Fox & Friends has decided that since the White House health-care summit takes place during regular working hours that it is basically a soap opera. “We’ve heard it’s going to be theatrical because after all this is a very theatrical White House” said co-anchor Steve Doocy. “Really it’s kind of a soap opera isn’t it?” It’s true that you can usually expect fireworks with that many conflicts of interest and archetypes stuffed into one small room. But doesn’t cable news also come on during soap-opera hours too?
In the Dynasty video, which Media Matters posted on its Web site, Obama is cast as the “Charming (but dithering) Boss” and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the "Arch Nemesis.” Sarah Palin appears as the “Wild Card” and Senator Chuck Schumer as the "Fast- Talking Hustler from the East." It’s cute, and it’s a savvy way to play down the importance of discussing health-care reform. “Comparing the bipartisan health-care summit to a soap opera is about as accurate as comparing Fox & Friends to a legitimate news show. They would rather trivialize the health-care debate instead of actually report on it. Case in point, they still can’t distinguish between reconciliation and the nuclear option,” says Jess Levin, a spokesperson for Media Matters, which tracks conservative media outlets.
But Doocy’s prediction isn’t totally off the mark. We’ve already seen the Obama-McCain snit, which has done exactly what he predicted—led the news in a discussion not about the importance of health-care reform, but of personality types and seething rivalries. Neither politician was thrown into a lily pond, they’ve just been tossed onto YouTube. The summit isn’t over yet, so hang on to your remotes.
The disappointment: for our leading man we are only offered House Minority Leader John Boehner as the "Hunk.” Also, there are no Heather Locklear archetypes, which—to be fair—perhaps says more about glamour on the Hill than it does about the creative team at Fox & Friends.