Saturday, April 22, 2017

Red Eye Out!

As you might suspect from many of my previous comments I am not a particular fan of Fox News. The cable news outlet has been of even more notoriety recently because of the belated firing of the loathsome Bill O'Reilly, but it's other Fox programming changes which prompt my comment today -- the cancellation after ten years of the late-night "comedy" show Red Eye.

I've been watching Red Eye off and on since it's beginning. For one thing it's original programming at a time when I for some reason am all too often awake. As is obvious from postings here, I function mostly strongly in the early hours (losing steam steadily as the day drifts by). Mostly on TV are old movies, vintage TV series, or reruns of news shows which aired earlier in prime time. In the middle of all of that popped up an irreverent "news" show named appropriately enough Red Eye. It was hosted by Greg Gutfield originally, and other regulars included Bill Schulz the rare liberal voice on Fox and Andy Levy, a truly dedicated Libertarian. The show offered up what Fox News promoted most of the rest of the day but almost never produced, a show which was well and truly "fair and balanced". With a snarky lack of respect for authorities of all kinds and a rambunctious disrespect for decorum, the show was an uneven and occasionally even blithely absurd bag of commentary on the events of the time, both large and tiny.

Bill Schulz left after a time and his liberal perspective was never adequately replaced, and Gutfield left the show for other parts of the Fox News landscape becoming more and more a standard party hack and less the unpredictable voice he'd been in the deep night. Only Andy Levy remained and it was for Andy's "Halftime Reports" that I mostly tuned in, often just for those in recent years. Levy is a commentator with real conviction who is unafraid to critique all in the world which he finds offensive or stupid, and that is regardless of the political persuasion. As "Obamamania" swept up the Fox News company, Red Eye remained an outpost where a somewhat more fair assessment of those years sometimes broke through.

It's a shame Red Eye got cancelled, but truth told since the advent of host Tom Shillue the show had already to a great degree abandoned its unpredictable nature and had become yet another place where I could anticipate a steady if not quite unrelenting criticism of anything labeled "liberal" or "progressive". In a world in which far too many consumers of media hunt down only those outlets which confirm their inclinations, a show like Red Eye is even more necessary, at least a show like Red Eye was once upon a time.

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