The Reason Fox and Friends Exists

Fox and Friends, that network’s morning show, is like a vortex of stupidity even by the standards of Fox News. Justin Peters writes about the show at Slate and I think he’s on to something with his explanation for why the show exists at all:

FoxAndFriends550

As far as I can tell, the chief goal of Fox & Friends is to help its viewers start their days secure in the knowledge that someone in the world is dumber than they are. (Asserting one’s own status by belittling others: Is there a more Trumpian raison d’être?) For liberal viewers, the dummies in question are the Fox & Friends hosts themselves: Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade. For conservative viewers, these days the dummies in question are Democrats or certain NFL players or Hollywood celebrities, or any of the other groups that Fox & Friends regularly holds up for scorn and ridicule. The ridicule is generally lazy and inept—on Thursday, a guest repeatedly referred to rapper Marshall “Eminem” Mathers as “Martin Mathers”—but it is nevertheless effective. The show is the televised equivalent of those spam emails that deliberately misspell words and use poor grammar in order to filter out worldly people, leaving only the easy marks.

Doocy is a credulous boob who not only looks like the guy who used to host Supermarket Sweep but seems like he probably auditioned for the job. He has been hosting daytime programs for a very long time and is an expert at keeping things simultaneously light and nasty. “Colin Kaepernick has been out of the NFL all season after his anthem protests, and he knows why: collusion,” said Doocy on Monday morning, using a funny, mocky voice on the last word, as if those three syllables were as suspicious as the man who leveled the charge…

Kilmeade, the show’s jock, offers all of the wit and insight of the pledge master of a frat that will soon be banned from campus. He loves mispronouncing certain words in order to mock those who use them in earnest. “Rosie O’Donnell tweeted out in support of Jemele [Hill], ‘Yes we are, hashtag Systema- … syste- … systematic racism,” he said on Tuesday, misquoting O’Donnell’s tweet in reference to ESPN anchor Hill’s recent suspension. Later that week, in response to a statement by Democratic congressman Luis Gutiérrez, he ineptly ridiculed the rise of the term white supremacist. “White supremist,” said Kilmeade. “The new buzz is white supremist. Everyone says it. They had some conference call or fax agreement.”

And all you need to know about Ainsley Eerhardt, the perfunctory blond in between them, is that she’s actually the smart one on the show. Relative to Doocy and Kilmeade, a pair I have long referred to as the two dumbest men on television. It’s really the TV equivalent of those local “morning zoo” radio shows that every comedian hates with the fire of a thousand suns, having had to do a thousand interviews with the DJs who think they’re funny (and they’re not, ever) because they have a sound effects board that can trigger a loud fart whenever they feel the need.

Fox took that same format — two dumb DJs with a vastly inflated sense of self-worth and a bubbly woman that they actually refer to in the industry as a “giggle box” to laugh at everything they say — and put them in designer suits. The effect is the same. Only the dullest could possibly find this entertaining or informative, which can only mean one thing: Fox News knows its target audience very, very well.

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