Jewish World Review April 30, 2003 / 28 Nisan, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
There is some good news in talk-show host Jerry Springer's possible run
for the U.S. Senate in Ohio: Springer is a Democrat.
Imagine: If Springer wins the primary, the Democratic nominee for president
has to stump in Ohio for the White House standing shoulder-to-shoulder with
America's most sleazy TV talk-show host.
I'd like to think that there are some Democrats running for the White House
who wouldn't stoop so low. But there's only one way to find out.
One GOP operative expects Springer, a former mayor of Cincinnati, to beat
state Sen. Eric Fingerhut in the race for the Ohio Senate seat held by
Republican George Voinovich because Ohio Dems are eager for a candidate who
can fund his own campaign -- as Springer is expected to do, should he choose
Which means Ohio voters could get a bird's eye view of modern class warfare
-- in this case, no-class versus high class, as the super-rich Springer goes
after the incumbent, who, according to USA Today, recently purchased his first
Talk about opposites. Conservatives have begun attacking Voinovich because
he and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, forced Senate GOPers to hold the proposed
Bush tax cut to $350 billion instead of $726 billion. Voinovich isn't backing
Even voters who disagree with Voinovich have to respect him for his
principled stand, whereas it's not clear that Springer has any principles.
Springer told Cox News that his show doesn't exploit people: "People choose to
go on, and the fact is that in a free society, that is exactly the opposite of
No, the opposite of exploitation is charity. Or selflessness. Exploit is to
"make use of meanly or unjustly for one's own advantage."
Monday, while preparing to write this column, I tuned in the last half of
Springer's show. The show is worse than I remembered.
The guests are pathetic people -- so inarticulate that they are reduced to
swearing and taking fey punches at each other, and so needy that they are
willing to publicly demean themselves for a chance to get on trash TV.
You hope their stories are fake. You hope that Windy, the stripper who went
on the show to tell her unemployed boyfriend Mike that she was dumping him for
a woman, only then to tell her girlfriend Stephanie that she was cheating on
her with a guy named Scott, is a put-up job. After all, Windy says she has
But it's hardly soothing to think that someone would see Windy's story as
The show is supposed to be a guilty pleasure, but it offers no pleasure --
and I say that as someone who enjoyed watching Tonya Harding take on Paula
Jones in the boxing ring.
Toward the end of the show, Springer invites audience members to tell the
guests what they think of them. No doubt the intent is provide home viewers
with a sense of release as they hear others say what they were thinking.
Except there is no relief in watching people with so little going for them
that they feel the need to lord over Springer's cast of losers.
Springer's political supporters are left urging observers to keep an open
mind and separate Springer the Man from Springer the Show. That can't be done.
Springer would have to do serious penance -- by ministering to lepers for a
decade, maybe -- for anyone to forget how he has degraded needy people for
The Jerry Springer show's audience isn't known for its subtlety. "Jerry.
Jerry. Jerry," it chants. And: "Take it off. Take it off," to female guests,
who have kept their shirts on. Producers constantly bleep out "dialogue" and
blur the image of women's chests. But they can't blur over the void where the
would-be senator's character is supposed to be.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate