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1/2 Hour News Hour: The Slow Bleed is Almost Over

Reported by Chrish - September 10, 2007 -

Note: Guest blogged by Crallspace

As Fox News' "1/2 Hour News Hour" putts along to its final episode, which will air next Sunday, the lack of humor and crass attempts at bashing continue. Tonight's show opened with its usual disclaimer indicating that some of the stories may not be factually accurate, something the other supposedly serious programs on the network might want to consider.

This disclaimer was followed by a skit portraying a whiney, crying liberal in counseling, heartbroken that he no longer has any Republican to hate after Alberto Gonzales resigned. At one point his shrink asks if he ever considered hating a Democrat, to which he responds in rhetorical shock. To close this sad comedic coffin, the shrink ends the session by asking him to make his check out to 'Hillary for President '08,' something that has him "feeling better already." I wonder if he made the check out for $20,000.

The show moved along with its usual ripoff of SNL Weekend Update back 'n forth between the male and female anchor. Tonight was worse than usual as each "news story" displayed the jadedness of the writing staff, already pissed off that they're getting the axe next week. They made a joke about Apple and BMW collaborating to create a carphone called the "I-Crash." This was followed by separate jokes about Hillary, Kerry and Edwards, none of which were remotely funny. Even if you seeth with hatred for any of them, a forced laugh would have been next to impossible here.

To break the mold of C Grade news commentary, they interviewed an obvious actor posing as a lefty blogger starting a workers' union. All the cliche'd internet loser jokes were paraded- everything from living in Mom's basement to not leaving the house for days on end. The actor they hired was sub-par at best. I wish I could say better about the writing; the best line they could come up with was the blogger's demand for more Red Bull, Doritos and Altoids. If you are having a hard time cracking a smile, there's a reason.

To throw a little irony into the program airing on Fox "News," they poked fun at media terror with a portrayal of a DVD series warning kids against just about everything in the world. I found this collage of mock-ideas like "Don't use the internet!" and "Your relatives can kill you!" to be odd coming from FOX. Aren't they they among the top purveyors of fear, hype and senseless terrifying of the public? Aside from the corporate sponsorships and Rupert Murdoch, baseless human fear is what keeps Fox "News" on the air.

This circus of suck inched along as the news anchors made cynical jokes about Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, a dog donating money to the Obama campaign and Bill Clinton, who is surprisingly "now in favor of the Constitution." I've seen a number of blameshifting incidents these past few years, but referring to anyone's disregard of the Constitution without looking at the Elephant in the room, so to speak... shows that party loyalty can indeed destroy one's sense of humor. And if this doesn't prove it, the rest of the show certainly did.

A fake infomercial targetting (surprise) Hollywood liberals was next in line to disappoint an eager-to-laugh viewing audience. "Sean Penn's Blame America First Cruise" was the program's chance to rip on a number of Democrats and liberals in one swipe. The fictional cruise's first stop was in Cuba where Michael Moore will show you to the world's 39th best healthcare system, with a picture of squalid conditions to go with it. Then it's off to Venezuela where the scary Hugo Chavez reigns (and he hates America too, don't forget). Aside from these void-of-laughter vignettes, a few other targets, if it comes as any surprise, included Nanci Pelosi, Howard Dean and the major current FOX target: Nuclear Iran.

To wrap things up, the program moved to one of its regular segments called "Informed Consent." This is where a real expert faces off with a complete moron while the sensationalist host always sides with the moron for all the shallow reasons. Guess which political inclination is ALWAYS portrayed as the idiot while the smart, reasoned and expert opinion represents the jabberjaw talking points of the week. Tonight, an actor portraying a retired 3-star General debated the Iraq war with another actor portraying a bumper sticker idea specialist. While the (pretend) General made what came across as reasoned and informed points about the war stopping radical Islam, ending fascism and preserving the future of Western civilization, the bumper sticker guy responded with moronic, bumper sticker counterpoints. "When Clinton lied, nobody died." and "No blood for oil." were among the responses that won the host over. There was no room for the expert opinion here, as the host doted over the bumper sticker guy and told the General, "Sorry, we're out of time." Once again, a sense of irony coming from the program, which makes me wonder if these writers actually DO have a sense of humor... Is it possible they've been kidding us all along?

The 1/2 Hour Snooze Hour came to a close with the always confusing, always pretentious and obscure Dennis Miller. He made the first barb of the night aimed at a Republican when he implored disgraced Senator Larry Craig to come out of the closet already, and even referred to Craig as "narrow-minded." It was all downhill from there. He made some dull-witted joke about the far Left complaining about the war and Popeye building a crooked skyscraper. (Earth to Dennis: Unless over half of the US and a vast majority of the world who are not in the dark about the Bush Iraq sham are "Far Left," this joke doesn't have much to stand on.) Miller then went on to talk about Global Warming and how it has become a religion for the die hards. Yet another strawman to poke at. "It's cyclical and not the result of man. We are too puny to pull it off." he said, in line with the choir of denial. He then topped this poorly assembled routine off with a joke about how Michael Vick should be sentenced in dog years. Clever.

Yes, again the 1/2 Hour News Hour churned out another episode justifying next week being the last. It would almost appear that FOX has the news staff trying to double as a comedy writing team; all the real laughs have been passed up for the sake of amateur-style, partisan guff just as real news stories are avoided or spun up to fit the FOX political agenda on their "news" programs. Executive Producer Joel Surnow should stick to his TV series "24" in which he creates hypothetical situations to scare gullible people into continually supporting the so-called "War on Terror." Comedy just ain't his bag.