Fake Comedy From the Fake News Channel Fails

by Paul William Tenny

half-hour-news-hour.jpgThe irony of this situation is exceedingly apt. A lot of people mock Fox News Channel as the true source of fake news, given their conservative bias and tendency to just make things up to enrage people. It wasn't funny when they announced a Sunday night program created by 24 exec-prod Joel Surnow to serve as a conservative counter-punch to The Daily Show. I thought it odd that Fox would go to an action/drama guy to do a comedy show, but it wasn't surprising given that 24 is one of Fox's tentpole shows, and Surnow is a rabid conservative.

I'm sure that even though Surnow jumped at the opportunity, there hasn't been a single funny moment on 24 in six plus seasons. Aaron Sorkin and Joss Whedon have proven time and again that you can do hard drama and still work in the laughs, in fact you need to do that to keep people fresh. Even in the worst moments in our lives, there are times of levity that breath life back into us and keep us going. Surnow is talented, but comedy is not his forte.
So the idea that the network with the least credibility for reporting fair and balanced news was starting a comedy show all about fake news was, predictably, met with some laughter and a lot of head shaking from fans of The Daily Show. Fox obviously just doesn't get what the the show is about, the fact that conservatives are the ones that get skewered the most isn't so much about a liberal bias in comedy so much as it is that conservatives don't care what people think of them, and don't generally think themselves before acting, which lends itself to comedy quite well.

Conservatives, from what I understand for the most part, don't watch The Daily Show, which is fine if it isn't their cup of tea. But that Fox thought they weren't watching because of who was getting skewered rather than the reality of many staunch conservatives lacking a sense of humor speaks to why their take on "fake news" failed so miserably. It just wasn't funny. That show, presumably since I've never seen it (and based on it being canceled, neither did anyone else) skewed liberals simply for the sake of skewing liberals - they missed the point entirely.

Jon Stewart and the other DS writers don't pick targets first, then write jokes. You can't aim jokes like cruises missiles. They find the funny in what's going on - usually just by pointing out irony - and punch it up a few notches. If they purposefully went after conservatives, people would smell that a mile away, because that's just hackery.

That I'm afraid is something FNC will never understand, and serves as a reminder that FNC is truly an attack-arm of the GOP. They didn't set out to find the funny in life, they set out to make funny by making fun of liberals. And this, coming from a supposed 24-hour news channel dedicated for "fair and balanced" reporting where "we report, you decide." Well, a half-hour comedy/variety show dedicated to making fun of just one political party is hardly befitting of a network dedicated to fair reporting.

That organization couldn't possibly have less credibility in the world than it does now.


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