming for an audience straight down the middle with a format as old and outdated as Crossfire. That’s journalistically laudable, but it leaves Parker Spitzer with no clear point of view. And in today’s ideologically divided cable news universe, that’s not a place the audience seems to want to stay.
But disagree with us, PopWatchers! Call us an ignorant slut! Tell us why we’re wrong about Parker Spitzer. Or, of course, you’re welcome to second our emotions. Do as you will down in the comments!