Flashbacks on Flashpoint

Nov 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm

In case you didn’t notice, I had the honor of appearing on Flashpoint over the weekend. In fact, I was told that my blog post, “Five Things the Mainstream Media Won't Tell You About Detroit's Bankruptcy,” inspired the segment. No, I don’t blame you for missing my appearance on Flashpoint. It airs at 10 a.m. on Sundays, and given that I’m prone to midnight toasts on Saturday night, it isn’t morning church services that usually keep me from catching the weekly debate show hosted by Devin Scillian.

It was quite an experience. We were lined up along a much different bar than I usually am, and with much different company. All we had was bottled water!

First of all, the show was taped earlier, so I can’t blame my appearance on any Saturday-night bender. I dropped in at WDIV on a Thursday afternoon, and early, too, I might add. So early, in fact, that I had to sit for too long watching Kathie Lee and Hoda drinking wine on the air, even talking in lavatory toilet stalls. After a few minutes of this, I needed a drink. One by one, my fellow guests arrived: Michigan Citizen publisher Catherine Kelly, Michigan Chronicle editor and WDET political analyst Bankole Thompson, and Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley.

We were led into the studio by the stylish Brandon Crawford, where the gracious Devin Scillian awaited us. Scillian is a class act. He runs the show well, and has the warm, hospitable manner that makes you feel sorta comfy in the unusual, high-key world of a daytime talkshow. After a few technical false starts, and a pregnant silence during which you could’ve heard a pin drop, we were off and running.

I think I did pretty well for a guy who hasn’t been on television in … a long time. There’s a definite learning curve that goes with appearing to be an “expert,” and given that all I did was repackage the fuller, better news reporting of Curt Guyette and Ryan Felton into a turd-in-the-punchbowl post at the right time may have shown. I tried holding my own, and think I really got my footing toward the end. Next time, I think I’ll have to put on a suit, though. I felt like a bowler who just walked off the lane for a quick interview with Chris Schenkel.

Bankole Thompson looked great. I really envied his snappy wardrobe. But I have a problem processing his thick accent and found it difficult to understand exactly what Thompson was putting down. But his delivery was smooth, and he knows how to seize a moment of silence and make his points. Obviously, here's a guy who has much more experience than Yours Truly.

Catherine Kelly did a terrific job, I thought, and instilled a bit of confidence in this TV rookie, because you can always bring up the bigger picture and ask questions about what didn’t happen. Asking the larger, unasked questions is the role of small media and alternative papers, and it’s a good strategy for lefties on TV.

But the smoothest of all was Nolan Finley. You really have to stand in awe of a guy like Finley, who looks more like Walter White in person than you’d think from his newspaper photo. He knows how to toss hunks of red meat at his neoconservative audience. Don’t ask questions. Provide answers. If you don’t want to appear entirely unsympathetic, rub your hands of sad realities, but, again, arrive back at solid answers. Don’t leave anything up for grabs.

He’s also pretty funny. Asked by Scillian, “Does anybody agree with all your opinions,” he replied, “I hope not. I’d be out of a job.”