For conservatives and liberals alike (at least liberals who can laugh at themselves), Half Hour News Hour continues a television tradition started by Saturday Night Live. Here is what to expect.
After watching several promotional segments for the Half Hour News Hour on Fox News, one would get the impression that liberal Democrats would be continuously harpooned and dragged over hot coals. While shows such as the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart continue to lampoon the President and Vice-President to no end, the Half Hour News Hour has yet to take the same course of action with regards to Democratic politicians such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Murtha, and the vast field of Democratic Presidential candidates including Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Instead, the Half Hour News Hour on Fox News chose a more conservative course of action.
In one of the very first episodes, refusal of European authorities to face the fact that most of the current terrorists are in fact Muslim, young children being accused of sexual harassment, and Hollywood in general were lampooned. In parodying the British government’s refusal to acknowledge that Islamic extremists caused the latest bombings in London when in fact the suspects currently under investigation and in custody all belong to the Islamic faith, the Half Hour News Hour on Fox News bordered on good taste. However, if the names they repeated throughout the segment were indeed the real names of those committing past bombings, there remains little room for argument. Perhaps the least offensive skit involved parodying children being accused of sexual harassment. It is hard to imagine many people truly believing that these small children of ages three to five truly had any sexual intention when exhibiting inappropriate behavior. The skit was actually much less risque than any you would find on Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
One of the most fascinating skits of this particular show involved a favorite conservative target, Hollywood. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, you can imagine where this skit could go, especially on Fox News. However, the skit was downright tame. The Half Hour News Hour could have been vicious and attacked the likes of Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, Rob Reiner, and of course, Jane Fonda. Quite simply, it didn’t. Instead, it focused on hypocrisy, self-obsession, and a presenter from Deal or No Deal. Both Democrats and Republicans should be able to admit that much more could be done considering the subject matter and the current state of politics.
While it is far to compare the Half Hour News Hour to shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it can also be misleading. There is a good chance that Republicans will think that the show doesn’t go quite far enough, especially given the current political climate. However, Democrats are likely to lament the absence of egomaniacs such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, or Newt Gingrich. There really isn’t anyone on the show for them to hate. In addition, the subjects mentioned and lampooned in a conservative manner that would be hard pressed to offend all but the most sensitive people. While it is true that the Half Hour News Hour on Fox News does have a conservative slant, it isn’t what most people would expect.