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Sunday Talking Heads: August 14, 2011

Iowa Straw Poll. Listings after the jump.

Scarecrow says:

Let’s see. What happened this last week (and never mind chaos in the UK, Syria, Afghanistan, etc) that might be the topic for Sunday’s shows?

—  Well, the European markets showed signs of a potential financial/banking collapse reminiscent of 2008, partly because Italy and Greece are not like the US.

— In the US the mixture of European fear and reports confirming a stagnant US economy caused US commodities markets to fluctuate wildly.

— This extreme volatility was exacerbated by the growing recognition there are no grownups in charge in the White House or Congress.

— And because of these factors, the media, having flogged the wrong story for months, finally started to wonder  . . . “uh, maybe we’ve been focused on the wrong problem with all this debt hysteria, so, gosh, do we know any competent economists who can explain what’s happening?”

— And when they finally asked competent economists, they were surprised to learn that virtually all of them agreed that we’ve been focusing on the wrong problem, that the economy is stuck and still needs boosting, that the unemployment problem is likely to remain severe and may even get worse because of the wrong-headed debt bill the media helped push, and because there’s nobody with any sense home in Washington.

— Even worse, they said, the debate is being driven by right wing economic luddites whose reckless and nonsensical views remain oblivious to the actual data and driven by ideological extremism.  [listings after the jump]

— Unfortunately both parties and the White House have embraced their agenda and either don’t know, don’t care, or can’t admit they’ve totally screwed up.  Hence, America’s confidence in their leaders is tanking.

And to confirm the nation’s dismal prospects for solving these problems, the Republicans on Friday night put on one of the most frightening clown shows in decades, featuring eight silly and/or pandering people who claim their priority is debt reductions but when asked whether they would accept reductions that were 90% spending cuts and only 10% tax increases, said “no” because that wasn’t extreme or crazy enough.

So at a time when large parts of the world are thinking America has become completely irresponsible, its President is incompetent, and its Congress is a clown show, you’d think any self-respecting cable or network political news program would at least try to book sensible and knowledgeable grownups to be this week’s guests and panelists.

They would want grownups to explain what has happened to America’s ability to think, to behave rationally and to govern itself.  They’d be looking for any hopeful thoughts on how to get out of the mess and to relieve the anxiety of a public that is saying in record numbers that the country is on the wrong track, that 82% view Congress unfavorably, and strong majorities disapprove of both parties and have little faith in the President.

But no, there will be no grownups on this Sunday, except Zakaria’s show on CNN.  Instead, the producers think their viewers want to see and hear Michele Bachmann, the winning clown of a meaningless clown straw poll conducted in a politically inconsequential state, in a setting likely to choose the most clownish person from a group of clowns.

The producers of those shows MUST KNOW that Michele Bachmann is one of the silliest, most badly misinformed people in Washington.  They MUST KNOW that Ms. Bachmann has no clue what’s happening in Europe’s markets or the UK streets or why or how it relates to economic theory and practice, or what it means for the prospects for growth and jobs in the US.  They MUST KNOW she cannot string together a coherent sentence on any of this, let alone understand that most of her stated beliefs are part of the problem and not the solution to America’s ills.  And yet they all chose her, so we’re supposed to listen to this mindless woman babble on every channel.  Some shows will include other clowns, who will be equally incoherent.

Take your children outside Sunday morning unless you plan to explain how we got here.  When someone writes the history of the fall of the American Empire, a key chapter will be the utter failure of America’s major news shows to respect their audiences and do their jobs.

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Host – Jake Tapper.  Iowa Straw Poll – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). Roundtable: George Will, Matthew Dowd, Amy Walter, Laura Ingraham, and Radio Iowa News Director Kay Henderson.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Host – Norah O’Donnell. Iowa Straw Poll – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Then, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

CNN’s State of the Union: Iowa Straw Poll – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), then Herman Cain. Followed by “Tea Party power broker” Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Ending with Neil King and Philip Rucker, reporters.

Chris Matthews: Obama’s Crisis of Leadership. Can Rick Perry Beat Mitt Romney?

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and Former IMF Chief Economist Ken Rogoff. Pakistan – Ahmed Rashid. and a smart, macro look at the London riots with two top British thinkers.  And more.

Fox News Sunday: Iowa Straw Poll – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

NBC’s Meet the Press: Iowa Straw Poll – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Roundtable: Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), Mike Murphy, Eugene Robinson, Jonathan Martin, Chuck Todd.

Newsmakers: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) discussed the “super committee,” the deal to lift the debt ceiling, and President Obama on Newsmakers

Q & A: High school students from 35 states and Guam discuss the quality of today’s journalism along with their career aspirations in media. The students attended the Washington Journalism & Media Conference hosted by George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia…

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: The new tax havens – American companies are finding new overseas tax havens to legally protect some of their profits from the U.S. tax rate of 35 percent, among the highest in the world.  Top Gear – A quirky British television show about cars has become a hit almost everywhere but the U.S. Steve Kroft reports on “Top Gear,” whose witty humor, outrageous speed, destructive vehicle stunts and car reviews attract an estimated weekly worldwide audience of 350 million according to the BBC. Albert Pujols – His big bat has made the St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger one of the top 10 players in baseball history. But to people with Down syndrome and the poor of his native Dominican Republic who he helps, he means a lot more than home runs and RBI.

To the Contrary: DNA sequencing.

Univision’s Al Punto: Rep. Henry Cuellar, (D-TX); Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL); Helen Aguirre, Republican Analyst; Jorge Luis Aguirre, First Mexican Journalist to Win Asylum in the U.S.; Jose Gabilondo, Financial Expert and Associate Professor, College of Law at Florida International University.

Virtually Speaking: Joan McCarter and Cliff Schecter. Joan is the highly regarded Senior Policy Editor and regular contributor to Daily Kos. Cliff is a campaign strategist, political commentator and principal at Libertas LLC, a full spectrum political and corporate communications company.

C-SPAN’s Book TV.

FDL Book Salon: Guaranteed to Fail: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Debacle of Mortgage Finance. “The financial collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008 led to one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in history. The bailout has already cost American taxpayers close to $150 billion, and substantially more will be needed.” Chat with Matthew Richardson, hosted by Bill Black. 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: The Great Intervention. A “40-something man-child thinks he’s been discovered by a documentary film crew. The truth is, they’re hired by his parents to help them stage a Life Intervention.”  Steve Moramarco, hosted by Lisa Derrick, 8pm ET.

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