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.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.