The ESPN-affiliated, Bill Simmons-run website Grantland, which specializes in sports and popular culture, claimed on Friday that Fox News Channel is a major source of what Simmons calls “unintentional comedy” (or maybe “subconscious comedy” would be more accurate).
In a feature about the history and influence of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” segment, Grantland staff writer Brian Phillips opined that “the structure of Fox News is so deeply and basically comic that it’s impossible not to read it into the tradition of news satire” and that “like ‘Weekend Update,’ Fox succeeded by taking the elements of a normal news broadcast and exaggerating them to ludicrous proportions.”
From Phillips’s piece (emphasis added):
Is it strange that, of all the current-events products currently on television, it’s often Fox News that feels most like a “Weekend Update” bit? Critics are constantly asking why there’s no conservative Daily Show, but there is; it just won’t admit it’s a joke. The structure of Fox News is so deeply and basically comic that it’s impossible not to read it into the tradition of news satire. All those weeping paranoiacs! The fist-shaking curmudgeons! The gun-toting robo-blondes! Like “Weekend Update,” Fox succeeded by taking the elements of a normal news broadcast and exaggerating them to ludicrous proportions. Only instead of Opera Man, it has Angry Immigration Crusader; instead of Mr. Subliminal, it has Jowly Operative Insinuating Things About Hillary Clinton’s Health; instead of Gay Hitler, it has Outmatched Token Liberal; instead of “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead,” it has Benghazi.