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Who Sucks: The Life and Times of Phil Donahue and Bryant Gumbel ^ | 4/5/2002 | Nathan Porter

Posted on 01/07/2003 9:17:48 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

Boom Boom Donahue

If there were a lifetime achievement award for sucking, Phil Donahue would get my vote. As the father of the daytime talk show, Phil Donahue is the Marco Polo of trash TV and the reason that modern presidential elections are won by the candidate who causes the most autoerotic secretions by women watching Oprah. It was Phil Donahue who birthed a television format where one day his audience could watch an abortion and the next day stick a dollar in the crotch of a Chippendale dancer. In its 29-year-run (1967-1996), there were nearly 7,000 Phil Donahue shows. Shows that brought to the surface a subclass of human existence so vile and ignorant that it should have been left unnoticed, free to rot away in oblivion. But Phil Donahue needed ratings. Phil Donahue had an agenda. An agenda so radically leftwing that it made Thomas Eagleton look sane in comparison.

Since 1996, Donahue has mercifully been removed from the scene, overwhelmed by the spin-off monsters he created. Thanks to Phil Donahue, the likes of Rosie, Springer, Jones, and Oprah pollute our airwaves with their mindless dribble. So I am amused and repulsed at the news that Phil is set to step back in front of the camera to remove any doubt—if some existed—that he is an asinine, conceited, obnoxious mass of human tissue. To the unaware or uninitiated Phil Donahue may come across as an earnest liberal who is confident in his beliefs. But there is a fine line between being confident and obnoxious, and Phil Donahue has been on the wrong side of that line for a long time.

How liberal is Donahue? He once said, "I don't know if there's an issue the ACLU takes I disagree with." Like most liberals, Donahue touts tolerance while parading his intolerance before the world. Complaining of Catholicism, Donahue charged, "The Church has always thrived on ignorance and oppression." One would think he was applying for a position at Bob Jones University. I'm surprised he didn't accuse the Church of being a cult...oh, that's right, he did accuse it of being a cult. Anyway, if any institution or ideology can be accused of thriving on ignorance and oppression it is the institutional ideology of Phil Donahue's style of liberalism.

Of the military, Phil opines, "Supporting the military ought to mean supporting our uniform personnel, improving their housing and their lifestyles...instead of buying all these things that go boom, that make profits for Fortune 500 companies."

Isn't the purpose of the military to defend us? What better way to do that than by blowing up shit? In a Phil Donahue military our bombers will drop flower petals and our missiles will be de-targeted from those non-existent threats of China, North Korea, and Iraq and aimed at the real threat to America; the Fortune 500 companies. And while you're at it, Phil, how about retargeting some of those big-boom missiles toward the homes of daytime talk show hosts.

The 'things that go boom' phrase is classic Donahue. He has been using that line for decades and it exposes his outright hostility to all things military. In a 1988 exchange with Pat Buchanan, Phil said, "You and the Reagan ideologues have spent us into oblivion—our children are going to have to pay this bill—and you step forward, like some religious figure saying, 'more bombs, more bullets’." Phil, I cannot believe that out of 100,000 sperm, you were the quickest. As is so often the case, you didn't have a clue then as to what you were talking about, and I’m certain your new show will prove you don't have a clue now. You are living proof that if an imbecile is given a microphone and put in front of a camera, someone somewhere will take them seriously.

Need a clue as to how close to the insane asylum Phil Donahue is? Phil said of Ralph Nader, "I believe he is America's No. 1 private citizen of the 20th century." Okay, Phil, so real heroes like the Wright Brothers, Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble all take a back seat to the guy who became a millionaire destroying the Corvair. These men were true geniuses who through their work changed the entire course of history for the betterment of mankind. And Ralph Nader? If Nader and Donahue had been spreading their brand of socialism in the early 20th century they would have attacked the Wright Brother's machine as too dangerous to fly, the polio vaccine as too risky to use, Hubble's research as a waste of money better spent on a single-payer health care system, and the many accomplishments of Albert Einstein would have been ignored as Donahue attacked him for being infatuated with things that go boom.

I believe that you, Phil Donahue, bear a great deal of responsibility for the tawdriness of television talk shows, the sensationalism of the evening news, the coarsening of our culture, and the erosion of standards of decency in television programming. So in my book, that puts you damn near the bottom on the list of America's private citizens of the 20th century. Down there with Ralph Nader, Leopold and Lobe, and the guy who decided the Brady Bunch Variety Show should see the light of day. I long for the day your head goes boom.

Bryant Gumbel: This is Your Sorry Life

You were born Bryant Charles Gumbel in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sept. 29, 1948, the second child of Democratic Party activist Richard Dunbar Gumbel and Rhea Alice Gumbel. You were raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. You attended Bates College in Maine, graduating in tumultuous 1970.

In 1972 you took your first job on television as a weekend sportscaster at KNBC in Los Angeles, where you became sports director. Alluding to your belief that you received the job because you were black, not because you were the most qualified applicant, you said, "Did affirmative action play a part? I don't think you have to be a Phi Beta Kappa to figure it out."

In 1981, you were promoted to Today Show co-host, where you remained until 1997. While host of the Today Show, you never let the fact that you were a "journalist" keep you from injecting personal opinions into your work. Take Ronald Reagan for example. You didn't much care for Reagan and you always found a way to let us know, like when you said, "Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II."

Then there was the time you told Lee Atwater, "Blacks have looked at the past eight years and seen this [Reagan] administration retreat from civil rights, retreat from affirmative action, make South Africa no priority, continue to see a greater disparity economically between blacks and whites, foster a spirit of racism that hasn't been seen in 20-plus years."

When questioning Richard Corlin of the American Medical Association, you said, "In the greedy excesses of the Reagan years, the mean income of the average physician nearly doubled, from $88,000 to $170,000. Was that warranted?"

Yet during the Reagan year of 1982, you signed a contract with the Today Show paying you $750,000 a year. In 1985—still a Reagan year—your salary was raised to $1.5 million a year. Now that is economic disparity. I know that being the host of a morning "news" show is more important than being a physician, but tell me Bryant, was that pay raise warranted?

Your vitriol is not reserved solely for Reagan. Speaking of Kenneth Starr you opined, "Given Starr's track record, should we suspect that he's trying to do with innuendo that which he has been unable to do with evidence?"

And of Linda Trip you asked, "Has she always been a snoop and a gossip with a particular interest in other people's romantic lives?"

Had you reserved your venom for political operatives you would have been looked on as nothing more than an average, liberal media personality, but, as is your wont, you decided to tear down those closest to you professionally. In 1989 you wrote the infamous memo that explained how everything and everyone was wrong at the Today Show—everything and everyone except Bryant Gumbel. As a result of your petulance, ratings for the Today Show sank.

Over the ensuing years your self-inflicted wound began to fester, so in 1997 you divorced NBC, several weeks later ending up at CBS. For your service to CBS you received a salary of $5 million a year. I ask you, Bryant Gumbel, was this warranted?

Your first venture with CBS was the prime-time news show, "Public Eye With Bryant Gumbel.” Your show was a failure and canceled less than year after it began. In the subsequent year, with a lot of time and money on your hands, you played plenty of golf and engaged in plenty of hanky panky. CBS executives were incensed that you were spending more time on your passion for golf, and your passion for adultery, than on creating your next CBS news failure, all the while collecting 5 million dollars. I ask you Bryant Gumbel, was that warranted?

With no ideas of your own, CBS forced you to take over the seldom-viewed “CBS Morning Show” turning it into the “CBS Early Show.” Having never crossed a bridge you didn't burn, you explained your primetime failure by lashing out at former colleagues, saying of Katie Couric, "You know, Katie had a primetime magazine fail under her." What few viewers the Morning Show had were not fooled. They knew who you were and left in droves, leaving the show with fewer viewers than public access television.

Like the rest of America, your family had enough of Bryant Gumbel, too. Citing years of "habitual adultery," your wife—the woman who married you when nobody knew your name—sued you for divorce. And though you and your hot, blonde fiancé were living in your new 10 million dollar pad, you offered to pay your wife of 26 years $250.00 a month. Which makes me think that, largely as a result of the practices and priorities of philanderers like you, more divorced women are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II.

So here you are Bryant Gumbel. As an educated black man who started his career in 1970, you had the world at your disposal. And while you had an admirable beginning, your pettiness, petulance, and arrogance has led you down the road to failure: failure in your professional life, and (although, with a hot blonde thing by your side, you may not realize it now) failure in your personal life.

You are as loathed as any member of the media in my memory. In twenty years, when fame and fortune, and the broads who are drawn to them are gone, what will you have left? Not much. This is your life Bryant Gumbel, and it sucks.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: donahue; gumbel; media; sucks; talkshow
I did a Google search for "Phil Donahue sucks" and came up with this. The Gumbel article appears side by side and the overall theme is "who sucks?". Hard to find anything to disagree with in both pieces.
1 posted on 01/07/2003 9:17:48 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
Hard to find anything to disagree with in both pieces.

Hard?? How 'bout impossible?

2 posted on 01/07/2003 9:26:48 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: pgkdan
Well, the writer did misspell "Leopold and Loeb" as "Leopold and Lobe" :)
3 posted on 01/07/2003 9:29:27 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
A good read. Thanks.
4 posted on 01/07/2003 9:38:27 AM PST by jigsaw
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
I get a huge kick out of Porter's "Who Sucks?" columns, as well as the rest of his site.
5 posted on 01/07/2003 9:40:29 AM PST by SoDak
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
The premise of the piece is spot on, however the subjects are "yesterday's news." My candidate for the most arrogant, smug, and intellectually repulsive media personality today is.....ARRON BROWN !!
6 posted on 01/07/2003 9:40:46 AM PST by DWar
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To: DWar
The nomination is on the floor, do I hear a second?

I almost never watch Brown or the CommunistNewsNetwork, but I was on the left coast during the DC snipers and sometimes it was my only option. It was hard to put my finger on why he is so detestable - the word smarmy comes to mind. You sort of get the feeling that he would have a weak handshake and listen to a lot of NPR.
7 posted on 01/07/2003 9:48:12 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
I used to live in Seattle where he was the news anchor for years at the ABC affiliate, channel 4. He was unlikable then and I was shocked when he appeared on CNN. I was more shocked to find his self righteous arrogance has grown over the years. Recently, I've heard, he threw quite a tantrum at CNN and essentially demanded that he be universally recognized as "THE VOICE" of CNN. I think his appeal is to that Martha Stewart (OH, there's another one), Al Gore, elitist I know better than you hardcore of the liberal wing.
8 posted on 01/07/2003 9:56:54 AM PST by DWar
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
According to Willy, Monica sucks.
9 posted on 01/07/2003 9:58:30 AM PST by Enemy Of The State (It is better to remain silent and appear a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.)
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
FANTASTIC RANT! Right on the money.
10 posted on 01/07/2003 10:00:52 AM PST by jaime1959
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
It was Phil Donahue who birthed a television format where one day his audience could watch an abortion...

what is this about? Did he really show this? Surely not. That would go against the Party of Death's agenda. Unless he showed it in the most positive light possible...

11 posted on 01/07/2003 10:01:13 AM PST by Charlie OK
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