CNN Host, Bush-Bashing Comedian "Hard to Place" on Political Spectrum

In a desperate-seeming play for the youthful "Daily Show"/"Colbert Report" audience, CNN has given Bush-bashing comedian D.L. Hughley his own variety show, and reporter David Itzkoff marked the occasion in Saturday's "For Once, CNN Takes News Less Seriously." In the story, both the NYT's Itzkoff and the CNN president Jonathan Klein played dumb about Hughley's obvious anti-GOP stance:

Just 10 days ago CNN announced that Mr. Hughley would be the host of a new comedy-news show, "D. L. HughleyBreaks the News," which has its premiere Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

For CNN, which prefers to emphasize its trustworthiness over, say, its hilariousness, the show represents the channel's belated (and risky) entry into the well-established genre of news delivered with a satirical smile. Still being assembled at press time, the first episode of "Breaks the News" will offer a mix of sketches and stand-up comedy, taped segments and an interview in which a former Bush administration spokesman endorses Senator Barack Obama.


In recent years, however, Mr. Hughley has appeared frequently as a guest on politically themed comedy shows like HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," and on documentary series like CNN's "Black in America." As an actor, he also delivered pointed commentaries (usually written by Aaron Sorkin) on the short-lived NBC comedy-drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

Last year, when Mr. Hughley was a guest of Glenn Beck on Headline News, a sister channel of CNN, he caught the attention of Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/US.

"It was hard to tell where on the political spectrum he fell," Mr. Klein said in a telephone interview. "He had an independence and thoughtfulness that was wrapped up in a very appealing package of humor and self-deprecation."

If CNN's president is truly unaware just where "on the political spectrum" his new hire is, Hughley called President Bush a "son of a bitch" and "very un-Christ-like" on Bill Maher's HBO talk show "Politically Incorrect" in March 2006. The excerpt:

If I hear one more person tell me how this man is a man of faith, I think I'll lose my mother-f***ing mind....When thousands and thousands of people were being, dying in New Orleans, this son of a bitch didn't do sh*t, and that's very un-Christlike to me."