It’s hard to believe, but some personalities are too hateful and over-the-top even for Fox. Well, to be more precise, some personalities are too hateful and over-the-top for some of Fox’s viewers and sponsors. And after several months of steadily declining ratings for the network and steadily declining viewership and sponsorship for a certain talking headless in its lineup, Fox finally showed him the exit. (Sponsors kept dropping him like a hot potato covered with anthrax because of complaints from the public. And note that if you ever complain to sponsors of such garbage, it pays to be civil. Because of the way large companies purchase advertising, it often happens that those at the top of the food chain are quite unaware of what they are supporting. Such appears to have been the case with The Men’s Wearhouse, which agreed to pull its ads from the program in question after actually watching it.)
You’ll notice that we do not mention this personality by name. His name has been mentioned more than enough already, and we don’t want to give him one jot more attention, since that is precisely what he craves (well, and the money might have a little to do with it as well), by engaging in puerile hatemongering and rabble rousing. So we’ll just refer to him as The Bad Actor.
Not that he’s the only bad actor out there in the world of demagoguery, mind you. There is an endless army of them polluting the airwaves, seemingly cloning themselves at an exponential rate. They know that by preaching hatred, they’ll always find a gullible and impassioned audience willing to shell out the bucks; and if the target of the hatred happens to be them thar libruls, you’ll really have them eating out of your hand.
Note that when we say “bad actor”, we certainly don’t mean to imply a lack of skill; we just mean a presentational style borrowed from melodrama rather than Stanislavski. It’s unlikely that these characters themselves buy the snake oil they’re peddling, and their stilted delivery betrays that insincerity, especially to anyone who (like yours truly) is experienced in theater.
But this one really stands out from the herd of bad actors; he’s taken the hucksterism styles of P.T. Barnum and Joe McCarthy and Ronald Reagan and tossed them into a blender, then cranked the whole thing up to the highest (or lowest) notch imaginable. He’s the one noted for, among other things, a crying act so manifestly phony that it would get him booted out of any decent junior high school drama production. But his faithful followers gobble it up, and see no trace of irony in his assertion that he weeps because he fears for his country.
The ever-meticulous media watchdogs Media Matters for America compiled a list of the 50 worst things he said on the air at Fox, and you really have to be amazed that they could narrow it down to a roster so short. But they jumped the gun by publishing this list 3 months before he left Fox; they should have known that entering the stretch, he would make every effort to out-nutty his own previous statements.
So now Fox is rid of him, but don’t you shed any crocodile tears – he now has his own Internet network (available by paid subscription, whaddaya know), the motto of which is “The Truth Lives Here”. (It’s kept in a cage and tortured daily.) And he knows a trick or two to generate publicity for it.
A couple of days before he was scheduled to move from one stage to another (the timing was no doubt purely coincidental), he decided to attend an outdoor film screening on the lawn in New York City. Now you might well expect that the reception he would get from the public at such an event would be less than warm and fuzzy. Not only has he spread all kinds of lies and hatred about the “liberals” who make up the bulk of the city’s population, but he has openly declared that he hates the families of 9-11 victims (like any true patriot, of course). Nonetheless, all accounts of those in attendance suggest that the crowd was unduly civil toward him. All accounts, that is, except for his own. According to his statements, he was harassed and attacked by a “hateful” mob (of wimpy leftist elites) who somehow got past his bodyguards.
One thing that apparently did happen was that a young woman spilled wine on his wife – the kind of incident that probably isn’t rare at such a crowded event. But even though the woman admitted she took a certain retrospective delight in the spillage, she insists it was an accident, and that she promptly apologized and even helped clean up the mess. But even if she’d done it deliberately, this was nowhere near the level of harassment the Bad Actor has alleged, and it’s certainly nowhere near the level of harassment and intimidation he’s recommended toward “liberals”. Funny thing is, even in this age of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, there isn’t a shred of evidence to support his side of the story. Surely he wouldn’t (gasp) lie about it, would he?
In addition to dubious anecdotes, he has a knack for using visual aids and imagery to help connect solidly with the guts of his audience while completely bypassing their brains. My favorite example occurred at his “Restoring Honor” rally, at which he demonstrated his own level of honor by claiming to have held Washington’s original inaugural address in his hands. (He’s also claimed to have held the Declaration of Independence.) He held it in his hands?
HE HELD IT IN HIS HANDS???
Anyone who stops and thinks about it, regardless of whether they’ve seen “National Treasure”, must realize how absurd this claim is. In fact, he later admitted it was a lie. Do you suppose that confession lodged in (or between) the ears of any of his fawning fans? Not likely. All it took was his initial lie to convince them that he was telling the truth, and no amount of subsequent truth-telling, even from him, will convince them that he was lying.
It’s truly bad acting at its finest.