TV news pioneer John McLaughlin dies at 89

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I remember going over to a friend’s place every week during my college years, watching his show and drinking beers. It was entertaining as hell and it made for one great drinking game.

I also think that the SNL Phil Hartman Frank Sinatra roundtable skit with “Shinehead” O’Connor (a memorable Jan Hooks) owes much to JM.

RIP, John.


I really, really don’t understand that. But then I don’t understand professional wrestling either.


All I can recall about this gentleman is… WRONG!!!


Nor do I. But John McLaughlin was the only guy doing this shtick and it was really a novelty in the U.S. His guests would continue to return week after week and he’d constantly shout them down with “WRONG!” The look on Eleanor Clift’s face was priceless. Unfortunately, everyone else came along with their stupid yelling matches and ruined everything for the rest of us.

I never liked John Major, but I loved watching Questions for the Prime Minister during his tenure, too.

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…one of [Nixon’s] fiercest defenders through the Watergate scandal.

Imagine if that was the thing you were famous for.


I mainly remember him for giving a natinal TV platform to Pat Buchanan.

This guy:


The precursor in media to the relentless stupidity of Pat Buchanon and Bill O’Reilly. There’s no more to be said about his public persona, except “fuck 'im,” and move on.

WRONG! You had Special K with Banana!


I remember that show coming on I think after Dr Who on PBS. Never watched it. I do remember the SNL skits!

Crap. I actually liked the show. Guilty pleasure I guess. It had a goofy, campy quality about it, and most of the time the panelists seemed to be having fun even when they were screaming over each other. It never seemed to take itself too seriously, unlike a lot of the copy cats that followed. I don’t know what it was, but McLaughlin’s stupid schtick never got old for me (“Wrong!”).

Freddie “the beetle” Barnes… MortTON Kondrake… Eleanor Clift (who I like, but boy did she grow more and more to resemble a Skesis from the Dark Crystal)… Jack Germond… etc. etc. God, I feel old now.

Byeh Byeh!

  1. My father, who was pretty liberal but a couch potato and not big into slow analytical news when he go older, watched McLaughlin religiously. I HATED that schtick. Squabbling bullshit that never shed light on anything. Really, this started the whole slide down to Fox News and blowhard hate-punditry.
  2. On the other hand: Once when I was visiting with the folks on the holidays McLaughlin did an actual, quiet, one-on-one holiday special with a scientist. Suddenly, there was this McLaughlin who know about Teilhard deChardin and Loren Eiseley. Wowwwwww.

General Electric, sole backer of the McLaughlin Group, has long been a promoter of conservative ideology. John McLaughlin, in fact, convinced GE chief Jack Welch to bankroll his show over a dinner with President Ronald Reagan — who got his start in politics doing speaking tours for GE (Esquire, 11/92).

I’m sure my tears will start flowing at any moment.

Hardest Talk! R.I.P. you old bastard.


But then we got the SNL version where Carvey called him “Patty Patty Buke Buke” and I forever call Pat that now.


Watching this over bowls of over-sugared Cheerios on Sunday mornings is one of the reasons I like politics, policy and debate. Rest in peace John. BYE-BYE!


This guy eventually led to Sean Hannity and all the other chronically WRONG! Fox News personalities. Fuck all of 'em.

Are you forgetting something?