Esquire’s Chuck Klosterman looks at “The McLaughlin Group” in the latest issue and has some interesting things to say:
“I can’t think of any program that has taught me more about human interaction, if not necessarily about politics or journalism.”
Critics sometimes suggest that the success of The McLaughlin Group has led to the erosion of serious discourse in American media, but that’s like complaining about AC/DC because of Rhino Bucket. The failures of its followers only serve to illustrate why The McLaughlin Group is — almost exactly — what televised arguing should look, sound and feel like. The shows that plagiarized the ‘McGroup’ format copied the wrong things; the only quality they duplicated was the volume. What actually makes The McLaughlin Group so continually watchable is a) its inherent understanding of how personal dynamics operate, b) its supernatural ability to incarnate idealized semiotics, and c) the force of one specific personality. The show remains brilliant.”
Klosterman describes Pat Buchanan explaining how Eleanor Clift helped Buchanan grieve over his cat Gipper, when he passed away.
On John McLaughlin (whom Buchanan describes as “a benevolent dictator”): “The moment the taping concluded, he jumped into a town car, was driven to Reagan airport, and flew to Florida. Our only interaction was a handshake ninety seconds before airtime. He shook my hand and asked his assistant, ‘Who’s this guy?’ It was like shaking hands with a humanoid owl.”
“John McLaughlin is the funniest man on television. Has anyone ever generated so much entertainment value from the process of loudly asking questions?”