Monday 24 Oct 2016

Why I Watch CNN
David Simmonds

“I’m Wolf BIitzer and you’re in The Situation Room.  Stay tuned for the most compelling coverage of Election 2012 that you could possibly imagine.  Of course I look fatigued: I’ve been at this gig for the past 18 hours straight.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Anderson Cooper steal it from me.  He’s already got two shows of his own.

“The first polls with real voters casting real votes will close in seven minutes.   But that’s not good enough for us.  We know you want the news in advance, so CNN has done exclusive exit tracking polls of voters in select districts.  They tell us that voters in Indiana are almost evenly divided between Obama and Romney.  That means it’s going to be a close election.

“But for more on the story, let’s go straight to our chief national correspondent John King.  Show us the fancy board, John.”

“Thanks, Wolf.  You wouldn’t believe how skilled I am at this.   Most people can’t even chew gum and walk.  I can talk to an audience and still whip through this board better than a TV weatherman forecasting a hurricane.  I can tell you any fact you want to know while those other lunk-head correspondents have to stand in polling booths and talk to ballot counters.  All I do is touch it with my fingers and it opens up.  Let’s take a look at a critical battleground firewall swing state, Iowa.

“You can see that with 2 per cent of the votes counted, Romney has a slight lead.  But take a closer look at Pahooka County.  Last time, that exurban district went 61 per cent for Obama. And they say that as Pahooka County goes, so goes Iowa.  In fact, since 1964 there have only been five elections in which a person has won the presidency and not won Pahooka County.  So the road to the White House definitely runs though Pahooka County.

“For my next trick, I’ll show you the demographics of Virginia Beach, where....”

“I’ll have to stop you right there, John, because we’re going live now to Obama Headquarters, where our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is standing by.  Jessica, what’s the mood like down there?”

“Well, Wolf, it’s still early but there’s a sense of nervous anticipation out behind me.  I spoke to a senior Obama aide who told me that they were cautiously optimistic.”

“That’s great, Jessica: stand by.  Now let’s go to our chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, who lives at the Romney campaign headquarters.   Candy, what’s the mood like down there?”

“Well, Wolf, it’s still early but there’s a sense of nervous anticipation out behind me. I spoke to a senior Romney aide who told me that they were cautiously optimistic.  

"But before I leave, let me note that it was ME who hosted the second debate and ME who put Romney in his place.   I really should have been covering Obama, or even doing your job, you little self-important twerp.”

“Great reporting, Candy: stand by. Now let’s turn to our top rated, most watched political panel, and ask David Gergen.  David, you have served no fewer than 19 presidents.  What do you notice so far?”

“It’s still too early to tell, Wolf, but what interests me is that as the votes pile up, you're starting to see a trend.  Some are voting for Obama, and some are voting for Romney.  If this trend continues, Obama could very well get more votes than Romney.  And I think that could be very interesting.   I hope that adds the requisite amount of dignified and serious analysis that you pay me to bring to this circus.”

“You’re bang on, David.  Let’s jump right to James Carville. James, you’re bald and have a Louisiana accent: say something outrageous.”

“I don’t give a bucketful of gators what Pahooka County does or what the national vote totals are.  All I care about is Florida. They have gators too.   And my momma always told me you can’t have a gator without a swamp.   Boy, I can’t believe you guys still pay me just to mouth off like this.  It’s really not that hard to put on a Louisiana accent.  I’ve been doing it for years.   When I was doing the Clinton campaign....”

“Sorry James, I’ll have to jump in right now.  Stand by, because CNN is ready to make a projection. The polls will close in 30 minutes, and CNN is ready to declare that Mitt Romney has taken Utah.  That’s right, folks, you heard it here first on CNN.     

“John King, you have an update for us?”

“Yes, Wolf, it’s the next batch of results from Pahooka County, where they say...”

...etc etc ad nauseam.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

More by David Simmonds:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.

Please report typos or corrections
to the editor