The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 February 2007

Half Hour News Hour, Air America Radio, FOX News Channel


Why Connect FOX Comedy Show With Air America?

One is a television comedy show that has so far aired only its pilot episode, with mixed reviews from both critics and the general public. While it may or may not get picked up by its network for a longer run, it probably hasn't cost them much, either.

The other is a radio network that has burned scores of investors and businesses and raided an inner- city children's charity to cover huge bills for overpaid celebrity talent and lavish office perks. For nearly three years, it has put out a substandard product that the public has overwhelmingly rejected.

See any similarities here? Your Radio Equalizer sure doesn't.

And yet, a number of media types this week have been busy comparing FOX's new 1/2 Hour News Hour to Al Franken's failed liberal radio network. Is that really fair?

From the Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson, here's but the latest example:

Fox News' topical 'comedy' show flounders like Air America

Now that Fox News Channel's attempt to provide a conservative answer to "The Daily Show" has aired (see sample clip, below), perhaps all of us, Franken-philes and Dittoheads alike, can agree on something:

Liberals do topical comedy better, while conservatives win at talk radio.

Why is this? I'd argue that the liberal stance is more about trying to understand the world and its foibles, which allows for the ironic distance that produces good comedy, while the conservative stance tends toward the pugnacious, an aggressive dismissal of those who disagree that makes a better food source for talk radio.

Even the jokes in Fox News' first "Half Hour News Hour" tended to be angry and unsubtle. Hillary Clinton's cabinet would be composed of a multicultural group of "angry lesbians." Clinton said she wants to "chat" with voters on her Web site. "It's $4.99 for the first minute," said Jennifer Lange, one of two generic anchors who try to sell the jokes with everything but a wink and a nudge.

The "audience" seems to love it, in almost exactly the same way 1970s-era sitcom "audiences" loved every laugh line on those shows. Lesson: Not just anyone should be granted access to the "laugh" button.

Add in the facts that the show doesn't even get a home on the Fox News Channel Web site and Fox News committed to only two episodes (the next airs at 9 p.m. Sunday), and this one looks like a mere blip in the culture wars.

Whether the show stinks is almost beside the point; it's doubtful that FOX has wasted millions on this effort, nor have inner- city schoolchildren gone without afterschool programs because of the 1/2 Hour News Hour.

Given that Air America has had three years to find an audience, it's reasonable to believe that FOX's new effort ought to get at least a three- month tryout.

Classic AAR image: David A Lunde

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  • i love how you say there are no similarities, then proceed to paste an article that says that the similarity is that they both suck. that makes perfect sense.

    sure, the show might not suck to you, but it does to most people, just like some people like air america, while most others don't.

    you see, people are allowed to like certain things and dislike others. we don't all have to fall lockstep with your personal beliefs.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 21 February, 2007 08:47  

  • There is no comparison, Air America does factual political talk, 1/2 hour news hour, does low-brow humor aimed at the most mentally sick people in this country, dittoheads. Maloney is right in a sense, the author to compare dittoheads to Air America listeners, proves his hackery, dittoheads are functionally retarded and take everything the drug additct says as fact, AAR listeners fact check.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 21 February, 2007 09:30  

  • I've compared the two in my comments on this blog. I see the similarity in that AA will make people recoil from future lib talk (at least for awhile) and that 1/2NH will make people recoil from trying to do conservative specific humor again (probably for a long time). It's been the same way in Christian entertainment, but Christian music finally took hold and Christian movies are finally coming out of the mud. The problem for all of these entities is that when you represent an ideology you have to do well right out of the gate, otherwise you end up pushing a boulder up hill for a long, long time.

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 21 February, 2007 12:22  

  • I thought the Fox News pilot show was quiet funny, if you're a South Park conservative. There is no similarities between 1/2 News Hour and Air America, it is like comparing apples to oranges. If you like politically incorrect comedy you should visit They have Al Franklin and Ann Coulter running for president.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moore, at 21 February, 2007 14:09  

  • That is the fatal flaw in the theory that the two cannot be compared, you are looking at content. Instead look at how it affects the reputation of the ideology, the product, and future like products. This is about becoming successful, staying successful, or failing based on presentation of ideology.

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 21 February, 2007 14:36  

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