The Fox sitcom provided belly laughs this week; from reports that Sean Hannity, was about to bolt after Bill Shine was allowed to resign [read: fired his ass]; to new lawsuits and legal difficulties; to learning Fox failed to get him to sign a non-compete agreement, before booting Loofah Lad.
But, nothing made me howl more than how Fox twisted itself into knots to condemn Stephen Colbert — for his crude joke — without being able to bring up The Falafel King, whose name cannot be mentioned on Fox, apparently.
It got funnier after Zingers Fly When CNN’s Paul Begala And Fox News’s Brit Hume Bicker On Twitter. One scribe makes the case that Stephen Colbert is not Bill O’Reilly and he is NOT getting fired…
O’Reilly was brought down by decades of creepy behavior, audio tapes of said creepy behavior and $13 million worth of settlements with his accusers.
Colbert? He’s a squeaky clean family man who simply parodied O’Reilly for years on Comedy Central. Was what he said acceptable on television? At 11:30 p.m. and bleeped to the bejesus belt, it sure is.
If anything, CBS should give Colbert a raise as he turned out to be the only one at the network to challenge thin-skinned Trump on behalf of his ridiculous behavior toward Dickerson.
…while — SURPRISINGLY! — Hannity Doesn’t Agree With #FireColbert: ‘If You Don’t Like Him Change the Channel’. This as Fox Business Asks FCC if It Can ‘Police Offensive Comment’ From Stephen Colbert. Watch & read along:
“I know you said, ‘By and large, the FCC, outside of our indecency rules, we don’t get into the business of regulating content,’” said Cavuto. “But you can regulate or at least police offensive comment, can’t you?”
“If we do get complaints, then we will take a look at the facts that are alleged, and we’ll apply the law,” said Pai.
“There are a lot of people saying he should be fired,” Cavuto also said, kicking off the segment. “There’s an internet cause saying just that.”
I’ll just leave this here:
SAME AS IT EVER WAS: With Talking Points Memo asking the musical question Can Fox News Survive? Mediate’s Rachel Stockman shouts EXCLUSIVE: Advanced Talks Underway For New Conservative Network Amid Fears Fox News Moving Too Far Left, which is why talk of Hannity leaving amid this ugly scandal, and Loofah non-compete clauses, felt appropriate.
As the Federal Probe Into Fox News Widens, and a Lawyer for Fox Employees Opposes Murdochs’ Attempt to Acquire Sky Network, Don’t be Fooled, Here’s the Real Reason Murdoch Sons are Cleaning House at Fox News. Because If you think Fox News is changing, Rupert Murdoch’s internal memo shows it isn’t. At all:
What’s happening at Fox may look like a thorough housecleaning.
But it’s really more like a cleaning crew who believes that dimming the lights and sweeping the dirt under the rug are acceptable substitutes for what’s really needed: a mop, a bucket and some industrial-strength disinfectant.
Also worth reading:
The station’s biggest problem might be what’s revealed in Fox News Besieged by New Bias Lawsuit and Federal Inquiry:
A former public relations chief for Fox News has been subpoenaed and granted immunity from prosecution, one of the people said. The former executive, Brian Lewis, started at Fox News when it was founded in 1996 and was once considered one of the closest aides to Roger Ailes, the former chairman who was forced out last summer amid a sexual harassment scandal. He was fired in 2013 and left the network with a settlement.
Mark Kranz, the former chief financial officer for Fox News, also was subpoenaed and has immunity, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Kranz, who oversaw the network’s finances when it paid millions of dollars in settlements, was appointed to his position by Mr. Ailes in 2004, and resigned last year, a week after Mr. Ailes had done so.
I predict shareholders will file lawsuits as well.
THIS WEEK’S LAWSUITS: Fox News Reporter Sues Network For Gender And Disability Discrimination • Fox News Web Personality Diana Falzone Sues Network for Gender Discrimination • Reporter says Fox News fired her for using harassment hotline • Report: Fox News Chief Spied On Women Who Spoke Out About Sexual Harassment At Fox, Including Gretchen Carlson • After Fox News, What Should Companies Know About Corporate Counsel Defendants? •
SPECIALISTS AT WHAT? Bully Boy Bolling‘s new show at 5, The Specialists, is already taking a critical drubbing. I predict it won’t last long. But, I said that about his last show, now in its 6th year.
What kind of Specialists are we talking about?
I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.
SEAN OF THE DEAD: It looked like Hannity was leaving after his Twitter meltdown last week alleging a vast conspiracy. Then the drama queen called a staff meeting to say he’s staying, as Paranoid Hannity Goes On Bizarre [New] Tweetstorm, Warns ‘I Have A Massive Army’.
None of that is particularly funny. This is:
TRUMPCARE AND CARE OF TRUMP: Just as this article was going to press, the following came in over the transom:
President Trump Reportedly
Speaks to Fox News Chief Rupert
Murdoch ‘Almost Every Day’
Credit where credit’s due: Fox News Admits That Disastrous Trumpcare Is Laying The Groundwork For A Single-Payer System. Meanwhile,
Brain Brian Kilmeade calls insurance for preexisting conditions a luxury, as — contrary to all available evidence — Fox’s Newt Gingrich Claims GOP Health Care Plan Isn’t Being “Rammed Through” Congress. Meanwhile, Fox’s Meghan McCain Loses It When Confronted With Details Of Trumpcare, as All Hell Breaks Loose When Someone On Fox Mentions What The GOP Health Care Bill Actually Does. Watch:
THE TRUMP DUMP: After Watching Fox News, Trump Flips Out And Calls For A Government Shutdown • Trump Brags About The Money His Foundation Donated To Australian Organization After Requests From Rupert Murdoch • In 100 Days, Trump Has Attacked The Press Over 100 Times. Here’s How Fox News Cheered Him On. • On Eve of 100th Day, Trump Tweets Thanks to Fox’s Lou Dobbs for Praising His Successes • Watch Fox News Whitewash Donald Trump’s Call For A ‘Good Shutdown’ Of The Government
TUCK & COVER: This reporter has been warning ‘Merka about Tucker Carlson for years. Now the mainstream media is jumping on the bandwagon:
I ran Carlson’s Twitter feed through a data analytics tool. Between 14 and 17 March, when he interviewed Trump, he received 58 million impressions online, most of them mentions of him rather than shares of his tweets, suggesting he generates more debate than agreement. People like to fight over whether or not they like him. Those who engage with Carlson are much less interested than the average Twitter user in science and technology, activism or health. People who are interested in Tucker are 50 times more likely than the average user to be interested in Sarah Palin, 42 times more likely to be interested in immigration, eight times more likely to be interested in golf and six times more likely to be interested in Real Housewives.
But it’s also still on the wrong side of patriarchy and male privilege. And the recent firings of host Bill O’Reilly and Co-President Bill Shine underline how much trouble the network is in, thanks to its culture of sexual harassment.
Fox can brag all it wants about its continued ratings dominance and how it thinks the network actually got better when Tucker Carlson replaced Megyn Kelly after she left in January for NBC News despite the offer of more money to stay. But Team Fox is whistling past the graveyard with such talk.
With his bully-boy, brow-beating, interview style, Carlson, who has now moved up in the batting order to the 8 o’clock slot replacing O’Reilly, is very much part of the larger, male-centric, cultural problem at Fox — not any kind of solution.
That did have a WWF air to it, fitting Pomerantsev’s critique that Carlson does a better job of capturing President Trump’s modus operandi than O’Reilly. But at times with Carlson, it’s just not a fair fight. It’s more like shooting fish in a thimble[.]
OTHER HEADLINES: Tucker Carlson failed upward into a chance to do real journalism. Will he take it? • Tucker Carlson Wants BuzzFeed’s Editor-In-Chief To Tell Him How Many Trump Voters Are On His Staff • Washington Post Reporter Warns Journalists To Avoid Tucker Carlson’s ‘Dunk Tank’ • Tucker Carlson Snags Top Crime Expert; Just kidding! It’s Fabio. • Tucker Carlson Sympathizes With “Wacko” “Alt-Right” Figure Baked Alaska • Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Lands Multiple Book Deal • Tucker Carlson lands an eight-figure, two-book deal with Threshold Editions
The real joke is that anyone thinks he’s worth 8 figures.
FOX BYTES: Fox News Guest Criticizes 9/11 Hijacking Victims: “They Did Not Act As Freethinking Individuals” • Fox Host Baselessly Links Shooting To “Animosity In The Climate Change Wars” • Fox Hosts Joke About How To Pronounce A Hispanic Journalist’s Name • Fox’s Greg Gutfeld Calls May Day Protesters ‘ISIS Without The Goats’ • Fox News Breaks With AP And Top TV Networks For Election Day Polling • CNN President Jeff Zucker really, really dislikes Fox News • Fox News Women Are Wearing Pants — Here’s Why That Matters • ‘What a Sh*tty, Sh*tty Tweet’: Fox Takes Heat Over ‘Dishonest’ Graphic on Trump’s Job Numbers
When Headly Westerfield pitched a weekly column, he had no idea that some weeks would be massive.