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The Five Get The Herman Cain Story Right. Not So Fast, Gutfeld!

Reported by Aunty Em - November 2, 2011 -

While I had hoped this moment would NEVER come to pass, it’s time to drop a compliment about the Fox “News” show The Five, of which I have been very critical. On yesterday’s show, when The Five started to take on the Herman Cain sex harassment scandal, I braced with trepidation. News Hounds has previously noted how much misinformation, or already debunked facts, are usually dispensed with the loud arguments on The Five. Furthermore, it’s no secret that Fox News does everything in its power not to find fault with the GOP and the “four against one” of The Five accentuates that defense. However, after a several listenings to this segment I can not find a single significant misstatement of facts or a full-throated defense of Herman Cain. More importantly (and this seemed to be true for the entire show yesterday), they weren’t yelling and interrupting each other like they do normally.* I have to agree with Bob Beckel, who said near the end of the segment, “This, by the way, is a very good conversation about this [and] I’m glad we got some people who understand the press side of this thing.” Watch:

I would also like to single out Greg Gutfeld for special attention because nothing I said above applies to him. Just about every time Gutfeld opens his mouth on The Five, he takes the conversation onto oblique, and often bizarre, tangents. It’s my guess the producers have recognized this fact, which is why Greg’s segments on the show are produced with a slight difference than all the others. It’s very subtle, but note: After the ‘monologues’ introducing his own segments—which are also filled with oblique and bizarre tangents—the producers ‘fly in’ The Five graphic. Gutfeld’s the only one who seems to get this treatment and it was a later addition to the show, not there at its debut. When it first began, it kept catching Gutfeld by surprise. He commented on it once by saying words to the effect of, “I haven’t gotten used to that yet” after he started to talk over it. [Please alert me if you see this graphic with any of the others, but I don’t recall seeing it.] I contend the graphic was added after Gee Gee’s intros because a producer decided that was the best (and possibly only) way to transition from Gutfeld’s fantasy monologues back to the semi-reality of The Five. The graphic and swoosh sound effect makes for a clean-ish break. While Greg’s comedic shtick might be a perfect fit for such a sophomore and soft-moronic show as Red Eye, it seems woefully out of place here—even in the usual hot mess of the show that is The Five.

If you’ve watched the clip above, I challenge you to watch it again and take special note of each of Gutfeld’s comments. Name one that can, and should be taken seriously. Better yet, name one that he actually intended to be taken seriously. Just a reminder: The underlying topic in the Cain scandal is sexual harassment in the workplace. Tell me if this sounds appropriate to you:

[2:52] “But here’s the thing is [sic] I think that, I think that, uh, Cain made a mistake in the sense that we are beginning to understand the ubiquitousness of sexual harassment claims and how, because they’re happening so often and they’re everywhere, and many of them are inherently meaningless. They’re [presumably he meant the settlements] done at the safeguard, you know, future, you know, reputation-damaging things and you might not be guilty. [Huh? That’s a Palin-worthy word salad.] He could have explained that while saying, ‘yeah, this happened.’”

It sounds like Gutfeld’s saying that, in general, charges of sexual harassment in the workplace are something to shrug off because not every one can be supported by the facts. More specifically, here’s how he shrugs this one off:

[5:50] “From what I understand, the story is about an invitation to a hotel room that was then turned down. Which, I mean, I invite—I often invite people to my hotel room, usually to get things down from the hutch that I can’t reach. But, I mean, it’s like, you have the power to say ‘No.’ So, I don’t know, the story might be very minor.”

See? First a joke—the oblique tangent—followed by the bizarre tangent: Because one can turn down a sexual advance, the making of one is no big deal. If they ever think of replacing people on The Five, Gutfeld should be the first to go for expressing such a Neanderthal opinion. However, Media Matters has noted a pattern of sexist statements by Greg Gutfeld, and nothing has happened so far. I suspect his position at Fox “News” is safe and he’ll be occupying one of the “leg chairs” on The Five for some time to come. At least until they find someone with better legs.

However, to repeat, I would like to give credit where credit’s due: This segment of The Five was not as egregiously bad as normal and, therefore, would not be a good yardstick for judging the quality of the show overall. Let’s see how long they can keep this up.

* It’s possible they were admonished recently by a producer to tone it down and let others finish statements. I’ve noticed this problem fluctuates. The volume of the arguments, and amount of interruption, seems to increase over a period of a few weeks until it’s cycled back to near-reasonable levels again. Why the occasional sudden drop in volume and interruptions? My guess: A producer once again brought it up in the daily line-up meeting, and will be forced to do so again whenever the talent starts forgetting.