June 12, 2003


ANCHORPERSON DENNIS MILLER, REVISITED: Fox News Channel's most unfair and unbalanced program is about to get even more lopsided, as the Daily News reports that comedian Dennis Miller will soon join the show as a once-a-week commentator.
The former anchor of "Weekend Update" and host of "Monday Night Football," and his eponymous HBO show, Miller was among the most articulate and convincing celebrity spokespeople before and during the war in Iraq- perhaps because unlike most others, he was for the war. While Miller never seemed right on MNF, Fox News seems to fit his personality to a T, as both have long combined all-out attempts at entertainment with both conservative politics and mean-spirited vituperation. However, Miller has to remember to avoid the pitfalls of his recent HBO standup special, which was more or less 60 minutes of Republican talking points, in which Miller seemed to have forgotten that he's a comedian and is supposed to be funny.
As I've often mentioned in this space before, "Hannity & Colmes" is an extreme microcosm of FNC's entire ethos: a supposedly balanced "debate" that's rigged from the start and more resembles a kangaroo court than a serious political program. The ultra-conservative and obnoxious but very charismatic Hannity squares off against the weak, conciliatory, and center-left Colmes, who would be the world's most ineffectual, ineffective liberal spokesman if it weren't for Tom Daschle. Colmes spends all of each episode on the defensive, alternately stammering, apologizing for his liberal views, getting interrupted by Hannity, and just plain keeping his mouth shut for minutes at a time. The right-leaning Miller will give the Republican/strong personality team a 2-1 advantage over the Democratic Wimp brigade.
This formula obviously seems to work for Fox; they know their audience, and I can't imagine many liberals watch the show and root for Colmes. I think the "fair" and "balanced" thing to do would be for Fox to jettison Colmes in favor of somebody who's the lefty equivalent of Hannity- Eric Alterman or Joe Conason, perhaps. Then, bring in someone like Chris Rock or even George Carlin to do an occasional liberal/comedy segment. Of course neither of those things will ever happen, but it sure would make tangible improvements to what the lefty website TomPaine.com once likened to the TV news version of a Harlem Globetrotters game.

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 12, 2003 07:42 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?