Friday, December 30, 2005

Brian Lehrer Viciously Biased Against People From Chappaqua

I've always enjoyed Brian Lehrer's interview/call-in show on WNYC, the New York outlet of NPR. He's funny, smart, skeptical, and has a nice voice. But today I'm deeply bitter. I called in to participate in Brian's annual end-of-year news quiz and I'm appalled at the blatantly unfair treatment I received.

According to the rules, contestants had to correctly answer three consecutive questions (asked by Mark Halperin of ABC News) to win a coveted Brian Lehrer Show T-shirt. Now, I'll leave aside the fact that I instantly knew the answers to the first five or six questions (asked of other contestants)--I mean, like that (sound of snapping fingers)! "What was the real name of John Paul II?" (Karol Wojtyla, or some roughly similar collection of letters.) "What publication printed the story revealing the identity of Deep Throat?" (Vanity Fair.) "Who was the woman who finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500?" (Danica something. First name deemed sufficient by Brian.) So by rights I should have had a T-shirt in the bag as soon as they got me on the line. But nooo, I had to answer three more questions. So okay, here they were:

1. "Name three journalists who have been questioned in the Valerie Plame case." Got it! Brian had already established (with a previous contestant) that he would accept Robert Novak as an answer, even though Novak has never admitted being subpoenaed. And I knew two more: Tim Russert and Matt Cooper! Woo-hoo--one third of the way to a T-shirt!

2. "In what city does Plame investigator Patrick Fitzgerald serve as a prosecutor?" Got that one, too! Chicago! One more to go.

And here's where the bias against people from Chappaqua kicked in. (Or so I assume, since the only thing that Brian and his cruel lackeys on the production team knew about me is that I was "Karl from Chappaqua.") Here is the third and crucial question:

3. "Name the person who was rumored to be President's Bush's choice for the supreme court before he announced the selection of John Roberts. Hint: It's a woman."

What kind of a question is that?! Who has time to follow every furshlugginer rumor circulating on the right-wing blogs--let alone remember them months after they prove to be false?!

(The answer is Edith something-or-other. In fact, there were two right-wing judges named Edith that Bush was supposedly considering--both of whom got shafted in favor of white male frat boy Roberts. Wouldn't it be great if Bush somehow, someday, ends up on trial before one of those rejected Ediths? Don't count on leniency there, big guy! Hell hath no fury etc.)

So anyway I fell one question short of a T-shirt. Much as, years ago, I fell one question short of winning Jeopardy and ended up taking home a freezer instead of twenty thousand smackers. To this day I fume when the topic of John Paul Jones is mentioned (don't ask).

My only consolation is knowing that I would have won (and been officially declared a "Brian Lehrer 2005 News Junkie") if that third question had been anything reasonable--"Who plays left field for the New York Mets?" for example.

Oh well, maybe if I start listening to the news more carefully I'll have a better shot in 2006. Meantime, Happy New Year everybody.

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