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Politico: Massa media: The week on cable
By Michael Calderone

Political stories normally fit in a neat left-right divide, with Fox and MSNBC ready and willing to take predictable and opposite sides. But then came Eric Massa.

“We’re talking about Eric Massa 24/7 on the TV,” Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) complained on the House floor.

The problem for cable: Is he our guy or theirs?

The opening act was murky. Initially, only POLITICO linked sexual harassment allegations to Massa’s announcement that he wasn’t going to run for reelection. But when some of the charges began leaking out, the political lines seemed clear: Although Massa had once been a Republican, a Democratic congressman who had opposed the Iraq war and voted against health care because it wasn’t liberal enough seemed an ideal conservative target.

But then Massa said he was being pressured to resign by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — a story line that proved irresistible to the Drudge Report and Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck.

“Left and Right need to hear what Massa has to say,” Beck wrote on Twitter, announcing that Massa would appear on his show Tuesday night. “Agree or disagree — YOU decide if there is truth in his story.”

The anticipation was almost too much to bear.

“Beck’s idea was to give over an entire hour of his show to a man who just a day earlier seemed poised on revealing the dark, secret, inner workings of the whole socialist conspiracy running the country — a man who knew where the bodies were buried, and now on live TV, he was going to name names,” The Nation’s Chris Hayes said on MSNBC. “But then things did not go quite as Beck had hoped.”

No, they did not.

“The more Beck struggled, the clearer it became that he was opening Al Capone’s vault only to find some dog-eared ,well-combed over old men’s fitness magazines,” was the way Jon Stewart gleefully described it on “The Daily Show.”

At the end of the show, after Massa’s rambling, at times bizarre, answers, Beck declared to the camera: “America, I’m gonna shoot straight with you. I think I’ve wasted your time. I have wasted an hour of your time. And I apologize for that.”

Stewart suggested that Beck had a new sign-off phrase right up there with Edward R. Murrow’s “Good night and good luck.”

“It was funny to see the conservatives all jump on the bandwagon when he said ‘I was forced out because I was the final vote,'” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace said Friday, “and then they get a load of what this guy’s saying and say, ‘Well, no, no, no, forget Eric Massa. No, forget about him.’ Suddenly, they weren’t so interested in him.”

What followed was a rare moment of cable news bipartisanship, with both left and right commentators agreeing that Massa has some serious issues. “Countdown” guest host Lawrence O’Donnell, for one, dubbed Massa the “craziest man in the Congress.”

Left and right also found common cause in sophomoric and borderline homophobic mocking of gays. The Massa mess led to countless punch lines involving tickle fights and groping, with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” crew seeming to never get enough jokes or passing up the opportunity to play The Village People’s “In the Navy” in honor of Massa’s former career as a Navy officer.

Read more: Massa media: The week on cable

One Comment

  1. What A F*ing mess that is! take a look here, I know you’ll agree

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