Sunday, May 24, 2009

The smartest show nobody's watching.

Every Sunday afternoon at 1 pm ET, on CNN, Fareed Zakaria hosts a program called GPS, which features thoughtful, insightful commentary with a global perspective, interviews with significant players in some of the world's hottest trouble-spots, and erudite panels of international experts debating some of the most pressing questions of our time.

And as far as I can tell, nobody's paying the slightest attention.

The show is never covered in the blogsphere, left or right; its content is never fodder for follow-up review in the other American talking-head programs the following week; its discussions and interviews never analyzed or discussed in the print media. I read about two dozen news sources throughout the week, and as many blogs. I've never seen the show mentioned.

Most of the 'problem', I assume, is that GPS is, in the era of Dick Cheney showboating and Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly YELLING, boring. Relatively speaking, GPS is dry and probably percieved as numbingly cerebral.

And yet it's the only show I know of that steps outside the "narrative" - the story the mainstream media writes about issues and then follows slavishly. The most notable being, "Arab countries and their leaders are all nuts".

Zakaria's panel today discussing the Israel-Iranian-Palestinian problem was smart and deeply interesting and featured a bunch of people whose names would not be bold-faced in any American newspaper. So we may never hear a word of follow-up about what King Abdullah of Jordan and David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, dubbed "the 23-state solution"; or Iran's role as a potential 24th fly in the ointment of that solution. Or not.

No educated, intelligent person should consider the show unapproachably cerebral. Trading in informed subtlety, however, unfortunately, is unfashionable.

Too bad.




Blogger Xtreme English said...

wonderful information...thank you, ronnie. i watched the video clip of the discussion until i could NOT STAND listening to the Wall St Journal reporter who insisted on talking over others, interrupting them, pushing his own points as if they were sent from Mt Sinai in two tablets engraved in stone. Wot in the flaming heck does any preppie from the WSJ know about the Middle East? that's not Zakariah's fault, but omg....what did you think about that?

10:32 p.m.  
Blogger Carl said...

Zakkaria is a regular on The Daily Show. His books also sell well. I don't watch TV so I've never seen GPS.

(Yes, I watch The Daily Show without watching TV, at

3:55 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Do you include Rachel Maddow among the yellers? She appears to be an unapologetic leftie, but I generally like her approach.

I can't be bothered with, by the way. The aliens on their commercials say it will turn your brain to pudding.

5:11 p.m.  
Anonymous Sister said...

Sounds interesting, but maybe it's due to the fact it's on during Sunday afternoons? Not exactly prime time. Sun afternoons seem to be the time for grocery shopping, sleeping in, or visiting friends. TV seems to have a very strange habit of posting interesting shows at times when few people can actually see them...

7:45 p.m.  

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