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Jon Stewart to Host the Oscars - FOX News Freaks Out

Reported by Melanie - January 7, 2006

If Friday's (January 6, 2006) Your World w/Neil Cavuto is any indication, Fox News is freaking out that Jon Stewart will host the 2005 Academy Awards.

At 4:11 p.m. ET (11 minutes into Fox's "premiere business news" program), while video of Michael Moore played on screen, substitute host Stuart Varney signed off on a commercial break with a promo for an upcoming segment: "Now that Jon Stewart has been picked to host the Oscars, should you brace yourself for the biggest Bush-bashing event you've ever seen?"

At 4:17 p.m. ET, again breaking for a commercial, Varney said: "Straight ahead. Jon Stewart is hosting the Oscars and President Bush is his punching bag every night at 11:00 p.m. on his show. My next guest says brace yourself. This is going to be the biggest Bush-bashing event you've ever seen."

At 4:22 p.m. ET, with "Bush-Bashing Oscars?" written in a graphic over his shoulder, Varney opened a segment with: "Well, try finding a show of Jon Stewart's where he isn't taking potshots at President Bush. Now, imagine him hosting the Oscars. It's about to happen and my next guest says the Academy Awards this year could be one big Hollywood Bush-bashing event."

Varney introduced Tom O'Neill of The Envelope. com, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Times, and opened the discussion with more of a statement than a question (you know, to set the tone): "Tom, do you think that Jon Stewart, he just can't resist engaging in Bush-bashing?"

O'Neill, apparently deciding to dispense with the complements early on, said, "That's what he does and he does it very well too. Let's give this guy his due. The Daily Show is brilliant and his satires are right on, but putting him at the Oscars, and not just any Oscars, the most political Oscars we've seen in years, look at the movies we've got...we're putting Stewart in that mix."

Varney, feigning hesitation by saying he was "inclined to ask," wondered when "Hollywood will ever learn? Bush-bashing in the '04 election was a noticeable failure. Why do they return to it now? I mean, it just doesn't seem to be working for them."

O'Neill said Hollywood is "so desperate" to "bring in that young demographic" that they are "forgetting what the Oscars are all about...they aren't the MTV awards." He said you don't bring in an "anti-establishment comic to preside over the ultimate establishment experience." He said in recent years the Oscars have been bringing in "combat comedians like David Letterman and Chris Rock" and they're "losing that sense of family intimacy and they're injecting a lot of politics into it." O'Neill said that "when you host, you don't go off-script." You "don't start bashing away at some political figure and I think that's what we're going to see a lot of, unfortunately, on Oscar night."

Varney, letting his politics hang out like so much blubber, said: "There's gotta be a lot of people like me who will not go to see people who insulted my president in the year '04 in that election. I cannot divorce their talent from their political views. I'm sure there are a lot of people like me." (Emphasis added.)

O'Neill wrapped it up by saying he didn't think "strong points of view" were "appropriate as part of the banter."

Comment: You know, I have about a million reactions to this. On the one hand, I feel like saying SO WHAT? EAT IT! DON'T WATCH ALREADY! On another hand, what's with Varney announcing that Bush is "my president"? Can you imagine what Fox would do if someone like Anderson Cooper said, "I wanted Kerry to be my president?" or "Clinton was my president?" or "Bush isn't my president?" We'd never, ever, ever hear the end of it. And what's with Fox forever claiming that the LATimes is a vile, anti-Bush, "liberal" newspaper while at the same time using an employee from that same disgusting paper to help it demonize anyone who doesn't kiss Bush's ass? And since when should Hollywood, or anyone, "learn" to be quiet? And why are comedians who disagree with Bush referred to as "combat comedians" who "inject a lot of politics" into things? Doesn't Fox do that? It could easily have been called the "combat news outlet" during the Clinton years, or even now. And since when are the Oscars the "ultimate establishment experience"? Excuse me? And who says the alleged Hollywood Bush-bashing "doesn't seem to be working"? In case Varney hasn't noticed, Hollywood doesn't need to bash Bush; he's bashing himself.

Geez! The Oscars won't be on until March 5 so undoubtedly there will be more to this shut-them-up crusade. After all, now that the "war on Christmas" has been boxed up and put away until September (er, maybe August since it's an election year), Fox needs to fill its time with something, anything (anything but "fair and balanced" news).

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