Now, I'm not in the hospital on bedrest, but I do watch The Early Show every weekday morning. I truly enjoy Harry Smith, live colonoscopy or no, and frankly I prefer our local affiliate's news team over any of the other networks, so CBS wins my viewership. Maggie Rodriguez, however, infuriates me so completely, you'd think I'd have the sense to not watch her. Clearly I don't, but I can at least vent my frustrations within the exceptionally narrow readership of this blog. (You know I love all 6 of you following along.)
1. Maggie Rodriguez is desperate to be a journalist. Desperate! Any time she is interviewing someone for what could be considered a "hard news story", she repeatedly and consistently interrupts her interviewee mid-sentence to angrily and assertively restate her question, even if the person is calmly and unevasively in the process of answering that exact question. She does this, no doubt, because she thinks this is what real journalists do. They go after the hard stories, they press their issues, and they never take no for an answer. So basically, Maggie Rodriguez is a journalist in a soap opera. Most people are visibly taken aback by this incredibly rude (not to mention obtuse) practice, but I have to admit I get a thrill on the few occasions someone has the balls to snap back at her. Like, seriously, give a person a minute to freaking answer, psycho.
2. Maggie Rodriguez has exactly zero objectivity. Make no mistake, she interrupts EVERYONE on those "hard news" items -- war, politics and social policy all qualify -- but if she happens to disagree with the basic philosophies (stated or assumed) of the person in question, her interruptions are even more obnoxious, almost always calling out the most lopsided, propaganda-filled point she can find. It's not that her opinions are wrong, per se, though it's fairly easy to discern that she and I don't lean the same way politically, it's just that she makes her opinions so painfully obvious to one and all. And, seemingly, in direct opposition with her desire to be taken seriously as a journalist. So now she's not merely a journalist in a soap opera, she's anchoring a FOX News clone on an episode of Law & Order.
3. Maggie Rodriguez lives for sensationalism. If there is outrage to be gleaned from a story, be it hard news, human interest or entertainment buzz, Maggie Rodriguez is there to exploit it. Even create it, sometimes. Erykah Badu in the nude at the Grassy Knoll? Maggie harps on the fact that there were CHILDREN present, as if the worst thing that could ever happen to a child in this world would be to see a woman's naked body, much less Erykah Badu's in the middle of some performance art. I'm neither defending nor supporting Badu, but it seems to me this is not the most important, or even the most interesting, aspect of the story. Or, hey, a killer whale tragically drowns a Sea World trainer? Every single one of Maggie's famed interruptions is about how that whale has ALREADY KILLED TWICE BEFORE, like we've got Shamu the Ripper on our hands. Nevermind that she has no information whatsoever on the first trainer's death and has chosen to ignore the fact that the second death was entirely the fault of the nimrod who broke into the killer whale aquarium. Nevermind the fact that all of these people died by drowning and not by being eaten (which, in case you were unaware, is how a killer whale would kill you if that's what it was out to do). Those stories are not nearly as interesting, as outrageous, as sensational as a serial murdering orca, let's face it, but when she puts her emphasis on something so clearly intended to rile people up, it completely undermines her as a reliable news source. It's like Stephen Colbert, but not funny.
4. Maggie Rodriguez has no idea what she's talking about. Literally, no idea. It goes in line with the sensationalism and the interruptions, in a way, because both those practices erupt from her not having a solid foundation on the topic at hand to start with, but it also extends far beyond the standard segment. Her interviews with celebrities on their latest projects are particularly amusing, especially if you have any knowledge whatsoever on the project because it is instantly clear that Maggie Rodriguez does not. Her questions are inane, irrelevant and consistently unoriginal. And she is not all too bright when discussing cooking or products or animals either. After one taped segment in which the focus was to discourage people from getting dogs unless they were ready for them, and to never get a dog that wouldn't fit your lifestyle, Maggie's first statement was that she thought everyone should go out and get a dog now. I'm not even kidding. Another time there was a feature on the push to get healthier food on the breakfast and lunch menus at schools, particularly in poverty districts, where the increase in childhood obesity is at its most severe. Maggie's question was whether it was even worth it to give them healthy food in school if they wouldn't have access to healthy options at home. What?!? Seriously, Mags, that doesn't even make sense. Now you're an SNL skit of Nancy Grace and Kathie Lee Gifford's unholy love child.
5. Maggie Rodriguez has a tin ear for social dynamics. I don't like it, but I understand these morning shows like to have manufactured schtick in place to make up for the lack of any real rapport among hosts. It's like how American Idol's schtick is that Randy boos Simon every single time he's introduced and Ryan picks on Simon for being gay and a bad dresser and Simon picks on Ryan for being gay and a bad host. I get it. It's stupid and annoying, but I get it. The Early Show's schtick is much less complex; in a nutshell, Dave Price, the weather guy, is a geek. That's it. Haha, Dave Price is a big ol' nerdbomber with no girlfriend. Or whatever. Like I said, it's stupid. The thing is, Maggie Rodriguez has no idea it's stupid. In fact, Maggie thinks it's funny. Not only does she think it's funny, Maggie thinks SHE'S funny when she plays it up. Even worse, Maggie Rodriguez thinks it's true. I'm pretty good at reading people (not as good as Edward, but then, I am not a mind-reading vampire (that you know of)), and I am here to tell you that when Maggie Rodriguez goes off the deep end about what a loser Dave Price is for being single and a big giant dork, not only does she think she is HILARIOUS, but she believes every word of it. In her mind, any grown adult who has never been married is, indeed, a total failure at life and anyone who likes theater and their dogs and science-y things like weather is a massive nerd, like it's a bad thing. Meanwhile, poor Dave Price is practically cringing on screen because while he gamely partakes in his role in the schtick and laughs most of it off, it is unavoidably obvious that Maggie hits a lot of nerves and makes him extremely uncomfortable when she gets into a rhythm and refuses to let up. Honestly, I would rather my CHILDREN see Erykah Badu walk naked down the street than to learn this is how people should treat and talk to each other, and I highly doubt I'm the only one.
Hey, Maggie, you know how you're the embodiment of a Nancy Grace SNL skit? Well, in the skit Nancy Grace is a Mean Girl.