Last night I caught about 5 minutes of Piers Morgan’s show with Newt Gingrich. I also watched The Newsroom.
This idea has everything to do with those two shows.
On Piers’ show, Newt Gingrich made an assertion that this is the “worst economic recovery in 75 years.” Now, you could see that the assertion made Piers’ think for a moment, and after a another exchange he asked if that was because it was the worst economic recession in 75 years. Good question.
The problem, though, is that Piers didn’t know the facts. He felt like he did, but he didn’t really know what he needed to know to push back on Newt Gingrich. And this is why I think the state of 24 hr news channels are the way they are: guests know the facts and pound the table, and hosts, timid about what they know — because they need to know equal amounts about the Casey Anthony trial AND about the recession — conceded points and move on rather than try and get the facts straight and actually inform the viewer.
I love HBO’s new show, The Newsroom. I love it because I’m a hopeless romantic and I believe in The News and I believe that we can return to a world where the news is talked about intelligently.
I’d like to propose a new news show format, and if you know a good producer at CNN, MSNBC or FOX, please pass this on:
The show is called “Fact Checking” or “Bullshit” or “Fact Checking Bullshit” — whatever — and it takes everything we the masses love about our cable news shows today — the competitive shouting match of hyperbole and talking points — and turns it into a competition. Remember the card game “bullshit”? Well, this show is that, but about the news.
Here’s the format:
During the show, each host and guest gets one “bullshit” card to play on another host or guest. If someone says something stupid (like this wasn’t the worst economic recession in 75 years) then you can use your card and call “bullshit.” When “bullshit” is called, the show’s non-partisan “fact checking” team on staff is tasked with doing the research live, while the show is going on, and uncovering as many facts as possible on the assertion that was called out.
The show then ends as a recap of the assertions and the facts and people are called out for the bullshit that they spewed and were factually incorrect.
I think this is an awesome idea because it lets people be as irresponsible as they want to be, but then it also holds them accountable for what they say. Over time, it will also give us an idea of who spews the most bullshit.
What do you think?