ana navarro - feet on desk

*The other day on CNN Ana Navarro (pictured  above) gave Trump’s straight-outta-“The Twilight Zone” surrogates pure-dee hell.

The political strategist who became a CNN star during the presidential campaign and in the weeks after Trump’s win has never let an opposing TV talking head’s rank, status or title rattle her while telling it like it ‘tis.

Who she is has not been lost on CNN producers: that the Hispanic Navarro is a Republican who unceasingly scolds a GOP administration like it stole something (an election?) makes her even more compelling.

Friends know how I feel about Ana. Whenever she’s on TV, I receive texts: “Hey, your girl is on, and she’s tearin’ it up.”

So much so, in fact, that perhaps CNN decided to give Navarro’s wrath a rest. I hadn’t seen her lately. That is, until Trump’s tweets regarding Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Producers knew the response to this bit of Trump nastiness was a job for the sufficiently disgusted Navarro. She didn’t disappoint, and my boil was temporarily satiated.

Yes, I watch a lot of cable news. I watch because as an American I have a personal responsibility to know what is going on in the White House, this one especially. I watch because I am curious and things are happening so fast that I can’t turn away.

But mostly I watch because, unlike those Americans who feel that somehow all this will take care of itself, I know I don’t have the luxury of not being informed.

Some folks refuse to follow politics, saying they find it depressing. I can dig it. The developments coming out of the Trump White House on a daily basis–the dearth of tangible political experience, the lies, the unqualified cabinet appointments, the lies, the sheer foolishness, the lack of [fill in the blank] and did I mention the lies?—-is enough to invoke anger, fear and a sense of helplessness.

However, as an American—-hell, even if you live in a country that calls itself an ally of America—-you should know what’s going on. The only way to do this is to seek out valid information sources.

One of those sources, CNN, can drive you crazy if you don’t know how to take it in. I’ve created a method for myself.

First, I disciplined my daily TV news intake to about three hours a day (not all at once). Excessive? That’s actually down from the sun up to sundown schedule I used to keep.

While viewing, especially when hearing tales challenging all logic and reality, keeping calm is crucial. When I see that Breaking News logo, I understand that it may not be anything new, just another way of beating the same old story for another hour.

I don’t always succeed at keeping my cool, expressly when Trump surrogates counter facts with the sheer madness.

Sometimes there isn’t a TV screen so small that I am not tempted to leap inside of it to confront a lying scoundrel personally. I talk to the screen: “Now, you KNOW that’s some bullshit…What?? Somebody CHECK her on that crap…that’s right, that’s right, GET her….”

For me, that’s where people like Navarro come in. My anger is tempered when someone counters the B.S in a fashion that is intelligent, in control and says exactly what I’m thinking.

Watch long enough and you become familiar with CNN’s usual pundits and their styles. You depend on their pushback–to the point that when they ease up, are passive or get it wrong, you’re disappointed.

For instance, the other day David Gergen let me down. A CNN senior political analyst who served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents, Gergen’s voice is usually one of reason and wisdom.

But in assessing Trump’s behavior in Hamburg, Germany during the annual Gangsta’s Ball—-you might know it as the G-20 Summit—Gergen commented that Trump looked and acted “presidential”.

Wow, D.G. So now expectations for Trump are so low that merely keeping his trap shut and breathing through his nose is considered presidential? Stop it. We’re still cool, Gergen, because I need you. But you’re officially on probation.

I only leave CNN to catch my heroine, MSNBC’s Joy “The Destroyer” Reid. So unyielding is Ms. Joy-Ann’s quest for the truth that on air she’ll casually warn Trump surrogates with language that amounts to, “Wait–don’t come up in here with that shit today….”

During the campaign, Reid used to flog Trump rep Boris Epshteyn so unremittingly that I believe dude had a thing for the humiliation.

Yes, I know the anxiety political coverage can induce. But we need to pay attention. By ignoring it, here’s what you’re missing: the historic, unprecedented take-down of a ridiculously unfit American president and his administration by (A) a free, determined and offended press, (B) members of Washington’s proud and sho-nuff pissed intelligence community and (C) assorted well-placed, patriotic Capitol Hill employees, all working together, both covertly and boisterously, to do what a shameful Republican Congress simply refuses to—-expose Trump’s administration for the con operation that it is. This White House is a cancer that threatens to change everything.

Case in point: Back in May, the Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey Circus announced that after more than 100 years in business, it was calling it quits.

Imagine: a world-renown circus that survived all forms of leisure time entertainment competition, including radio, movies, television, video games and the infinite detraction offered by the Internet, finally folded its tent.

Certainly, ongoing protests of its treatment of performing animals played a role in the circus coming off the road, as did rival, more modern circuses.

But let’s keep it real: Barnum and Bailey quit because they know that after the Trump White House, no longer could they lay legitimate claim to being “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Or, for that matter, “circus.”

“House of Cards,” the Netflix fictional drama chronicling a rotten-to-the-core president, would also do well to cut its losses. I haven’t watched that show in weeks.

steve ivory (for front page)

Steven Ivory

Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]