The sheer pervasiveness of the influence Donahue once wielded (in a society where television ranks as the ultimate arbiter of popular taste and opinion, we all feel its effects, whether we watch it constantly or refuse to allow a set into our homes) behooves us to subject the Donahues of the future to vigilant scrutiny and, if need be, full-throated condemnation — even as we delight in the flaccid ratings that — twice — caused the termination of this long-time American pestilence.

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