COMMENTARY | Hey, why do ratings for The Today Show suck? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not Matt Lauer. But it probably has something to do with their asinine reporting. Case in point: This morning’s “Today’s Professionals” panel brought in three whole experts to talk about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s girth.
Chris Christie is a big guy. He’s husky, he’s rotund, he’s fat. I haven’t seen his medical records (because they’re none of my business) but maybe he’s considered obese or even morbidly obese. We all know it, even he knows it. What does that have to do with policy, or what kind of president he might be if he chooses to run one day? Absolutely nothing. Yet the mind-bogglingly frustrating question just keeps coming up. It’s the kind of question that shouldn’t keep coming up, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for even asking it.
Barbara Walters asked Christie about his weight in a recent interview. “I feel very uncomfortable asking you this question when I’m sitting opposite you,” Walters said, before treading uncomfortable waters. “You are a little overweight.” Babs, you should be uncomfortable asking him that question. Furthermore, you shouldn’t have wasted part of your interview on something no one should care about, whether you clarified “I think they’re worried about your health,” or not.
But at least Walters was honest about her discomfort in broaching a media’d-to-death subject that she probably thought was relevant. What’s baffling, to me, is why the brain-trust behind The Today Show followed up the Walters interview clip, which was aired on rival ABC’s Good Morning America, with a full-panel of “experts” brought in to “weigh-in” on whether Christie’s girth will affect his chances of running for president.
“His weight is his image,” Donny Deutsch pointed out. “He’s straight talking, doesn’t look like a politician, and looks like the guy next door that’s overweight. ”
However, Deutsch added that if Christie is suffering from a real health problem, it might affect his decision-making at such a high level because: Insanity. He argued that Christie’s personal discipline might be called into question when it comes to such high-profile governance. Nevermind Christie’s 18-hour days spent cleaning up Hurricane Sandy, a feat that not even President Obama has been able to match, and that has won the Governor overwhelming state-wide approval ratings.
Nancy Snyderman countered that Christie would not be able to join the military. “How do you send young men and women into war when you yourself would not be able to enter the armed services?” Really, Nancy? What about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy as a civilian, and was unfortunately stricken with polio before leading our nation successfully through The Great Depression and the lion’s share of World War II? Certainly, no one in retrospect questions FDR’s health as it related to his governance.
However, Star Jones thinks that military service is the “determining factor.”
“Having been morbidly obese,” she said, “I can tell you the nice words — chubby, plus sized, full figured, overweight — they might make you feel good, but obesity is the issue.”
But Deutsch countered that Christie might risk losing “brand” power if he sheds some weight. “His weight gives him some commanding presence,” Deutsch said. “It’s a very very layered issue, it really is.”
Clearly, a very layered issue. Thankfully, we have the “Today’s Professionals” panel to guide us through all of the complexity.
If Chris Christie ever runs for president, there will certainly be many reasons to not vote for him. It’s time his weight stopped being one of them. Shame on you, Today.
Here’s video of this appalling panel, via Mediaite: