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TV to Bush - Get Real!
August 16, 2002
By Rich Proctor

As a downtrodden peon toiling in the vineyards of Reality TV here in Los Angeles, I was horrified by how badly the Bushies bungled their day-long kissy-face photo-op on C-Span yesterday during the "Waco Economic Summit." Talk about out of touch! What they did was worse than Bush Sr. gaping in wonder at a supermarket price scanner. They as much as told America that they don't watch Reality TV - video lifeblood of the nation.

Forget what the bloggers and columnists are saying about the WES - like "Bullmoose" at conservativereform.org who said, "Of course, that forum had less political diversity than a meeting of the North Korean People's Congress in Pyongyang. Maximum leader Kim Jong Il receives less fawning adulation than W. got Tuesday at Baylor." This misses the point. This mock-event was all about television... and it was bad television.

Oh, I know what you're saying - reality television itself is bad television. No, it's not. We television grizzled television veterans (especially the "Russian Front" videographers, like me, who work on shows for basic cable) know there's only one rule in television be interesting. What's interesting? Surprise. Shock. Anna Nicole Smith. Things going wrong. That's why there so many shows like "World's Grisliest Bus Accidents."

Okay, Mr. President, here's my crash course in Reality TV 1-A: Five Things You Could Have Done To Make Yesterday's Economic Summit Into Great Televison:

1) The Government Under Siege. Consider Paul Begala's intro last night on Crossfire "Tonight, a group of self-delusional right-wingers in a heavily armed compound in Waco, Texas surrounded by federal agents. Branch Davidians? No, the Bush economic summit." See? Right away you're interested. Of course, you'd have to pay it off by somebody storming something, gunshots, a big fire, etc. But talk about great television!

2) The President Takes Charge. Here's another "50 Share" idea. One of the panelists yesterday was John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems. Guy made $157 million from stock options in 2000. Since then the stock has tanked to the tune of $400 billion. You can see where I'm going with this. In the middle of Chamber's presentation, Lawman Bush leaps up, vaults over two tables, knocks over a podium and personally slaps the cuffs on Chambers. "Pardner, you ripped off widows and orphans, and you're a-goin' to the Gray Bar Motel." That's reality TV.

3) The President Saves a Life. During the Economic Summit, a Secret Service Agent (played by a Vin Diesel lookalike) busts down the door. Just outside, a young Hispanic-American running a highly entrepreneurial "churro cart" is gagging on some of his own product. The President shoves aside his minions and gives the young make him half Hispanic, half-Cuban...ah...woman the Heimlich maneuver, saving her life. After a brief hug, the President walks away from further accolades, muttering, "Shucks, that's just what every 'Merican's s'posed to do."

4) The Clinton Option. At some key point during the Summit, Anna Nicole Smith (followed by her own videographers, of course) stumbles in and collapses drunkenly at the President's feet. With all cameras pointing at her, she confesses that all of her bizarre shenanigans are caused by her illicit affair with Bill Clinton, including providing sexual favors for Clinton even as he was busy making phone calls to Republican CEO's to convince them to cook the books, just because that would advance the cause of Evil.

5) The "Summit Survivor" Option. The President organizes the Summit so that a group of "Experts" (Paul O'Neill, Cheney, various CEO's, Alan Greenspan) offer solutions to our economic malaise. Every ten minutes, the President "votes someone off Waco Summit" until only one Expert is left. That Expert (Cheney it's fixed, of course) gets to wrestle a man in a rubber crocodile suit.

C'mon, guys, how tough is it? Helllllooooo? I'm available for consultations on the make-up of future summits. Just remember it ain't Reality TV until something explodes, someone eats a tarantula, or someone turns over an outhouse with someone else inside. Wait a minute - Ken Lay's in the outhouse and Dubya's sneaking up on it! Let me get back to you...

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