By Bob Cesca: When Fox News Channel cancelled Glenn Beck, there was progressive dancing in the social media streets. Beck was off television, after all, and it had a lot to do with grassroots efforts to convince advertisers that it's a bad idea to have their brand linked with an incendiary fraud.
But then Fox News filled the time slot with easily the dumbest show ever. It's called "The Five" -- an obvious cable news knock-off of The View (and all of its imitators) in which four conservatives and one liberal (for balance) snark about the issues of the day. If Fox News was trying to create a show that would augment the intellectual stature of the usually moronic Fox & Friends, they totally succeeded.
The moderator of the show is serial race-baiter Eric Bolling and the panel consists of a Lazy Susan of cackling simpletons. Greg Gutfeld, whose previous credits include both Fox News Channel's overnight show and The Huffington Post where he blogged about his calf muscles and made hilariously smart cracks about Cenk Uygur's name, is evidently the designated jokester, dickbag and misogynist of the group. There's also former Bush press secretary Dana Perino and legal analyst Andrea Tantaros. "Democratic strategist" Bob Beckel, who recently said "fuck" on the Hannity show, is the token liberal and, in keeping with Fox News policy, makes really weak points and often appears to be drunk. A perfect target for the conservatives on the panel.
Everything you need to know about the dynamics of The Five is contained in this a clip from Friday's show:
So with the exception of Beckel, who barely made it through his bit without passing out, everyone on the show thinks it's okay for corporations to inject unlimited and totally unaccountable buckets of money into political campaigns.
And so in case your head hurts and you skipped over the clip, here's what each panelist said.
They began by airing a clip of Nancy Pelosi talking about campaign finance reform and some thoughts about a proposed constitutional amendment to ban corporate political donations. Bolling was outraged that Pelosi said "we have a clear agenda" to "amend the Constitution." More on this presently. Gutfeld, meanwhile, thought Nancy Pelosi was dressed like Dr. Zaius from The Planet of the Apes. Zinger! And fresh! Next up, Beckel mumbled and slurred his way through a reiteration of Pelosi's remarks (to which Bolling replied, "Wow! You admit it!" as if a constitutional amendment is crazy talk). Beckel also framed his bungled, belching answer in a way that allowed a massive opening through which the other panelists were able to fling poop all over. Dana Perino, like Gutfeld, didn't make any points about campaign finance and, instead, claimed that Democrats want to amend the First Amendment, and she doesn't think the Supreme Court leans conservative. (Perino is obviously in favor of corporate personhood and unlimited political "speech" in the form of campaign contributions.) Andrea Tantaros also ignored campaign finance and made an awesomely clever joke about Pelosi being from outer space -- complete with a Star Trek communicator impression. Another Fox News panelist on the bleeding edge of comedy.
Regarding Bolling's and Perino's shocked horror that Democrats want to amend the Constitution in order to ban corporate money from political campaigns. It turns out Nancy Pelosi isn't the only one who's been pushing for a constitutional amendment.
Sean Hannity wants a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Such an amendment would naturally amend free speech and First Amendment rights. Perino seemed to be against that and, in fact, thinks it's politically suicidal. I wonder if Hannity is aware of Perino's objections. Meanwhile, Steve Doocy and most Republicans support an amendment that would establish fetal personhood -- this would alter the 14th Amendment. Mike Huckabee wants to entirely repeal the 16th Amendment. Fox News hosts Andrew Napolitano, Huckabee and Glenn Beck have all pushed for a repeal of the 17th Amendment. In total, Republicans have proposed 51 constitutional amendments.
Somebody check to see if Bolling has fainted yet.
So what has The Five actually accomplished here? Aside from fulfilling their role as the dumbest show on Fox News Channel, they've managed to completely avoid talking about the poison influence of corporate money in American elections. First, they're just unable to articulate a rational point in defense of Citizens United v FEC. Second, the moderator and at least one other panelist is totally ill-informed about the constitutional amendment process -- either that or they're being deliberately stupid about it. Third, the Supreme Court's decision is indefensible to everyone except Citizens United, the five justices who supported it and corporations that are adding increased and unregulated control over the American political system to their business models. Oh, and Stephen Colbert. He likes it too, but for very satirical reasons.
And really, a pro-Citizens United position on Fox News Channel is a losing argument since 73 percent of conservatives and anywhere from 56 to 73 percent of tea party supporters were against the decision, according to an ABC News / Washington Post poll. But none of that matters because The Five isn't about having a serious (or even light-hearted) debate using principled arguments about the issues. It's clearly about taking the opposite position of whatever Democrat X has to say -- and then using stale sarcasm, deliberately uninformed outrage and hackish jokes to ridicule it.
And ssshh! Don't wake Beckel.