March 25, 2003

Oh, That Explains it, II: T...

Oh, That Explains it, II: Two days after guessing that journalists are liberal because they are iconoclastic, the L.A. Times tries to figure out why so many people in Hollywood lean left. The explanation, from Patrick Goldstein this time instead of David Shaw, is pretty similar.

The simplest explanation for this tradition of left-wing politics is that artists identify with the underdog. They tend to be disaffected outsiders and mavericks, skeptical of institutions, often uncomfortable with mainstream values. They find inspiration in change; their affection is with the dispossessed, not the ruling order.

"Artists are more in touch with other people's feelings because we're always trying to see things from others' perspectives," says "Maid in Manhattan" director Wayne Wang, an Iraq war critic. "And once you start seeing things from someone else's perspective, whether it's art or politics, it's hard not to start thinking about how people can suffer from war or oppression."

Artists gravitate toward rebels and rabble-rousers, people like themselves. They are impatient, even contemptuous of the classic conservative ideals of order and tradition.

Meanwhile, media writer Tim Rutten has this to say today about Fox News and its viewers:
Fox News simply has wrapped itself in the flag and makes no effort to distinguish between its journalism and the U.S. war effort. Fox executives can be pleased that their approach has allowed the network to hold the lead in cable news ratings; the rest of us can be relieved that viewers who want that sort of thing will be too busy having their prejudices confirmed to bother the rest of us.
Discuss.

For what it's worth, lately I've been watching mostly MSNBC, which has some great embedded reporting. I also like that Lester Holt.

Posted by at March 25, 2003 10:20 PM
Comments

There are quite a few propositions and themes in the Leaning to the left, but why? article but let me tease out just one underlying motif.

The idea of 'Art' being innately noble, pure and moral (and by extension, the Artist him/herself):

"Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in such turmoil? Because art is important."*

-Nicole Kidman


(*insert round of gratuitous, self-righteous applause)


"If Frida Kahlo were alive, she would be on our side, against the war."

-Gael García Bernal

while seductive, is both simplistic and silly as this fellow notes:

"The artistic character is very individualistic, which is probably why the stories of a person struggling against insurmountable odds are so popular. But that doesn't mean liberal Hollywood has always been on the right side of history -- I'm not sure I'd be terribly proud if I'd been a dupe of Stalin in the 1930s, like so many people here were."

-Rob Long

Posted by: vlad at March 25, 2003 11:09 PM

I actually think there's something to Goldstein's point (which I didn't excerpt) about today's artists being yesterday's misfits. I live in Hollywood, and know a bunch of rockers, and man, you've never seen such long-held grievances at those popular High School girls. It's the Madonna Complex (as in, the modern-day pop star, not the religious icon) -- so much of your personality is caught up in what you rebelled against at age 16, some part of your brain is stuck on that image you (and the country?) have left far behind.

Shoot, I hated the banal conformity of where I grew up, and a hearty chunk of that atmosphere was hopelessly intertwined with patriotism, militarism, and social conservativism. If I would have ended up as a songwriter, and not a journalist, I may well have progressed from enclave to enclave, nurturing old wounds and refusing to separate my vision of the world from the horror of that Original Sin.

But the problem with enclave living, and refusing to invite heretics to dinner, is that you simply miss out on how dynamic the rest of society still is. On the other hand, you get to live like a king in Hollywood and/or Manhattan, so there are the upsides.... That's my bullshit analysis of the day, anyway.

Posted by: Matt Welch at March 25, 2003 11:25 PM

I guess it depends on whether you believe FoxNews is a journalistic enterprise. Obviously, it has an ideological bias, in a manner different from whatever lukewarm liberalism might exist on the networks or CNN. If you want to know what's really happening in Iraq, you don't waste time on Fox. However, the fact that it runs unadulterated GOP propaganda doesn't mean it's not worth watching, even if you don't share their prejudices. Even Pravda could be interesting to an outsider.

Posted by: Steve Smith at March 25, 2003 11:46 PM

It's amazing to see Lester Holt's career take off. I lived in Chicago in the mid-90s, when he burned out as a local anchor. No one thought he'd ever work again. Of course, we also thought the same thing about Giselle Fernandez (another Chicago ex-pat), and now there she is every morning, giggling and jiggling on the KTLA Morning News.
Meanwhile, you make a good point, Matt. After all, the famous saying goes, Hollywood is like high school--but with money. The most powerful people I've met out here are also the most insecure folk I've ever seen in my life.

Posted by: Mike at March 25, 2003 11:48 PM

Matt: I linked Goldstein's piece and gave you a hat tip.

Steve: I don't share Fox's prejudices, but I do support the war, and they do have good reporting right now. I like Fox more than usual today.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 26, 2003 12:51 AM


If I would have ended up as a songwriter...I may well have progressed from enclave to enclave, nurturing old wounds and refusing to separate my vision of the world from the horror of that Original Sin.

I think your use of the word 'enclave' is key. The collective of St. Barts, Malibu, the French Riviera etc etc could be Hollywood's version of academia's Ivory Tower.

I am guessing there are a couple social dynamics which dovetail into this knee-jerk Hollywood liberalism as well:

1) Lack of education. I don't know in how many of my girlfriend's People magazines (Indulging in that trash mag. is a very, very bad vice --- probably worse than smoking --- for real entertainment read the letters page.....oh the inanity!) I have read that X is 3 units from a college degree. Every star always seems to sadly drop out *just short of a degree* b/c a) there big break came then and there b) they decided to get up and chase their dreams to Hollywood.

2) The Finger to the Wind. Let's say you were mildly conservative, but you still want a job in notoriously fickle Hollywood where personal connections are paramount, it might pay to keep your mouth shut and go with the flow.


But the problem with enclave living, and refusing to invite heretics to dinner, is that you simply miss out on how dynamic the rest of society still is.

3) Masturbatory nature of closed societies. The established Hollywood types live in socially walled-off cliques. Little fresh meat is added to the pot and when it is, it is of the star-struck variety that will reinforce all the commonly held views and participate in the conversational circle-jerks that I am guessing Susan Sarandon et al. like to play.

4) The Litany*/Ground Rules and Hypocrisy**. The Litany of dastardly deeds perpetuated by the US upon the world:

a) Corporations are bad.
b) Profits are worse.
c) Evil media and corporations control/exploit us all.
d) The US is the most racist state in the world.
e) Free markets. What are you insane?
f) All environmental degradation is done by morally dubious corporate puppets.
g) C'mon, Communism wasn't thaaaaaaaat bad.
h) Oil Companies rule the world.
i) The Noble Savage.
k) Universal Human rights? That is sooo 8 days ago. Obviously all cultures are equal.

I imagine a conversation sounds like this:

Susan (talking to Sean Penn on her cell while lunching with her publicist): My God, once again, we are refusing to understand where our Arab friends are coming from. I mean, we had 9/11 coming. You can't blame them for striking out at us. And this war, we're killing innocent people for oil.

Sean: I hear ya Sue. I mean how dare we project liberal democratic ideals upon the Arab world. Man, we're so ignorant. How dare we uphold human universal rights? We have a lot to learn from these ancient peoples. I wish more people like us had the empathy and compassion to listen to them.

Susan: It's all about oil. Thank god I bought that hybrid gas/electric car last week. It is soooo environmentally friendly. Too bad I never get to use it--

Sean/Susan: (in unison) Cuz we're always flying around the country on Ariana Huffinton's private jet! Hahahhaha!

Sean: Yeah, that was awesome when I got faded and she made the pilot give me the controls on the way to SF for that peace rally with International A.N.S.W.E.R.

Susan: Hahahhahah. That was amazing. And those
A.N.S.W.E.R people are sooooo smart! They know all about Marx and Stalin and stuff. Ok Honey, I gotta run, Mike Farrell just got here and Garafalo is on call-waiting.


(*Borrowing this analogy from B. Lomborg)
(**For classic example - see Rage Against the Machine)

Posted by: vlad at March 26, 2003 01:32 AM

Actors are empty vessels in search of "authenticity" -- Heideggerian authenticity through and through (yes, I said Heidegerrian authenticity -- and no, no actors [except of course Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites] reads Heidegger -- it's just that certain ideas take on a life of their own and percolate into conventional thinking).

They realize "the self" does not really exist (as Nietzsche in his acerbic brilliance points out) -- that what we call the "self" is just a series of "impression" (as David Hume called them) -- and so they spend their lives trapped in a perspectival quagmire (just as the article alludes to), forever in search of intense, "fun" diverting experiences to palliate the inner horror of not having a real self -- i.e. of life's nihilism.

Nihilism: In other words, when *everything* (religion, politics, matters of "principle," whatever) is just a matter of faith (in matter of religion ) and *opinion* (in matters of principle/morals -- i.e. they become value judgments -- or, rather, "valueless value judgments" as Nietzsche would call them), then EVERYTHING is is an _act_. Why? Because it's that you no longer *know* that this is the right (self-evidently true) way to be. It's from Nietzsche that we get this whole language of "role-playing" and "role-models."

So the modern world is full of ACTORS. Nietzsche saw this, and so many other problems, as clear day. See esp. _The Gay Science_ (cf. sections 356, 361).

Consider _Zarathustra_, Part 4 "The Magician" scene and Part 2 "On Poets." Here is, in case anyone is interested, an excerpt from "The Poets" (I happened to have an e-version of this handy):

"[Poets, actors] are not clean enough for me: they all muddy the waters to make them appear deep. And they like to pose as reconcilers: but mediators and mixers they remain for me, and half-and-half and unclean.

Alas I cast my net into their seas and wanted to catch good fish; but I always pulled up the head some old *god*. Thus the sea gave him who was hungry a stone. And they themselves may well have come from the sea. Certainly pearls are found in them: they are that much more similar to hard shellfish. And instead of a soul I often found salted slime in them."


[Now from "The Magician":]

"At this point, however, Zarathustra could not restrain himself any longer, raised his stick, and started to beat the moaning man with all his might. 'Stop it!' he shouted at him furiously. 'Stop it you actor! You counterfeiter! You liar from the bottom! I recognize you well! . . . 'Leave off!' the old man said and leaped up from the ground. 'Don't strike any more, Zarathustra! I did all this only as a game. Such things belong to my art . . . hard do you hit with your 'truths'; your stick forces this truth out of me.'

'Don't flatter!' replied Zarathustra, still excited and angry, 'you actor from the bottom! You are false; why do you talk of truth? You peacock of peacocks, you sea of vanity, *what* were you playing before me, you wicked magician? in *whom* was I to believe when you were moaning in this way?

'*The ascetic of the spirit* [i.e. Nietzsche wantactors, artists, poets to stop going to the people for legitimation and confidence -- they need to realize that their creativity is based on NOTHING -- since there is not God and no divinely ordained way in which thing *ought* to be -- except their *own creativity*], said the old man, "I played *him*'

'You may have deceived people subtler than I,' Zarathustra said harshly. 'I do not guard against deceivers; I have to be without caution; thus my lot wants it. You, however, have to deceive: that far I know you. You always have to be equivocal--triquadri-, quinquevocal. And what you have now confessed, that too was not nearly true enough or false enough to suit me. You wicked counterfeiter, how could you do otherwise? You would rouge even your disease when you show yourself naked to your doctor. In the same way you have just now rouged your lie when you said to me, 'I did all this only as a game.' There was *seriousness in it too: you *are* something of an ascetic of the spirit. I solve your riddle: your magic has enchanted everybody, but no lie or cunning is left to you to use against yourself; you are disenchanted for yourself. You have harvested nausea as your one truth. Not a word of yours is genuine any more, except your mouth--namely the nausea that sticks to your mouth.'


'O Zarathustra, I weary of it; my art nauseates me; I am not *great*--why do I dissemble? But you know it too: I sought greatness. I wanted to represent a great human being and I persuaded many; but this lie went beyond my strength. It is breaking me. O Zarathustra, everything about me is a lie; but that I am breaking -- this, my breaking, is genuine.'

[Zarathustra]: 'I myself -- to be sure -- have not yet seen a great human being. For what is great, even in the eyes of the subtlest today are too coarse. It is the realm of the mob. Many have I seen, swollen and straining, and the people cried, "Behold a great man!" But what good are all bellows? In the end, the wind comes out. In the end, a frog which has puffed up too long will burst: the wind comes out. To stab a swollen man in the belly, I call that a fine pastime. Hear it well, little boys!'"

Posted by: Robert Light at March 26, 2003 01:44 AM

The underlying problem is that the Hollywood set consider themselves to be artists. But is Tom Cruise an artist? Or should we use the term more cautiously? If we accept the dumbed down definition then artist certainly no longer implies nonconformist. In other words, true artists are rare

Posted by: Peter at March 26, 2003 01:53 AM

It's funny how none of these critics equate the superficiality of Hollywood and the entertainment industry with the superficiality of the entertainers political reasoning and opinions. The nitwit who said that making a movie about the holocaust gave him a real understanding of war is like my kids saying playing king of the hill gives them a real sense of what an armed invasion is like. These are people who exist in a world of make believe and that forms their vapid opinions.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at March 26, 2003 05:11 AM

I didn't see the show, and Dreher is not my favorite poster at the Corner, but this joke from Jay Leno seems appropriate to this discussion, at least the way many in red America view Hollywood.

On Mel Gibson vs Roman Polanski:

"Don’t you love this town?" said Leno. "You drug an underage girl, you rape her, you flee the country, you get an Oscar. But you build a church, and it’s 'What are you, nuts?!”

http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/03_03_23_corner-archive.asp#005957

Posted by: Ray Eckhart at March 26, 2003 05:45 AM

If Hollywood types are leftist because theyt. Did they all start strapping on guns and riding around in pickup trucks and going to conservative churches and talking about blue-helmeted Chinese troops taking over the US?

I must have missed that.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 26, 2003 06:34 AM

Angie:

No, they convinced themselves that Clinton was the underdog and that a vast right-wing conspiracy defending the *real* rulers of the country was trying to unseat him.

Posted by: Jesse Walker at March 26, 2003 07:41 AM

Speaking of enclaves, I'm rather amused by the unchallenged assumption that Fox News is a wholly-owned mouthpiece for the Republican Party.

Anything but ox-goring to justify the notion, or is it just more lib-journo jacking off in reaction to the fact that Fox doesn't behave as a wholly-owned mouthpiece of the Democratic Party as do CNNMSNBCABCCBSNBC?

Yeah, two can play this game.

Posted by: Bill Quick at March 26, 2003 08:16 AM

A nation transfixed by Shep's reptilian eyes.

Posted by: Dan at March 26, 2003 08:43 AM

"And you know my experiences of making this film made me very aware of the sadness and the dehumanization of people at times of war. And whatever you believe in, if it's God or Allah, may he watch over you and let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution. Thank you. And I have a friend from Queens who's a soldier in Kuwait right now, Tommy Zarabinski, and I hope you and your boys make it back real soon. God bless you guys. I love you. Thank you very much."

Adrien Brody

"The nitwit who said that making a movie about the holocaust gave him a real understanding of war is like my kids saying playing king of the hill gives them a real sense of what an armed invasion is like. These are people who exist in a world of make believe and that forms their vapid opinions."

Jack Tanner

Mr. Tanner,
The implication that Adrien Brody ran to his bedroom, grabbed his toy piano and started prancing about Europe pretending to be Wladyslaw Szpilman is just dumb. I don't know Mr. Brody, and to be honest I've haven't seen "The Pianist" (neither have you, Mr. Tanner, I'm guessing), but I am certain Mr. Brody's performance was informed by a great deal of research of the man and his circumstances. Further, Mr. Brody doesn't claim to "understand" war, rather he has become more "aware of the sadness and dehumanization of war." So can we infer, Mr. Tanner, that you feel that reading about war is child's play? I'm guessing (again) that you yourself have read a great deal about war, perhaps even fought in one. Has your reading been pointless? Or if you are in fact a veteran, would you prefer that we civilians not waste our time informing ourselves about the horrors you had to face to protect our way of life? No matter how firmly one believes in the goals and motivations of the current war, I think that we can all agree that war is sad and dehumanizing.

Additionally, Mr. Brody made no comment about his feelings regarding the legitimacy of the war, only that he wanted it to end as quickly as possible. I think President Bush himself would agree with that.

Art does matter. It’s history goes back as far war and it shapes our lives at almost every moment. Your anger with Mr. Brody is proof art matters.

Posted by: Scott Ross at March 26, 2003 08:50 AM

Hear hear, Ross! Art *does* matter, and actors *are* artists, dammit! And yes, I'm talking about Tom Cruise (see: Magnolia, Minority Report). And they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to artists who work on a feature film, or a commercial for that matter.

Not only that, I think Robert Light's out of his skull to think that American movies are inferior. I think we make the best damned movies in the world, which incidentally produce tens of thousands of jobs. At the risk of re-misquoting Teenage Fanclub, never look for answers in an actor. So they have a tendency to spout possibly misinformed opinions. What again, exactly, was a blog?

Posted by: Matt Welch at March 26, 2003 09:37 AM

I think that you can't overestimate two things about the stars:

(1) Too much time on their ahdns (they wait around on sets, they wait between jobs, they wait tables, too). So much free time leads to self absorption in a big way.

(2) Lack of real education. They don't read books, they read scripts (and then only to count lines) and they usually read coverage. And maybe the trades.

Posted by: KC at March 26, 2003 09:37 AM

> I am certain Mr. Brody's performance was informed by a great deal of research of the man and his circumstances.

That's just dumb.

The appropriate research for the part is study that helps an actor play the role. Such research need not involve any study of the individual portrayed, his/her circumstances, etc.

For example, one may wish/choose to portray as likeable someone who in real life was a complete pain.

If you're expecting truth from art, you're "confused". Art is the manipulation of emotions.

I can see how these things might confuse someone who thinks that truth might be beauty, but I'm always surprised when someone knowingly parades such ignorance.

Posted by: Andy Freeman at March 26, 2003 09:53 AM

A friend of mine once drunkenly tried to pick up Lester Holt at a bowling alley. He chose not to give her his number, but did sign a coctail napkin "To Mary--stay out of the gutter."

Posted by: Mario at March 26, 2003 10:16 AM

I've liked Mr. Holt since the 2000 elections. What is it? Apart from that cocktail napkin?

Posted by: Janis Gore at March 26, 2003 10:30 AM

Lester Holt is fun to watch because he's always got a look on his face like he's trying to pinch one off.

I've got MSNBC on in the background and I'm only half-paying attention, so I'm not sure what the context was for Holt saying, "...and that's going to cause some problems getting those loads in there."

Posted by: Jim Treacher at March 26, 2003 10:33 AM


A nation transfixed by Shep's reptilian eyes.

Shep uncannily resembles the bad guy agents from The Matrix.

I keep waiting for this monologue:


(Interrogation)
Agent Smith: As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company, you have a social security number, you pay your taxes, and you help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias Neo and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.

Posted by: Posted by: HH at March 26, 2003 02:13 PM

"Hollywood is probably more politically conservative than just about every other artistic
field..."

Er whatever you say.

Posted by: HH at March 26, 2003 02:14 PM

In American popular culture, the outlaw and anti-hero have been the cornerstones of the so-called "rebellious" and iconoclastic mythology that books, plays, pop music, or films have perpetuated for as long as the republic has been around. The American audience has always loved the iconoclastic archetype, from James Fennimore Cooper’s Hawkeye, to Elvis, Brando, Holden Caulfield, and Kerouac, all the way to Eminem and Michael Moore.

Which leads me to this observation: I actually watched the Oscars this year, and I found it quite amusing that Steve Martin and Jack Nicholson have become the type of pro-establishment, Hollywood big shots that they spent their early careers jeering at.

Nicholson has always played the anti-hero in his films, the cynical and slightly deranged rebel who winks at the audience as he stomps all over the serious and straight-laced (and slightly fascist) status quo.

Martin began his career as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Show, which was, in the late 60's, vilified by conservatives for being a hippie-dippy, anti-American love fest. While that was an exaggeration, the show did have a rebellious and smart-alecky tone. The writers very cleverly promoted their anti-establishment views without making it as obvious and apparent as later shows like Laugh-In, All in the Family, and Saturday Night Live did.

And now Martin and Nicholson have become their generation's Bob Hope, the ultimate Hollywood insiders. Funny how they have come full circle and find no apparent hypocrisy in jeering at Michael Moore. Michael Moore’s speech apparently crossed the line of taste and class to many Hollywood insiders, which makes me laugh because, ironically, many of the actors, writers, and filmmakers in the audience were responsible for the popularity of the archetype--the rebellious, anti-establishment, anti-hero persona--that Moore loves to embody these days. Now that many like Nicholson and martin have become fat, rich, and famous, I suppose they’ve lost that rebellious spirit that made them famous in the first place. Steve Martin is Bob Hope. How sad.

Posted by: mat at March 26, 2003 02:22 PM

HH:

Carville and Begala are the liberal bookends on Crossfire, and Donna Brazile and Eleanor Clift are the token Democrats (among three conservatives) on weekend panels. The rest (incl. Moore) appear only when they're in the news. It's not the same as Fox. To put it another way, who is the liberal equivalent on Fox of Robert Novak? Jonah Goldberg? Who on CNN plays the same role as Bill O'Reilly? Tony Snow? Brit Hume?

Posted by: Steve Smith at March 26, 2003 04:28 PM

Two topics, liberal hollywood and cable news.

Re: Hollywood, the answer as to its liberalism is pretty damn obvious. By its very nature, actors are paid to pretend. Their jobs are based on doing a good job of pretending, even lying. Thats not a criticism, just a reality. And whether its the utopianism of Marxist theory, or the dream world free of greed, poverty, etc. envisioned by regular old liberals, both liberalism and acting are both based on living in a dreamworld.

As for the cable channels, I'll confess, Fox might be a little hard to take for liberal democrats. Hell, O'Reilly and some of the other hosts are hard for me to take, especially Van Susteren. I flip between them and MSNBC about 40% each. The worst though, aside from the Beeb, is Peter Jennings at the Disney channel. Ugh!

Posted by: Lloyd at March 26, 2003 04:50 PM

Not quite sure what you're driving at, but the equivalent of Novak is probably Colmes (who by the way hosts his own talk radio show by himself, produced by Fox News, with the Fox News name in the title).

Eleanor Clift is not just on a weekend panel, she's a Fox analyst and appears quite often.

As for CNN, they have thus far shied away from opinion shows. The problem is Aaron Brown doesn't shy away from giving out his left-wing opinion, but his show is supposed to be straight news. The equivalent to Snow and Hume is probably Brown and to a lesser extent, Blitzer.

Posted by: HH at March 26, 2003 07:24 PM

All of this discussion about which cable news network is more "liberal" or conservative" is, of course, mental masturbation, because most of the populace, for better or worse (mostly worse), even in the 21st century, still gets their opinion formation from Dan, Peter, and Tom. All liberal, by almost anyone's definition, this side of International A.N.S.W.E.R.

Posted by: Rand Simberg at March 26, 2003 07:30 PM

Rand makes a good point. I can't remember the figures but network news absolutely dwarfs Fox viewership -- I mean it's a no contest. The three major networks, including Jim Lehrer's PBS show, pull in something on the order of tens of millions. Fox pulls in something like 400,000.

Posted by: Robert Light at March 26, 2003 07:57 PM

Very true. However, the past few days O'Reilly has been pulling 4s and 5s, better than a lot of primetime programming on the WB and UPN and some stuff on the Fox broadcast network.

Posted by: HH at March 27, 2003 10:06 AM
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Fox might be a little hard to take for liberal democrats. Hell, O'Reilly and some of the other hosts are hard for me to take, especially Van Susteren. I flip between them and MSNBC about 40% each. The worst though, aside from the Beeb, is Peter Jennings at the Disney channel. Ugh!

Posted by: Lloyd at March 26, 2003 04:50 PM

Not quite sure what you're driving at, but the equivalent of Novak is probably Colmes (who by the way hosts his own talk radio show by himself, produced by Fox News, with the Fox News name in the title).

Eleanor Clift is not just on a weekend panel, she's a Fox analyst and appears quite often.

As for CNN, they have thus far shied away from opinion shows. The problem is Aaron Brown doesn't shy away from giving out his left-wing opinion, but his show is supposed to be straight news. The equivalent to Snow and Hume is probably Brown and to a lesser extent, Blitzer.

Posted by: HH at March 26, 2003 07:24 PM

All of this discussion about which cable news network is more "liberal" or conservative" is, of course, mental masturbation, because most of the populace, for better or worse (mostly worse), even in the 21st century, still gets their opinion formation from Dan, Peter, and Tom. All liberal, by almost anyone's definition, this side of International A.N.S.W.E.R.

Posted by: Rand Simberg at March 26, 2003 07:30 PM

Rand makes a good point. I can't remember the figures but network news absolutely dwarfs Fox viewership -- I mean it's a no contest. The three major networks, including Jim Lehrer's PBS show, pull in something on the order of tens of millions. Fox pulls in something like 400,000.

Posted by: Robert Light at March 26, 2003 07:57 PM

Very true. However, the past few days O'Reilly has been pulling 4s and 5s, better than a lot of primetime programming on the WB and UPN and some stuff on the Fox broadcast network.

Posted by: HH at March 27, 2003 10:06 AM
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