News Blights: January 8, 2009

Item 1: The host of MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews, has decided not to join the race for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In doing so he has resisted a groundswell of support from hard-of-hearing misogynists throughout the state. Some reports suggested that Matthews was only floating the campaign as a means of enhancing his contract negotiations with MSNBC. If so, it worked for MSNBC, because Matthews will be re-signing for less than half of his previous salary.

Item 2: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, has been chosen by President-elect Barack Obama as the next Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and an effective communicator. He is also a shill for pharmaceutical corporations and a critic of universal healthcare. He famously debated Michael Moore on the Larry King Show about the accuracy of the movie Sicko. Now he will be Obama’s spokesperson on matters related to expanding healthcare to the 47 million Americans who are not presently covered.

Item 3: Congressman Mike Pence and Senator Jim DeMint have introduced bills in their respective bodies to prevent the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. The Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 has been expressly drafted to prevent something that no one has proposed. In fact, Obama has stated his opposition to re-imposition of the Doctrine. That hasn’t stopped right-wing fear mongers from firing off panicky op-eds and fund raising appeals.

Item 4: Sarah Palin, bless her heart, is still providing more chuckles per pound than any of her contemporaries. She sat down for an interview with a rabidly conservative activist who runs a web site dedicated to insulting Obama supporters. The discussion included a fair bit of whining about her treatment by the press, including her assertion that she wanted to ditch Katie Couric after the first round of talks, but McCain’s strongmen forced her back into the lioness’ den.