Friday, March 8, 2013

The Fox News-iest segment in Fox News history

As Jonathan Chait puts it, this might be the Fox News-iest segment in Fox News history:
If you have never seen Fox News before, here is a four-minute clip that captures the essence of the network so perfectly that you need never watch anything on it again. It’s all here. At the center, you have an old conservative white guy who is enraged about a fact that exists only in his addled brain. At his side, there’s a blonde sidekick who nods along with him but doesn't get in the way. And ready to absorb his anger is the network’s Emmanuel Goldstein figure, feebly attempting a rebuttal that quickly devolves into a sniveling plea for civility...

The subject of the debate is Bill O’Reilly’s belief, widely shared within the conservative bubble, that President Obama has offered no concessions on long-term spending cuts. This is factually untrue — Obama has offered a plan including more than a trillion dollars in reduced spending to a variety of programs, including Medicare and Social Security, as well as the reduced spending on interest payments. Obama’s budget also details his proposed cuts to scores of programs in an extensive 205-page document. ...

The debate grows more bizarre as Colmes manages to slip in the fact —  a true one — that Obama has proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid:
O’Reilly: “Give me one program he said he’s cut!”

Colmes: “He would cut Medicare and Medicaid … ”

O’Reilly: “That’s not a specific program!”

(Medicare and Medicaid are, in fact, specific programs.)

At this point, O’Reilly pivots from denouncing Obama for failing to name any specific cuts to denouncing Colmes as a liar and claiming that Colmes has failed to name any specific programs that Obama would cut. This is where the segment truly achieves its Fox News transcendence. After all, the viewing audience surely believes O’Reilly that Obama has not named any programs that he would cut. But they just watched Colmes name two programs that he thinks, however falsely, Obama would cut. Yet O’Reilly screams that he hasn’t. ...

Everyone here is playing their appointed role. Colmes is pleading with O’Reilly to stop yelling at him and whimpering things like “we’ll just have to disagree.” Crowley is affirming O’Reilly’s correctness and cheerfully allowing him to interrupt after a couple of seconds of talking so as not to yammer on in a way that annoys him. And O’Reilly himself, after finally calming down, reaffirms his own white-is-black claim with such conviction that viewers have probably already forgotten that he is feverishly denying something that they witnessed with their own eyes. The segment has achieved such Fox News perfection that it can never be reached again. Roger Ailes should simply loop it endlessly for the rest of time.

Yes, everyone is playing his appointed role at Fox. Bill O'Reilly is playing the same part we saw Clint Eastwood attempt at the Republican National Convention: the angry old white man yelling at an imaginary Obama in an empty chair. Facts have no place in that, because it's all just right-wing fantasy.

Monica Crowley, one of Fox's stable of interchangeable blondes, is just someone for the old men in their audience to admire, while she expresses agreement with everything O'Reilly says (clearly, the wish-fulfillment of every old man watching the show). But she's no one O'Reilly ever has to worry about. He just interrupts her and talks over her whenever he wants, because she's not actually important.

And Alan Colmes plays his usual role as the ineffectual liberal whipping boy. He used to share billing with Sean Hannity on the Hannity & Colmes show, but his role there was the same as it is now. He's simply the punching bag. He's not supposed to fight back, certainly not effectively. That's not his role at Fox 'News.'

And if that's Fox News perfection, this might be Glenn Beck perfection:

At least, I've heard that described as Glenn Beck doing the Glenn Beckiest thing ever, though I'm not sure that this is any 'Glenn Beckier' than anything else he does. Heck, he's not even using a blackboard in this clip.

On the other hand, he is mopping the floor with the American flag, then casually tossing it aside, while he tearfully explains how America is "gurgling." (Notice how there's not one piece of evidence to back up his rhetoric? Clearly, this isn't aimed at his audience's brains. This is all emotion, not one shred of rational thought.)

And, hmm,... should someone maybe tell Glenn Beck that movies are fiction? Or would that just break his little heart?


Anonymous said...

Not true

WCG said...

No? Which part? Is there another Fox News segment which is 'Fox News-ier' than this one? Would Glenn Beck's heart not be broken to learn that movies are just fiction? Does he not have a heart?

Your comment, Anonymous, was admirably succinct, but not particularly useful.