freak show n. A sideshow in popular entertainment, featuring grotesquely developed people or animals.

It is my habit to listen to NPR and watch C-SPAN during my early morning hours. However, I usually shift to one of the Network Morning Shows at 7:00 EDT and catch a few minutes before I leave the house.

Social commentators long ago designated the network news collage of "human interest" stories and sensationalistic snippets the "FREAK SHOW."

A few random thoughts on the human menagerie this morning that was the Today Show on NBC:

The Lead Story. Blake and Jordin: Congratulations to Jordin, American Idol Winner. I watched Idol for the first time this season. I enjoyed it. And I am happy to finally understand why the show is such a phenomenon. It is high human drama--although not high art.

Kudos to Blake for being gracious and gentlemanly in defeat. It is rare and always refreshing to see that brand of civility, especially so when exhibited on a TV reality show. Nicely done.

The Big Story. The Rosie and Elisabeth smack down on the View. Rosie O'Donnell characterized her debate with Elisabeth Hasselbeck as "big, fat, lesbian, loud Rosie attacking dear, sweet, innocent, pure, Christian Elisabeth." Perhaps she was being sarcastic; nevertheless, it is cogent analysis.

I do not watch the View. But I have taken a passing interest in the ongoing wrestling match between Rosie and Elisabeth, and I have caught several of their exchanges on YouTube. My heart goes out to Elisabeth for the following reasons:

1. She is out there on the limb all by herself. She faces a hostile anti-Bush, anti-war and anti-Republican studio audience everyday.

2. Not only does the crowd yell over her--but her cohosts do as well. She is ally-less.

3. Often times I feel that she is not quite up to the task of swimming up that stream. In fairness, it is a mean and nasty piece of water. Playing before that sort of unfriendly crowd day-in and day-out must be hell.

Yesterday, however, Elisabeth brought the hard stuff and hammered the home team. She stood her ground and kept asking the unanswerable question: what did you mean to say? In the end, Rosie's bluster and misdirection were not enough to distract any reasonable observer from Rosie's disingenuousness. See for yourself here.

Human Interest. Sixty-year-old mommies. Modern technology makes it possible for women past traditional child-bearing years to give birth. The list of geriatric moms is growing. Is this a good thing?

A doctor says: "who are we to judge?" Gray-haired mom says it is about "empowering women." No mention of what the kindergartner (or his friends) will think of his retirement-aged mommy on the first day of school. You have to love the "ME" Generation. What will they come up with next?

Read more here and vote as to whether you think women in their sixties having babies are irresponsible. I love democracy-TV.

More Human Interest. Some indicted person now maintains a website "that it has identified more than 4,300 informants and 400 undercover agents."

Why isn't this story on ABC?

The kicker: the entire interview was conducted with the "exposer" in shadows. Evidently, he did not think it safe to reveal his countenance to the world.

And that was just the first half hour...

Equal Time: I often watch Good Morning America. GMA is generally just as freakish...