So TNR’s Greg Weis thinks that CNN really does have the best political team on television.
Choice nugget from his piece:
On the night I first saw his beard in person, it was no easier for me to accept what I empirically knew to be true: that, during the 2008 primary season, Wolf Blitzer–Wolf Freakin’ Blitzer–presided over the number one election-night news show on cable television. The man’s so devoid of charisma that you can picture him reporting, in his endearing monotone, that a comet is headed straight for CNN studios and that he’ll be prematurely robbed of his molecular composition and the chance to ever see his family again in seven, six, just five seconds now. In this era of outsized personality and hectoring opinion, he doesn’t have catchphrases. He doesn’t call guests liars. If there are any thrills going up his leg, he’s kind enough not to share the information with us. Every morning, he runs five miles on the treadmill and drinks freshly squeezed orange juice because he’s 60, and hosting primary coverage that starts at four p.m. and usually ends some time the next day is physically demanding work.
And yet, this winter and spring, Blitzer did preside over the number one election-night news show on cable television. Aside from scoring higher ratings than its main competitors, Fox News and MSNBC, during all but one of the early primaries (it lost Florida, which was uncontested among Democrats, to Fox), CNN won the first quarter of the year among the most sought-after demographic, 25- to 54-year-olds, for the first time since 2001. Fox reclaimed the top spot in the second quarter, largely because its primetime shows are still more popular and there were fewer primaries. But, while Fox’s second quarter viewership dropped off 1 percent from 2007, CNN’s was up 24.
But HBO’s Bill Maher isn’t quite ready to swallow the slogan. From this week’s “Real Time”:
Maher: I enjoy you all the time, on CNN, is that where you are?
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: CNN, yes indeed
Maher: I switch around.
Toobin: Best political team on television you may have heard
Maher: You know what: No matter how many times they say that, it’s not true just cuz they say it. It might be true, but I’m a little tired of hearing them say it.
Toobin: [Laughter] I know.
Maher: It reminds me of what Republicans do: They just say shit and then people believe it.
Toobin: They’re our model.