Phil Donahue: Wannabe Progressive?

| January 27, 2003 Issue

Once one of TV’s most liberal voices, Phil Donahue’s MSNBC talk show has grown timid, writes Dennis Hans on The same Donahue to campaigned heavily for Ralph Nader in 2000 has become “the most incompetent progressive to ever walk the earth.”

Donahue’s January 6 show, “the conservative bias of the mainstream media,” is just one log fueling Hans’ flame. He allows that the topic could have done the show proud, if it hadn’t been for the meager qualifications of Donahue’s guests and the resulting shortcomings of their debate. Contributors included the conservative Bernard Goldberg (the “laziest, most incompetent advocate of the ‘media have a liberal bias’ school”), and moderate liberals Mario Cuomo and Al Franken (“worthy adversaries of the right, but neither is an authority on the night’s topic”). Still, Han’s argues, Donahue is completlely unable to recognize a good talking point, even when it’s staring him in the face. In the midst of a heated discussion about government’s disturbing proclivity to lie in order to trick Congress and the public into supporting war, Donahue interjects, “What is your point . . . administrations lie! All right, so we knew that.” By dismissing that one, Hans says, Phil completely missed the boat.

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