by Max Brantley
Good interview with Bill Clinton in Esquire. He's something of a consensus figure now. Sure, some dead-enders will hate him unto the bitter end, but not running for office doesn't hurt. Plus, he, as ever, has some useful things to say about politics and just about everything else, including media.
I also think that the diffusion of the media has complicated things. For example, I was just watching — I don't know if you heard what I said in the other room — I was just watching MSNBC, and they had a woman that used to work for me and a couple of other people on there, and they were talking about the Republican primary. And I was laughing. I said, "Boy, it really has become our version of Fox." And I say that because think of the economics of running cable channels. Suppose you and I bought a cable channel, and he [pointing] bought another. You know that to make a living out of it, you've got to get about eight hundred thousand viewers for all your major programs. So you can get eight hundred thousand, and you won't be as wealthy as Fox, but you'll do okay. And now if you get a slice that's that small and still viable — and you know it's not like when we just had NBC, CBS, and ABC. That's all there was. Everybody had enough market share that they knew would guarantee some comfortable level of profit. And yet there was enough competition that everybody could keep each other honest, and when the Vietnam War came along, they could send fifty-five-year-old reporters to Vietnam for extended stays. They could afford to have correspondents in Europe to report. Correspondents in Asia. All that's changed now. And so the good news is you can get a lot of information off the Internet for free and in a hurry. But I think the breaking up of the media, which is otherwise kind of healthy, has contributed to less actual reporting and a louder, more contentious, more divisive public discourse, highlighting conflict, sometimes falsely.
He predicts an Obama win this year, helped by erosion of support for new Republican governors in key states. He also said people in the 1 percent, like him, should pay more, but he floated the idea of an infrastructure bank in which wealthy could invest that would put people to work. Interesting reading.