I’m not sure how much of yesterday’s show you caught, but in the our “E Block” (complicated code for ‘the 5th segment) we had a conversation, about the conversation about gun control. Meta.
But what you missed was the discussion beforehand, in the meetings leading up the to show. I worked with Steve Kornacki on the segment’s intro, and we tried to make sure we gave a honest, historical framing for how guns are talked about in politics. When meeting with the 4 members of the show, the predominant thought was “we don’t want to argue gun control.” The reason is simple: We’ve heard it a thousand times before, and S.E. wins. We don’t need to steal 8 minutes on air to establish that Touré wants guns off the street, Krystal sits on the fence, S.E. is packing, and Steve is fascinated - get this - from a purely political standpoint.
I have to say, most shows struggle to bypass that clash because 1. They mistakenly think it’s entertaining, and 2. The people on air think they’re scoring points with their readers/followers/fans. It was really interesting to watch four people with such different views mutually agree to advance the collective dialogue, even though it was against a few of their personal interests.The chemistry of the group has been so natural - it’s easy to forget that these guys really don’t know each other. And really, they’re not dependent on each other - if this show fell apart today, they’d all continue to put food on the table (and I’d be stealing Lunchables from local summer camps). I’m sure there’s a pull - on each of them - to make sure they don’t lose their own voice to The Cycle. But, watching the group naturally come to the conclusion that there was a better way for the show to talk about guns & politics, I felt like a threshold was crossed.
Now, there will probably be viewers that see a segment posed this way - “Let’s talk about the way we talk about guns” - and are immediately turned off. Maybe you don’t think cable news is able to generate genuine self-awareness. Maybe you think we out-thunk ourselves. Maybe the way we talked, about the way we talk about the way we talk was just too tough to follow and gave you an ice cream headache. But for those of you that stuck around, stumbled across it, or happened to hear it because you forgot to change the channel: you got a very interesting conversation. And maybe, you saw a watershed moment for the show.