On Sunday, February 18, The Fox News Channel aired the first of two pilot episodes of the conservative-slanted news spoof The Half Hour News Hour.
Creator Joel Surnow, best known as the creator of the Fox broadcast network’s hit show 24, describes the new comedy as “The Daily Show for conservatives.”
“We’re not looking to be balanced,” said Surnow. “For our show, it’s a specific thing that we are delivering.”
That specific thing is scathing satire of the American political left. A promo spot for the show warned potential viewers the show may be offensive to “The Left, The Far Left, Anyone Standing to the Left, Gay Penguins, Lawyers, The ACLU, Anyone With ACLU in Their Name, Democrats, People Who Voted for Democrats, People Who Know Democrats, Gay Penguins, Illegal Aliens, Space Aliens, Tom Cruise…”
A single clip of the show, released on YouTube.com before the first show aired, was viewed over 350,000 times in one week and garnered more than 3,500 comments, most of which were from liberals criticizing the show as “lame.” The clip featured a segment on Barrack Obama mentioning his teenage drug use. It went on to also satirize Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O, by advertising “BO, The Barrack Obama Magazine,” a publication promising “Don’t tell mama, I’m for Obama” t-shirts with a paid subscription.
The show also took swipes at global warming alarmists in a segment on the “six degrees of global warming,” where an actor portrayed a former game show host and current climatologist who could tie in global warming as the cause of various problems the world faces in six steps or less.
The show also featured an interview with a Che Guevara t-shirt seller named “Lenny,” who defended his practice of selling shirts depicting murderous left-wing dictators and revolutionaries.
Between segments, there were fake public service announcements showing an American Civil Liberties Union member celebrating the group’s more controversial actions, such as fighting to guarantee neo-Nazis the right to march in Skokie, Illinois and the right of pregnant mothers to use cocaine and not be charged with a crime.
Was the show funny? It probably depends on who you talk to. Liberals have described it as “mean-spirited” and filled with “personal attacks.” Conservatives have countered that the same could be said of virtually all other mainstream political satire.
“You can turn on any show and see Bush being bashed,” Surnow said to Variety magazine. “There really is nothing out there for those who want satire that tilts right.”
For now, at least, there is.
The second pilot episode of The Half Hour News Hour will air Sunday, March 4 at 10 p.m. on the Fox News Channel, after which the network will decide whether or not to pick up the show.
Josh Smith is a telecommunications data analyst and aspiring writer. He is a staff writer for the Saint Leo University Lion’s Pride newspaper and is a regular contributor to the political debate on http://www.ThePoliticalCapital.com