Greg Beato Gets Youthenized


The acerbic sometime-Reasonoid Greg Beato has an exhaustive/ed take on Fox News' two attempts to reach that young, hip audience, starting with the 1/2 Hour News Hour (already julienned here) and continuing with the less buzzed-about Red Eye.

On Politically Incorrect, the fun was heightened by the presence of major celebrities determined to be taken seriously. On Red Eye, the panelists are mostly B-list pundits and bloggers who realize they're just there to fill time cheaply, and they attack the job like high-school students serving detention — they're sleepy, indifferent, and when they can rouse themselves to it, cynically glib. Hollywood celebrities get bashed, liberals are derided, but porn gets a thumbs-up — it's like The O'Reilly Factor minus the phony traditional-values posturing. Theoretically, this should help convince the youth it's OK to vote Republican, but only time will tell if the experiment's successful. Right now, it looks a little bit like a fly with Vincent Price's head on it.

Having watched Red Eye—more than once!—this seems a bit off. The hosts don't seem bored as much as they seem phony. They realize their profile is being pumped up by simply being on this TV show, and they don't want the ride to stop. They're also aware it's a late night show which, unusually for Fox, attracts fewer eyeballs than Keith Olbermann's latest Sermon on the Mount about what Karl Rove had for breakfast. So to fit with Fox, they very lamely, very carefully, bash liberal celebrities and Democrats, pushing into scatological territory when their jokes start flatlining. It's a real-time example of what Radley Balko asked about last month: How journalists/experts change when they realize they can make more money as "right-wing (or left-wing) hack" than as "thoughtful opinion leader."

Then again, host Greg Gutfeld has occasionally booked Neil Hamburger to discuss politics, so it's more or less the finest hour on TV.