Professionally inaccurate Times TV critic Alessandra Stanely may have topped herself this morning, when she added a year to the war in Iraq. Stanley, you see, wanted to tell everyone about how the big broadcast networks have dumbed down their programming, to the point where they ignored the Tuesday presidential primaries in Texas and instead showed cheesy reality shows like "The Biggest Loser" and "Big Brother." This was stupid, Stanley said, because election news can get big ratings, as evidenced by last week's Democratic debate, which managed to attract a bigger audience that America's invasion of Iraq, six years ago:
Network executives could hardly argue that viewers don't care about politics. Last week's Democratic debate on MSNBC drew almost eight million viewers, and won higher ratings than any of the three network's shows - including NBC's ill-fated debut of its made-for-the-Internet series, "Quarterlife." That debate was the highest-rated program in MSNBC's history - before that, the cable news station's highest rating was 3.7 million on March 19, 2002, the night the invasion of Iraq began.
Sigh. Well, already-error-prone Stanley suddenly had to file on deadline and everything last night, just like an honest-to-god newspaper reporter. Given her track record even without these constraints, it's a miracle her copy was not, somehow, even worse.