Alessandra Stanley's review Saturday of the first episode of Fox News' comedy show, "The ½ Hour News Hour," began with a couple of dubious assertions and includes a cheap shot at Rush Limbaugh.
"Making fun of the president is not ideological. Not making fun of the president, on the other hand, is.
"And that's what distinguishes 'The ½ Hour News Hour,' a Fox News version of 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,' from most other satirical shows. Comedians like Mr. Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno and David Letterman ridicule whoever is in power, be it Bill Clinton or President Bush, John McCain or Nancy Pelosi.
"The Fox News comedy only leans on the left."
Hold on. Is there really any doubt about the liberal political leanings of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the main players in the political satire game?
"On a mock news program much like 'Weekend Update' on 'Saturday Night Live,' the targets are Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, global warming, Hollywood liberals, politically correct children's books ('Harry Potter and the Alternative Lifestyle') and the American Civil Liberties Union. A few riffs by the fake anchors, Kurt McNally (Kurt Long) and Jennifer Lange (Jennifer Robertson), are funny, yet others fall flat. But strangely, given the current wealth of material, there are no jokes about Mr. Bush, Dick Cheney or I. Lewis Libby Jr.
"Sometimes the humor is so heavy-handed that it seems almost like self-parody. The premiere tomorrow opens with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter in a skit set in January 2009. Mr. Limbaugh is the newly elected commander in chief, and he tells his fellow Americans that his Democratic opponent, Howard Dean, is 'finally getting the medical attention he has so desperately needed for so long,' which is a strange joke for Mr. Limbaugh to make, given his history of pain killers and prescription fraud....It's a strange new comic order when the actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and his hybrid cars loom larger than the Iraq war, the deficit or White House leaks."
Times Watch can't quite imagine the knee-slappers about the Iraq War or the deficit or Lewis Libby that Stanley is visualizing, but then again, humor is subjective.