Talk radio is the lone conservative outpost of the Liberal Media, the Ice Station Zebra from whence right-thinking yakkers can (and do) bitch incessantly about the Liberal Media. Sure, there are a few left-leaning talk-radio hosts on the air, but they’re no less difficult to find than a buried morsel of conservatism in your average alt-weekly newspaper.
So, when ratings for The West Wing (NBC, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.) began to dip this season, AM radios nationwide instantaneously commenced to buzzing the tinny buzz, “The party’s over, commies!” Practically every talking pinhead on the dial is now proclaiming that Americans are sick and tired of producer Aaron Sorkin’s ultra-liberal politics (often oh-so-cleverly re-branding the show The Left Wing) and are switching off their TVs en masse in protest of The West Wing’s fantasyland White House and its barely-veiled attitude of “kill righty.” Viewership is down by 33 percent, proof-positive that those misguided souls have finally come to their senses and now spend their Wednesday nights on Bible study, quilt-making and yelling at neighborhood kids to “get off my lawn!”
I call these conservative talk-radio hosts pinheads for several reasons: 1. They’re conservative talk-radio hosts (had to get the lockstep Liberal Media answer out of the way first). 2. The West Wing still wins its timeslot every week with over 18 million viewers—that’s 17 million more than The O’Reilly Factor, but also 27 million more than lefty Donahue (it’s been documented that people will actually light their TV sets on fire and then bury them in the backyard whenever Phil appears on-screen, hence the negative rating). 3. The West Wing also still dominates the Emmy Awards every year, sometimes as the only nominated drama not allowed to toss around the word “fuck” for effect. 4. Those lost viewers haven’t suddenly rediscovered good Christian family-values pastimes; they’re just switching over to other programs at 8 p.m.—and get a load of what those are:
ABC’s The Bachelor, in which a square-jawed stud-puppet sifts through dozens of alternately cat-fighting and leg-humping skanks in order to find his ultimate soulmate, who may or may not be the original carrier of that strange new itch. No left-wing policies on the table here—at least not until it’s disinfected!
Fox’s Fastlane, where a pair of renegade undercover cops crash cars and bed babes while daring to wear $300 pants with $2 thrift-shop shirts and bringing every flashy MTV depravity to three-dimensional (OK, two-dimensional) life. Exposition on gun control? Hell, nothing’s in control!
The WB’s Birds of Prey, featuring vigilante comic-book superheroines in über-tight leather costumes kicking sci-fi/kung-fu ass on the streets of New Gotham like Dark Angel and Mutant X never even existed. Feminist issues are sooo beside the point—eat boot!
UPN’s Twilight Zone, an update of the series from the ’60s (early ’60s, when everyone knew their damn place), chock full of New Millennial intensity and psychological terror. Affirmative action is the last thing on your mind when Satan’s ripping your soul asunder in what you thought was a late-night diner on a deserted stretch of highway. Infrastructure reform, maybe.
CBS’ The Amazing Race … honestly, I have no idea what the point of this show is. I hear the gay kid and his father have been eliminated, but a pair of brothers (one straight, one more flaming than a Donahue TV set) are in the lead. No time to discuss homosexual rights when you’re jumping out of a plane over Mexico with an alligator, a can of diesel fuel and a Liza Minnelli CD strapped to your back, right?
Obviously, the talkers didn’t do their Wednesday homework before declaring America’s “rejection” of the left-wing agenda and moral degeneracy in degeneral. Yes, you can hear The West Wing’s lofty lefty knee jerks from miles away, and the idea of Martin Sheen as president in reality should be as frightening as Homer Simpson in charge of your local nuclear (sorry, new-cue-ler) reactor. But until conservatives can come up with a show as snappily written as this or Comedy Central’s way-lib (and consistently way-better) Daily Show, they’d do well to just shut the hell up.