THE PENNY POST
And now for the winners
By Andrei Codrescu
Television coverage of the war in Iraq was an opportunity to compare networks, and there is no question in my mind that Fox News was tops. The network calls itself fair and balanced, which is quite funny, given its unabashedly biased right-wing take on everything from French fries to cluster bombs, but this is not its appeal. The secret of Fox News is that its like a porn movie with clothes. The blonde Fox anchors in their false eyelashes and short skirts always look slightly tired as if theyd stayed up all night being naughty, and are buoyed only by war adrenaline and the hope of misbehaving again as soon as the camera goes off. Their male counterparts look like former frat boys leering secretly at some dirty joke they just told or remembered, and they, like the viewers, cant wait for the blondes to cross their legs. One embedded female Fox reported gleefully from the cockpit of a fighter jet, positively oozing with lust and wickedly delighted at the evident jealousy of her counterpart behind the desk on earth: Bet youre sorry youre not up here with these boys! Leer. Grin. Squeeze young flyer bicep. Earth anchor crosses legs.
Guests and commentators were older versions of the frat boys, mostly decrepit cold-warriors like William Bennet and Al Haig, delirious with joy at finding a Fox blonde at the bottom of the cereal box. They all looked like they just put down their Scotch to come on TV.
Unfortunately, Fox missed the climax in Baghdad because they used footage from Abu-Dhabi TV that was shot to look like there werent that many celebrants there for the pulling down of Saddams statue. The competition did a lot better with that one, so it looked for a minute like Fox did all the fluffing and the others got the sweets. But all in all, none of the others came close. CNNs Aaron Brown was timid and cranky and there wasnt any rah-rah in him. MSNBC tried to out-rightwing Fox but thats like wearing a stuffed codpiece when you just dont got it.
Things have gone down since the war, but the Fox effect rules. Bill Bennett, for instance, ex drug-czar, and moral crusader, turns out to be a big time gambler. There are sins and there are sins. With a father figure like Bennett and optimistic children like the Foxes and a good war now and then, the conservatives have nothing to worry about. Only the stripper news anchors in Russia and Canada might give them a run for the money, but this is still America, goshdarn it. We can be obscene with our clothes on.