Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for August 25th, 2007

Apples to elephants

Posted by digglahhh on 25 August 2007

To only Dick Cheney’s surprise, Fox News’s answer to The Daily Show, The ½ Hour News Hour has been cancelled. The show’s last episode is set to air on September 16th. I can’t speak about the quality of the show, as I have only seen about half of a single episode. Many lefty blogs claimed that the show was unfunny, uncreative and not entertaining, strange since conservatives are known for their incredible senses of humor and lefty blogger are known for their sense of objectivity. Anyway, the little bit that I caught didn’t seem to be any worse than the vast majority of other comedy shows I’ve stumble upon, up and down the dial.

Regardless of its comedic value, or lack thereof, the fact that this showed aired on Fox News was an affront to news networks as a form of journalism. Even one who agrees with the underlying views of the show should find it improper, distasteful, and debasing to a news network. While marketed as an antidote to The Daily Show, and a response to the alleged uproar calling for conservative satire, the key difference here is that The Daily Show is aired on Comedy Central. Couldn’t Murdoch or any of his higher-ups just broadcast this show on one of the other dozens of channels owned under the Fox umbrella? Perhaps one not devoted to airing actual news…

Conservatives constantly charge the media with being biased toward the liberals. “The liberal media” has even become something of an accepted phrase. But, “the liberal media” has never resorted to broadcasting a show on a news network that undermines the idea of exclusively news-based content in order to mock their political opponents. The airing of this show was the most explicitly partisan-biased stance I’ve ever seen a news network take.

Jon Stewart often finds himself in the middle of these apples-to-oranges comparisons. On that now famous appearance on Crossfire, Stewart had to remind Tucker Carlson (who was grilling Stewart for not asking John Kerry hard-enough hitting questions) that the name of his network had the word “comedy” in it and that the show preceding his was “puppets making crank phone calls.”

The comparison is invidious anyway; Stewart is not nearly as partisan as Fox’s reaction show seemed to be. There is little, if any, chance that The Daily Show morphs into a continuous coronation ceremony for the Dems if they take the office in 2008. The systemic absurdity of our political culture is fully bipartisan, after all, and what comic deliberately cuts his potential material in half?

Somehow, criticizing the system has become an act branded as liberal. That raises two points. One, it follows that corrupting that system is part of the conservative agenda. If raising issues about, and calling for investigations into, say, vote count accuracy is “liberal, then, by extension, is disregard for vote-count accuracy and election transparency conservative? Those who make such accusations of The Daily Show rarely consider the implications about their positions that come from the creation of a dichotomy.

Two, what does it say about the political make-up of the media itself, that something like The Daily Show can be branded so blatantly leftist? Would a media comprised mainly of wingnut lefties (as the right likes to imply) consider a relatively rational and subdued comedy show to be stark, raving leftist? Do you know any real lefties watch this show and marvel at how progressive it is? Of course, not! Now, would The Daily Show appear that way, by contrast, to one whose internal political compass was calibrated way toward the right? Probably. Where along the political spectrum is the “center” if a show like The Daily Show registers way left of that center?

Let me spell it out for you; the media is so heavily controlled by the right that they have been able to successfully convince people that the industry is controlled by the left. We have been told that The New York Times is a leftist institution. Yeah, compared to The Heritage Foundation

The people who accuse the media of liberal bias don’t see anything wrong with airing a Dem-bashing satire on a news network to offer a rebuttal to a moderate satire aired on a comedy network. Trying to kill an ant with a sledgehammer, huh… What party does that remind you of? Still not sure, well let me remind you that the show’s cancellation is confirmation that the ants are once again outsmarting the sledgehammer’s wielder.

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