Why I Don’t Miss Doing Television

Back when I lived in Washington, like any political writer, I jumped at the chance of doing television appearances. MSNBC had not really taken flight at that point, so opportunities for airtime were more limited, and it was hard to be choosy. I even spent hours of my life I’ll never get back being insulted by hosts, guests and viewers as the token Democrat on Paul Weyrich’s old cable network. And as someone with the perfect face for radio, I eventually tired of eviscerating some foe in a gabfest only to be dressed down during breaks by some 22-year-old producer who didn’t like my hairstyle or choice of tie.

But the best reason to avoid appearing on political TV shows–or certainly Fox News–was nicely illustrated yesterday by veteran Democratic operative and talking-head Bob Beckel [Warning! Non-family friendly content just ahead!]:

I mean, there you are on a low-brow show with some right-wing instapundit yammering at you during a break, and sure, you can just lose it. Hell, the very presence of Neal Boortz–whose voice on the radio airwaves of Atlanta for most of my adult life always reduced me to spluttering rage–was probably enough to explain Beckel’s distracted f-bombing.

Better to leave TV to the pretty people, Bob, or to the occasional Maddow who can maintain zen-like serenity in the face of extreme provocation.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.