August 17, 2016

ALL COMEDY IS CONSERVATIVE:

The Man Who Created Political TV Out of Nothing (FRED BARNES, 8/16/16, Weekly Standard)
  
John McLaughlin was a Jesuit priest, unsuccessful Senate candidate in Rhode Island, and White House aide to Richard Nixon. But he won't be remembered for any of that because he did something a lot bigger. He changed TV political commentary and made it faster, funnier, and far more watchable--in other words, a whole lot better.

McLaughlin, who died Tuesday at 89, actually invented a new type of political chat show. He was the bombastic anchor. He was joined by four Washington journalists--big names in some cases--from whom he elicited opinions on the week's happenings. Then he often mocked what they said.

There weren't many political shows on TV when The McLaughlin Group went on the air in 1982. And the existing ones were staid and less exciting than a weather report. McLaughlin changed that. TMG was rambunctious, sometimes raucous, always sharply opinionated. The panelists argued with each other, at times angrily, and McLaughlin frequently declared their views "WRONG!"

Without letting on to what he was doing, McLaughlin turned the journalists on his show into television characters. He gave them nicknames. There was Eleanor Rodham Clinton. I got the nickname Freddy the Beadle Barnes. Viewers picked their favorites and rooted for them.

It's no coincidence that Steven Colbert stopped being funny the moment he stopped being John McLaughlin.

Posted by at August 17, 2016 4:37 PM

  

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