Greg Gutfeld went rogue on The Five yesterday when he sent a message to his boss through the airwaves: The heck with your stinking health rules.
Last month, CEO Lachlan Murdoch sent a memo to employees stating, “[T]he health and safety of our workforce has remained my priority. With that as the guiding principle, we are deferring our next possible phase one reopening date to no earlier than September 7, immediately after Labor Day.” But Murdoch doesn't have the same concerns for Fox viewers, though. The network has spent the last year suggesting viewers shrug off off COVID safety protocols.
Yesterday, “Dr.” Gutfeld declared that keeping people at home is spreading COVID.
GUTFELD: If you send people – old, young, sick, healthy – to their apartments or to their homes, you are only spreading the disease. This is an indoor illness, not an outdoor one.
And yet, “Dr. Gutfeld” followed that up by demanding a return to the studio which, one assumes, is inside. But at least he acknowledged being a hypocrite. He acknowledged something else, too:
GUTFELD: We are hypocrites when we are giving our own advice on this because all of us, I believe, have been vaccinated. Some of us have gotten COVID and been vaccinated which essentially makes you superhuman.
Lecturing people on the science, as we are sitting in our isolated boxes, is it really correct? I think that it’s like — we have to send a message. I mean, what message are we sending by being separate right now? I think it’s time to return to the studio.
MARTHA MACCALLUM (COHOST): There we go.
GUTFELD: And we weigh the benefits and the risks, so let's get back in the studio. There is no science. We have the vaccines and we have the rapid testing. There is no reason for us to be doing this all the time, unless it's legal BS, which is probably the case for everything in life. We are controlled by lawyers.
When Gutfeld said, “all of us, I believe, have been vaccinated,” cohost Dagen McDowell shook her head. Still, it’s a stunning revelation given how Tucker Carlson and his primetime Fox colleagues have worked hard to delegitimize the vaccine to viewers.
Maybe Gutfeld is feeling a wee bit sensitive on the hypocrisy front given that his so-called comedy show requires testing, face masks and social distancing for all audience members.
One other point: While the other cohosts smiled and seemed to support the idea of returning to the studio, Juan Williams remained stone-faced.
You can watch “Dr. Gutfeld” below, from the April 22, 2021 The Five, via Media Matters.
Rush Limbaugh wanted to be a funny rock & roll DJ in a major market. But he failed in that career because he wasn’t funny and his bullying nature offended FM radio listeners. One of the radio station managers who fired him pointedly commented that “I’m not as impressed with you as you are”. So he found a home on AM Radio in the lower end field of talk/phone-in shows. And he was able to parlay his style into financial success for himself (and increasingly serious cultural problems for the nation as a whole).
Bill O’Reilly wanted, and still desperately wants, to be an “elder statesman” of politics and culture. He was hoping to outshine Brit Hume at Fox News (not that Hume is any actual statesman) and become a voice of authority for Right Wing viewers. Instead, he was forced to retreat from Fox News in disgrace over his repeated sexual misconduct and his vicious behavior, particularly after the revelation that he’d paid 32 million dollars to Lis Wiehl for truly despicable conduct. Today, he rants from the sidelines at his website, openly rooting for the failure of cable news media (including Fox News) and pretending that his webcast is somehow anything more than what it is. It’s interesting to listen to him kowtowing to both Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity to get radio time on their shows – when he’d previously been in a position to treat Beck like a pet, and when he’d been known to despise Hannity while they were both on Fox News.
If I had to guess, I’d say that both Carlson and Gutfeld are making the most of their situation. Carlson knows he’ll never have a legitimate media gig anywhere, so he’s milking the Fox News purse for whatever he can get out of it. For a guy whose prior career was hooting from the sidelines at Daily Caller, this is actually a big step up for him, and he’s clearly making some coin for himself in the short term. But no, he’ll never be an “elder statesman” either. My expectation is that in a few years, Fox News will replace him with whoever the newer, angrier fad is at that time. Gutfeld similarly knows he’ll never be the huge live comic act he wanted to be, so he’s taking the crumbs that Fox News gives him. When the music stops in a few years, he’ll be the guy doing the opening remarks at CPAC and events like that. But he’s cashing in while he can.
Now they are lurching toward the lunatic fringe of the right trying to maintain some sort of foothold on the shifting sands that the wasteland of post-Trump Republican conservatism has become.