As part of Festivus, it is now time to air the grievances:
1) To the media. I am not if there was a precise moment when journalism died, but watching and listening to local news anchors who do not know the difference between Liberia and Libya, ABC News affiliate in San Francisco get punked about the names of the Asiana Airlines (honestly Sum Ting Wong?), the beltway media stuck in their DC bubble and thinking they ARE the story, the failure of Lara Logan and 60 Minutes on the third rate Benghazi story, and the partisan coverage that now rages on the 24 news cycle, I am convinced we have reached the Walking Dead moment of journalism. Heck, even HBO’s Newsroom sucked in season two. That being said, there were some bright spots: Al Jazeera America was a breath of fresh air in simple non-politicized news reporting, PBS Frontline for the quality of its investigative journalism, and The Financial Times for its balanced reporting.
2) Congress: The first term of the current 113th Congress is ending with 57 bills passes into law, by comparison the Do Nothing 112th Congress passed 284 laws between 2011-2012. You have to really suck to make the Do Nothing Congress look prolific. It’s not just the quantity of laws created, but the failure to address the tough issues such as gun control, immigration reform, tax code, budget reform, infrastructure, and jobs. It wasn’t only on the legislation front, the repeated blocking of judicial and governmental appointments by intransigent Republicans ultimately led Senate Majority Leader Reid to invoke the low yield nuclear option to get many appointments unjammed. With another round of midterms coming in 2014, I am not expecting any improvement.
3) Hollywood: Want to know why so many stars are returning to TV and why Kevin Spacey is starring in Netflix’s House of Cards? Studios are not interested in making movies for adults. Sure, at the end of the year in time for awards nominations, studios release adult films as they are free from the summer of comic book superheroes, big budget effects laden, scripts by 4th graders drek. I would gladly take a Nebraska or Kings Of Summer any day over an Iron Man 3 or The Expendables: We’re Not Dead Yet So We’ll Still Cash the Check. Speaking of TV, thankfully there are AMC, FX, HBO, and Showtime to provide outstanding programming while the networks focus on awful formula comedies and dramas and basic cable floods us with scripted reality shows.
4) And some runner ups:
a. Health and Human Services: Really? With so much riding on Healthcare.Gov, you dropped the ball.
b. NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell: You tried to cover up the seriousness of hear injuries in order to save your $4Billion brand at the expense your employees.
c. Economists: Your profession is called the Dismal Science, your economic predictions were dismal.
Happy Festivus Frank and Estelle Costanza.