Abby on Fox & Friends: We did something today we hadn't done in some time. We watched maybe forty minutes of the cable news show, Fox & Friends Weekend.
Near the start of the century, we described Fox & Friends as the dumbest show in TV news history. Today, with Abby Huntsman cast as the conventionally good-looking youngish woman positioned between the pair of male chimps, the show presented a truly impressive array of propaganda and dumbness.
Was that [Name Withheld] to Huntsman's right? Good God, he was egregious! That said, Huntsman's willingness to play the fool seemed especially striking.
Abby Huntsman arrived on the planet blessed with every advantage. Her family is extremely wealthy. Her father, the former governor Jon Huntsman, is neither crazy nor stupid.
Despite these advantages, Huntsman is willing to stoop and grovel. There are lessons to learn from that.
During an earlier regime, Huntsman was cast in the role of the outnumbered conservative co-host on MSNBC's copy-cat show, The Cycle. On that gruesome 3 PM program, Huntsman was cast as the lone conservative overwhelmed by three liberal co-hosts.
The show was a fairly obvious knock-off of Fox's 5 PM gonger, The Five, on which one liberal co-host is "balanced" by four conservatives.
The Cycle aired during the period when MSNBC was trying to score through a blend of fatuous youth, conventional types of "diversity" and high telegenicity. As a business proposition, the approach didn't work, and most of the stars from the era are gone.
Toure is gone, as is Ronan Farrow. Krystal Ball, Alex Wagner and Huntsman herself are all gone.
(Big Ed, the working-stiff outlier during that era, now works for the Russkies. What type of "diversity" did Farrow bring? Gullibles, please! Son of big movie stars!)
When she appeared on The Cycle, Huntsman was cast the role of a not-crazy conservative. Most of the time, the other co-hosts even pretended to like her.
This morning, there was no level of The Dumb to which Huntsman didn't descend. Granted, the chimps were somewhat worse. But what is Huntsman's excuse?
Watching Huntsman degrade herself while conning her viewers, we were struck by a basic old concept. People are willing to do and say anything to acquire the cash and fame which come with cable success.
Meanwhile, the rise of partisan cable and Internet have illustrated a troubling problem:
As it turns out, we the people will believe whatever we're told, so long as 1) it reinforces our prejudices and 2) it's fed to us with a big smile, or perhaps with constant weird grinning and consultant-directed laughter.
It's hard to know how our political system can survive diets of agitprop nonsense like we saw this morning. Decades into this brave new arrangement, with our own hacks mugging and clowning, a certain conclusion suggests itself:
How can our system survive such nonsense? Increasingly, it seems that it can't!
Donald J. Trump speaks out: At Thursday's presser, Chief TV Critic Donald J. Trump issued his own correct-for-all-time review of this particular cable news program.
He spoke with CNN's Jim Acosta, who's no walk in the park himself. He began by critiquing CNN, then discussed the obvious greatness of his favorite show, Fox & Friends:
TRUMP (2/16/17): Here's the thing. The public isn't—you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don't know if it's true or false because they're not involved.Based on that review, we'll guess that Trump caught the show on a day when the friends were unusually good.
I'm involved. I've been involved with this stuff all my life. But I'm involved. So I know when you're telling the truth or when you're not. I just see many, many untruthful things [on CNN].
And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word "tone." The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such—I do get good ratings, you have to admit that—the tone is such hatred.
I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they're very honorable people. They're very—not because they're good, because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That's all I can say. It's the most honest.
Trump was certainly right on one score. As a general matter, we the people really don't "know if it's true or false" when we see claims made on TV.
That's why Fox & Friends is dangerous. As is the mugging and clowning provided each night Over Here.