Late last night, we received the following op-ed from CBS CEO Les Moonves:
As we near the end of this presidential election cycle, many Americans are experiencing fatigue and anxiety over the nearly two years of continual coverage. Some voices are even calling out for measures to dramatically shorten this process, perhaps to something even as brief as the mere six weeks permitted in Great Britain. However, as the CEO of CBS, I, Les Moonves, recognize how disastrous such a change would be and instead offer these five reasons why the presidential election is, if anything, way too short.
Everyone Likes a Freak Show
Man, who would have expected the ride we’ve been on? In this cycle, we’ve actually seen life imitate art with the rise of a reality show star, in the form of Donald Trump, as a candidate and potential president. But, let’s not forget about Hillary Clinton’s contribution to this traveling circus. With her Benghazi and email scandals, her somewhat suspect past is revealed as being even shadier! As we all know, the public absolutely eats up trashy reality shows – which is clearly what this election became a long time ago. Believe me, I know. I green-lighted Survivor in the previous millennium and it’s still one of CBS’ best performers today. But I’ve never seen anything like this train wreck of an election and whether they love or hate the candidates, our audience members can’t get enough of it.
It Keeps the President on His/Her Toes
Imagine for a minute if you had to spend about half your work day interviewing to keep your position. Would you be apt to do a better or worse job? Better, of course, because job security is tantamount to complacency. Personally, I’d love to do this with my employees at CBS, but ridiculous employment laws prevent it. However, no such laws exist for the American head of state, and this is a good thing for our viewership. So what if the president can’t get much done as he or she is constantly performing for an audience? It means the president is kept more easily accountable for whatever little things somehow manage to get done and we get to scrutinize every step of the process.
It Creates Jobs
If it takes a village to raise a child, imagine the support system necessary to maintain this monstrosity of a presidential election cycle every two years. These campaigns cannot and do not run themselves. Each candidate requires a massive staff for fundraising, opposition research, consultation, canvassing, and, most importantly, advertising. Likewise, both major political parties require bloated staffs to fill similar positions. But this doesn’t even scratch the surface of media analysts, spin doctors, television/radio shows, their staffs, and everyone and anyone else savvy enough to piggyback off the election buzz. At CBS, our payroll balloons every two years for the very same reason. Luckily, we do more than break even with the direct and indirect support of special interest groups and their constitutionally protected right to express themselves (just like everyone else) on our network.
It Makes Our Job Easier
I honestly do not know what our media colleagues do in other places like, well, basically every other country in the rest of the world, with election cycles typically no longer than a couple of months. I suppose they focus more on investigative journalism and world affairs, such as massacres in third-world nations. There is definitely still a place for such reporting. For example, we still have our CBS Evening News with what’s his name, Scott Pelley. But the great thing about what presidential election cycles have become is that we, the media, don’t have to go looking for the stories. There’s really no need when all we have to do is wait for the next sexist or racist comment from Trump. Or the next Ancient Egyptian history lesson from Ben Carson. Or the next awkward and troubling comment from Hillary Clinton about her plane landing under fire or Mahatma Gandhi running a gas station in St. Louis. Issues, be they debt, human rights, the death of the American Dream, or anything else require a great deal of time and effort. Even then, it’s not really worth it to us as they’re rarely sexy enough to catch the American public’s attention for long.
It Makes Us a Ton of Money
The money is absolutely rolling in for CBS and the rest of the media in this election. Honestly, I just started wearing it as underwear one day. Thanks largely to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, candidates and their super PACs are now able to spend much more than ever before – and the longer these jokers keep at it, the better for us. Network television advertising alone is estimated to be over $5 billion in this cycle, shattering the $2.9 billion record set in the previous election. It’s basically the equivalent of a sanctioned and annual six-month Christmas season for retailers!
Now, none of this may be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS. I’m sorry, in some ways this is a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald and Hillary! Let’s finish strong! Better yet, though, there’s still time for more dirt. Maybe Hillary is doing cocaine after her satanic spirit cooking rituals. There were plenty of rumors about Bill doing it (the coke, that is). And maybe Trump is sexually assaulting his pets. Does he have a pet? It doesn’t matter. At this point, we’ve trained the public to believe anything and, as fact checking has pretty much gone out the window at this point, let’s run with it. In fact, let’s get this shit show started earlier next go around. In 2020, anyone want to jump in front of the Iowa caucus? Believe me, CBS and the rest of the media will meet you there!