Something extremely weird has happened and I thought I’d share.
The other night on the weekly BBC television review I do on the radio, one of the topics we covered was the emergence of a new conservative TV channel in the States called The Right Network. Don’t worry, you’re unlikely to catch it. I believe it’s only available if you pay extra and specifically ask for it, or download it to a Nokia phone. So right now it’s not a serious contender. But that may change.
The Right Network was co-founded and co-funded by Frasier‘s Kelsey Grammer, and features such potentially ratings-topping shows as Politics and Poker, where people sit around and talk politics…while playing poker, and Late Night with the Obamas, in which a CGI cartoon figure of Barack Obama lies in bed and watches CGI talk show hosts make jokes about him. Plus, there are reality shows about Tea Party candidates, and stand-up comedians making jokes about Demon-crats.
So you get the idea – all right wing politics all the time, produced by people who doubtless think that the conservative cause – bigger profits at the expense of the little guy; tax breaks for millionaires; expanded military; corporations getting a carte blanche to game the system however they want – is somewhat under-represented by the almost entirely biased Fox News and Rupert Murdoch in his various media outings, and needs explaining to those of us dim enough not to understand why Right is right and the rest of us are wrong.
Well, I happened to say this as part of my TV review, and thought it was entirely justified in the context of the show. But no. Apparently, my words unleashed the hounds of hell, who are now trying hard to use my fairly innocent comments as leverage to prove that the BBC has a left-wing bias and is scheming to undermine the conservative cause. One blog even claimed I’d been “spitting venom like this for ten years” or somesuch nonsense, implying that I had an agenda, and in discussing The Right Network had naturally used my platform on the BBC to spread the word about how great the Left is.
Which, of course, is nonsense. Utter barmy nonsense.
For a start, I can’t remember when I have ever spat venom on the BBC. Or anywhere else for the matter. I’m known for being an absolute darling, as a matter of fact. On the show, especially, everything’s kept extremely jolly and civil. It’s a half hour of laughs about U.S. television. There’s definitely no agenda, much as some angry conspiracy theorists might like to dig for one.
Second of all, I genuinely don’t have any political axe to grind in my slot. If someone set up The Left Network, a cable channel featuring dopey shows lambasting conservatives, I’d cover that too. I’d be a fool not to. Wherever the fun is – that’s where I am.
And lastly, I honestly don’t remember – and trust me, my memory extends back years – the last time the host and I discussed politics in relation to TV at all. I mean, at all. It just never comes up. We’re too busy yakking about Oprah and Beverly Hills 90210, or my latest fad diet. (Next week: the Master Cleanse again, by the way, so stay tuned). If anything, we go out of our way to avoid politics, same way we avoid sport. It’s simply not our thing. Just this once it came up. I bet it doesn’t arise again for another five years.
Above all, to accuse a guy who’s offering a critique of a blatantly, and by its very nature, right-leaning network of being a Commie, or of spitting venom and having a left-wing agenda simply because he doesn’t happen to think much of the content of that network is inane. Inane, backward, and ridiculous.
I’ve noticed that the right-wing in America has adopted this tactic too, incidentally, so I assume British conservatives are just trying it out for size.
They make a wild statement. A wildly false – crazily so – statement about someone, such as “He’s been spitting hate and venom for ten years”, something like that, knowing there’s no truth to it at all, then sit back and leave that person to justify himself, or waste time defending a position that, ten minutes ago, before they raised doubt, didn’t exist in the first place. And hey, it’s been successful. (Look, I’m doing it now!) The Democrats have spent the bulk of their first two years in office putting out fires started by Opposition arsonists who spread fear, irrational and baseless rumors, and a raft of lies about Obama in the hope of destabilizing his power to govern and discrediting him and his administration. They could have helped run the country and make things better, but they chose to skip that and make a nuisance of themselves instead.
However, I believe that, in the internet age, this policy of lying for effect will ultimately catch up with all the candidates who see it as a shortcut to winning over a gullible electorate. It already is in some cases. When you have uber-Republican Karl Rove going on Fox News and pulling apart the standing of a fellow Republican, as happened yesterday after Tea Party neo-loon Christine O’Donnell became the GOP’s nominee for the Senate come November, you know the system is teetering on the edge and could collapse at any moment. People are tired of fighting. Tired of untruths. Tired of the crazies getting air-time. And downright annoyed that the media affords them even a grain of credibility by discussing their nonsense views.
So just this once I’m standing up for myself and calling these rabble-rousing nutjobs out for what they are. But I also challenge them to listen for the next ten years (assuming they’ve heard a single broadcast in the past, which I doubt) and see how many times politics comes up in any shade or hue on my slot. Trust me, they’ll be waiting a long, long time.
TV Swami, he say NO to the nutjobs and loons.