Greg Beato Gets Youthenized

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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.

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  1. You know, what’s missing from this post is a comparison with SouthPark, and perhaps a timely link to, say, an interview with its creators?

  2. “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.”

    Theoretically it is designed to get people to watch Fox News and line Rupert Murdoch’s pocket book. I really don’t think they care how the utes as it were vote. Yes, Fox News makes its money by claiming to be the conservative alternative to the normal liberal media, the point of doing that is to get viewers and make money. Is this guy really so stupid that he thinks that the RNC started Fox News?

  3. It wasn’t Vincent Price’s head on the fly, it was David Hedison’s. Vincent Price crushed it with a rock.

  4. I feel bad for the new Fox shows. Though they’ll never call on good ol’ Lamar, I could make their shows 28x more funny. Political comedy isn’t about making a political point. Many times, it’s about the absurdity of it all. The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour is clearly pushing a message and, as a second thought, trying to be funny about it rather than making comedy and then being political. I’ve yet to see 1/2 Hour make fun of a mainstream Republican.

    Funny and its sibling Studid, however, are bipartisan. 1/2 Hour will never be funny until they realize this. For example, the BO Magazine bit was funny, but it looks like a cheap shot when there’s no joke about, say, the total number of wives in the GOP prez pool.

    The Che Guevara t-shirt bit could have been funny, but the stupid anchor was delivering straight, unfunny political rhetoric (about Che’s concentration camp influence). Instead of your stupid right-wing monologue, why not say in an ultra-vain voice (a la Kilborn), “Yeah, concentration is cool, and so’s Adderall, right Kids?” OK, so I’m not funny, but neither is the show.

  5. Here’s a video of the scene – Vincent Price looks on as some other guy does the rock-crushing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqpLF-KS8BI

  6. John raises an interesting question: Is Murdoch doing FN for political reasons, or financial? If he had to choose between the two, which would he pick?

  7. I happened to catch some of the 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour the other night. It seems that not being funny is the point of that show.

    If they told jokes that were actually funny, even if they had a conservative sensibility behind them, the audiences laughter would just be the normal human response to humor, without political meaning.

    But if you make your comedy as aggressively unfunny as it is right-wing, then laughing at it makes one and insider, part of the chosen few who are Right enough to laugh.

    No one wants to say that the emperor has no punch line.

  8. On an unrelated topic – conspiracy theory like:

    Is it possible that the U.S. placed a secret operative within the Iranian squad that captured the Brits? And that said operative “pushed” them to capture the Brits?

    After all, the war in Iraq is steadily losing support. President Bush isn’t getting his way when it comes to the funding the war. The administration is hawking Iran’s nuclear threat the way they did Iraq’s WMD threat. 9/11 was the straw that lead to the war in Iraq…could this be the straw that leads to the war in Iran?

  9. John,

    Asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if his News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: “No, I don’t think so. We tried.”

    But he’s just trying to make a buck, not advance any politics.

  10. “But if you make your comedy as aggressively unfunny as it is right-wing, then laughing at it makes one and insider, part of the chosen few who are Right enough to laugh.”

    Quite so. I have found the Daily Show (since Kilborn left it, anyway,) rather tiresome for the same reason.

  11. Since the US had basically (actually) no assets in Iraq prior to the invasion, I’d guess that at best the number in Iran is a low multiple of that amount. To think that we have assets (okay, maybe I wasn’t fair, we have managed to get a couple defectors) and have them specific enough to be in a specific squad and that capturing Brits would not require approvals FAR up the chain of command is a bit ludicrous.

    It’s not going to be nefarious plotting on either side that’ll lead to war between us and Iran (though there will be plenty on both sides), it’ll be that both sides are headed by retards.

    ANYWAY, back on topic. I’ve not see the Red Eye show, is that worthwhile to anyone? I’ve HEARD it’s funny, but I don’t know how much I believe it. Especially given what I’ve seen of the 1/2 Hour 100 Percent Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution

  12. “Asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if his News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: “No, I don’t think so. We tried.”

    But he’s just trying to make a buck, not advance any politics.”

    As opposed to say Ted Turner? I guess you never watched CNN when Turner owned the network because of his political stances on things? Please tell me that you are not so much of a paronoid that you think Fox News is anything beyond a money making operation for Murdoch. Further, even if it were, last I looked it was a free country. What is wrong with it if it were? Or are you one of those people who thinks that only those with whom you agree with should have the right to speak?

  13. Bergamot: analysis of Murdoch’s operations around the world show one common theme. He supports whoever is in power and has control of the regulatory apparatus. His new Chinese network is said to be rather less critical and hard-hitting than the State media.

    When the US and Chinese finally go at it Murdoch’s minions will cheering both sides with equal fervor.

  14. Some James | March 29, 2007, 2:38pm | #

    It’s not going to be nefarious plotting on either side that’ll lead to war between us and Iran (though there will be plenty on both sides), it’ll be that both sides are headed by retards.

    LOL… truer words have never been spoken.

  15. Even for John, that last post sounded way over the top. My Troll-dar is ticking slightly.

  16. Jimmy DaGreek,

    I find that a lot less plausible than the idea that the Iranians a) screwed up their coordinates or b) wanted to grab a bunch of Coalition sailors, for reasons of their own.

  17. I like the way John both acknowledged that Murdoch uses Fox to push its politics, then said that such an idea was ridiculous, then finnished by saying there’s nothing wrong with that.

    We liberals feel quite proud when we manage to hold two contradictory ideas in our heads at the same time. I guess we’re a bunch of pikers.

  18. James,

    I don’t recall Murdoch “kow-tao”-ing to the Clinton White House during his term.

  19. Jimmy,

    Yeah, that’s so much easier than just planting some WMDs.

  20. Red Eye has its funny moments. You get five relatively intelligent people talking about one topic, trying to be funny, and odds are they will occasionally say something that actualyl is funny. I agree with Weigel though, Neil Hamburger is the best part of that show.

  21. emerson,

    That’s a given. Neil Hamburger is the best part of the world.

  22. “Quite so. I have found the Daily Show (since Kilborn left it, anyway,) rather tiresome for the same reason.”

    But the Daily Show makes fun of both sides, and isn’t anywhere near as mean-spirited. It’s almost like the goal of the show is to prove to the world that right wingers are unfunny assholes who think they’re funny because they got a bunch of ditzy sycophants around making them feel virile and comedic. As it turns out, they’re just assholes on TV. Craig Kilborn’s schtick was as the uber-vain prick. The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour isn’t schtick.

  23. Most of the Daily Show’s humor also comes from the fun it makes of the media, who are always willing to provide ample material. I thought Colbert’s “infamous” WH Correspondent Dinner spiel was more of a hit at the media than Bush (which would also be why they just reported on Bush dancing w/ some doppelganger than his speech)

  24. Joe, why is the little word “if” so hard for you to understand. It is a simple concept really; Idea “x” is untrue, but even if it were true, you still wouldn’t have a point. You are truly constitutionally incapable of seeing the world except in one way. Fox News must be an evil plot by Republicans to brainwash Americans. To admit anything else is apparently against some prime directive in your source code.

  25. I didn’t do nuffin. And if I did, it was self-defense.

    Don’t worry, John, I know exactly what your “if” meant.

  26. “”””Asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos if his News Corp. managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq, Murdoch said: “No, I don’t think so. We tried.””””

    From the above, the follow statment is true. “News Corp. tried to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq.” He is admitting failure in his attempt to do so.

    I would say he is in it for both politics and money. Sounds like 99.8% of the people we send to DC.

  27. Is this guy really so stupid that he thinks that the RNC started Fox News?

    Let’s just say that Roger Ailes had more than a passing acquaintance with the RNC.

  28. I would say he is in it for both politics and money. Sounds like 99.8% of the people we send to DC.

    Or 99.9% of the people in the journalism business. Murdoch makes a lot of money, more than they do over at MSNBC or CNN portraying himself as part of the right wing conspiracy. If fortunes changed and the money was to be made being on the left, I can’t beleive he wouldn’t switch sides. As it is, Fox News does a lot better than Air America, so Murdoch is plays up the network’s image as the voice of the Right.

  29. I agree with John. I hate bitching about the slant of the media, because the media’s main job is sell eyeballs to advertisers. That is what they are paid for. You can choose the media you want, and if you don’t like something, go somewhere else.

    Though when I do a Reason search on +John +NYT and “Hit & Run”, I have to say that I am amused that the third result returned is a post by John bitching about the NYT. I didn’t go too deep but from a cursory glance of the results, bitching about the Times is something of a hobby.

    So John, would you say the Times is the flip of Murdoch — there to “get [readers] and make money” as an liberal alternative to Fox? Or do you suspect they might have a deeper “agenda?”

    John | July 25, 2006, 8:55am | #
    One other thing about the NYT. Are they really that stupid? The workers are fucking illegal. That means you could set the minimum wage rate at $100 an hour and it wouldn’t make any difference because the employers are breaking the law by hiring them in the first place. An increased minimum wage would just make hiring illegals more attractive. Why hire an American at $10 an hour when you can hire and illegal at $5 and stick the government with the cost of his healthcare? The higher you raise the minimum wage the greater the demand for illegals and the more of a disadvantage there will be for Americans. How is it that you can work for the paper of record and have no understanding of basic economics?

  30. Greg Beato sez – “This may sound counterintuitive, especially to conservatives, who tend to believe that even real news should be as fake as possible.”

    Grief! That article has to be the severest beating since Mencken’s take on the Snopes trial, at least. I hope i don’t evAr get on Beato’s s**tlist.

  31. Greg Gutfeld’s not trying to beat Keith Olbermann… he’s trying to beat Alton Brown! (But he is trying to brainwash the youth into voting Republican, because he’s got a quota to meet for Satan.)

  32. Mediahater, that John post is about the Times and their workers, not about the Times and their readers or how they present the news.

  33. P.S. You guys watch Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger, right? (Google it!)

  34. I wonder if the new Fox News shows are more about not allowing the Daily show and Colbert to go unaswered.

  35. TrickyVic nails it.

  36. Hey, thanks for telling us how we “feel!”

    And if you think the show only bashes “liberal Democrats and celebrities,” you obviously haven’t watched it all that often. Which is fine, obviously, except that you’ve deemed yourself qualified to write about it.

    I don’t need to speak for anyone else on the show, but as for me, I’m a libertarian and in my halftime report and tomorrow’s story segments I make fun of the right as often as I do the left.

    To be clear, if you think the show ain’t funny, more power to ya! Just be accurate in your depiction.

    Oh, and if you could see our story meetings, you’d know that the idea that we “carefully” choose our targets based on some perceived Foxean political agenda is laughable.

  37. Wait… story meetings?

  38. What’s with all this “Fox is EEVILLL!” crap? Don’t we get enough of that on EVERY OTHER WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET?

    Call me when Keith Olbermann (yeah, I wanna get all my political opinions from a FUCKING SPORTSCASTER) has Neil Hamburger on his show. Bill “Falafels” O’Reilly is the most awesome TV personality since Jimmy Hart, “The Mouth Of The South”! If only he too had a megaphone! And where else can I get my daily dose of Alan Colmes, the Left’s favorite commentator made from reanimated corpse parts?

    In other words, MAKE MINE FOX!!

  39. Andrew,

    Can you provide just one example of a segment that makes fun of the right from the show. The only people that I have ever seen making critical statements about the right on Fox News were the liberal guests and they only lasted a few seconds before the mic was cut. Fox News is the propaganda arm of the GOP and I just cannot believe they would allow a single statement or joke that made fun of their party or ideology.

  40. He already gave two examples: The Halftime Report and Tomorrow’s Stories. But it sounds like your mind is made up.

  41. Well, you’re starting out with a lie since nobody’s mic has EVER been cut off on our show.

    Last week I said of a new study showing that 33% of DC was illiterate that that’s gone up from 24% since Bush and his cronies came to town.

    There’s tons more like that, but since you’re ignorant enough to think that we’re receiving our rundowns from Karl Rove I guess I’m wasting my time with you anyway.

  42. “Well, you’re starting out with a lie since nobody’s mic has EVER been cut off on our show.”

    It was pretty close that one time, but Gutfeld was able to hold off security and keep talking all the way to the commercial.

  43. Jim Treacher:

    Scott asked for an example of a segment from the show that has made fun of the right, unless you think the whole show constitutes a segment that makes fun of the right, you didn’t answer the question being asked.

  44. well, there’s really no time for us to make fun of “the right,” what with satisfying our republican party masters by talking about bestiality and drug use, and by dealing with the guests they force upon us like openly gay ex-nba’er john amaechi.

    maybe if you define “the right” it’d be easier. is reason magazine on the right? cuz guess what, folks – to most of the country, libertarians are on the right, and if anything, i think our show slants libertarianish. i’m the only self-described libertarian, but bill and greg certainly share many libertarian views, particularly when it comes to the nanny state.

    so is mocking and deriding people who like to run other people’s lives only making fun of the left?

    oh, and ‘biologist” – treacher was referring to my two SEGMENTS on the show, not the whole show. and though i really can’t be bothered, if there’re transcripts out there anywhere you can see for yourself that i make fun of or take shots at republicans on a fairly regular basis.

    again, all of this is pointless – if you think the show is stupid, or not funny, more power to ya. but don’t tar it with a brush it doesn’t deserve just because you’ve get a hardon by ragging on foxnews.

  45. Andrew:

    thanks for the correction

    Jim:

    I apologize for misunderstanding

  46. Although you can’t really blame those who see evidence of conspiracy in the dark heart of Red Eye. For example, it’s not readily apparent why Gutfeld has to show us his unicorn drawings night after night, but Rove keeps hissing, “All will be revealed in time… all in good time…”, before melting into the shadows with a hollow, soul-freezing chuckle.

  47. I just want to say it’s nice to see the verb ‘julienned.’ It’s an old pop-culture reference that a lot of young whippersnappers may not get.

    I’ve always wondered what julienned fries taste like. I picture them as being thin and really crispy.

  48. Fox News has a right-wing bias and I wish they’d come out and say that rather than pushing that “Fair and Balanced” stuff all the time, but I see liberals represented on their shows far more often than you see a decent conservative viewpoint on CNN, although this is changing somewhat because FOX is making enough money that it’s hard for the networks to avoid.

  49. Um, CNN gave Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs their own shows.

    They may not be decent, but they are certainly conservative.

  50. My biggest issue with Red Eye is its provision of a forum for whackjob Rachel Marsden. Any guy who had engaged in such antics would probably be in jail, but she gets a cable gig? Does it have anything to do with the fact that she resembles Ann Coulter v.2?

  51. Mmmmm. I’m dreaming of being the chicken salad in a Rachel Marsden/Neil Hamburger sandwich. CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!!

  52. “””but I see liberals represented on their shows far more often than you see a decent conservative viewpoint on CNN, “””

    But how often does the liberal win? Fox uses liberal to give the impression they are fair and balanced. For decent conservative viewpoints on CNN you have, Glen Beck. He claims he’s not, but he is.

    I think I have Fox figured out. It’s how they respond to the issue question.
    Here’s an example

    1. Are the right wingers correct about X
    2. Are the liberals correct about X

    In question one, the interviewer will try to confirm the right wingers ARE correct.

    In question two, the interviewer will try to confirm the liberals are NOT correct.

    If they were truly fair and balanced they would not use two different tactics depending if it’s pro-left or pro-right. Also, you attract the viewers that align with your philosophy. If Fox was fair and balanced, there viewers would be fair and balanced. They have far more conservative than liberal viewers, that should sum it up.

    It’s really close to the same for all 24 hour news channels. It’s just Fox is trying to BS everyone with that fair and balanced crap.

    I will call them fair and balanced in that they promote the left and right sides of conservatism.

    For me personally, if you have to advertise your fair and balanced, your probably not.

  53. Having seen both (I lasted a minute and a half into the 1/2 hour whatever), Red Eye is the infinitely better show, but probably only because Gutfeld is a legitimately funny guy independent of his politics (the ABP he put out for Norman Mailer was a true classic). Not enough to make me actually watch the show, but Gutfeld’s a funny guy.

    I’d be stunned if Gutfeld didn’t take the occassional swipe at Republicans or at least the religious right from time to time, but then there’s already a million people out there already do that.

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