By Daniel Rigney
I've recently discovered "The Stephanie Miller Show," a welcome arrival to the small but growing community of politically-progressive television programs.
As an amateur television watcher, I look in on morning network shows like “Today" and “Good Morning America” from time to time to measure the depth of our national culture. Last time I watched “Today,” for instance, Kathie Lee and Hoda were in Seattle, giving makeover fashion tips to a casually-dressed young woman wearing … maybe it was a sweatshirt and jeans. They were explaining that she needed to look more like a New York model during fashion week.
That’s the last time I watched even a snippet of morning talk telly until last Friday, when I stumbled into the very first week of something called “The Stephanie Miller Show” on the Current network, co-founded by Al Gore. This is the network that also brings us politically direct programs hosted by the likes of Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, and airs some of the best documentaries around.
Miller’s new show is actually a radio broadcast being watched by a television camera. It emanates from Los Angeles, airing from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern. After working the radio waves in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and in syndication for years, Stephanie now has a a new national simulcast on Current TV.
Miller’s show, also known as “Talking Liberally,” resembles a progressive alternative to Rush Limbaugh’s grim and angry rantfest, except that it's smart, witty, entertaining, and a lot classier than Rush's show -- a low hurdle, I'll grant you.
The “Talking Liberally” team (Stephanie and her male co-hosts) eschews, for instance, callers who want to talk about Mitt Romney’s underwear, though they don't mind openly discussing the wisdom of Ann Romney’s recent suggestion that Mitt "unzip" in public.
They also clown-honk callers offering far-fetched conspiracy theories. Their sense of humor is more like a scalpel than Rush’s, and less like a flaming machete.
Stephanie has a conservative family background. Her father was Barry Goldwater’s running mate in the 1964 presidential election. She’s come a long way ideologically to be where she is today.
Maybe it’s just me (my kids tell me I’m easily amused), but I think Stephanie and her co-hosts are the funniest TV talkers to come down the political pike in years.
Don’t believe me? Tune it in and check it out.
If you don’t think this show is a breath of fresh morning air on talk television, I’ll give you every penny I’ve received to pass this tip along. My pledge to you.
By the way, Stephanie may need a fashion makeover from Kathie Lee and Hoda. She favors T-shirts and baseball caps – you know, ordinary American clothes.