Election night 2010: Fox News strikes back!

Glenn Beck had his specs on. You knew it was going to be a special night. Fox News had been looking forward to this day for precisely 22 months — the Fox strikes back! — and so they gleefully brought out the bunting which, for this most histrionic of American news channels, meant Sarah Palin, polls that didn’t quite add up and kookily hyper computer graphics.

“ELECTION ALERT” screamed a circular icon that spun across the screen at every possible interval, proving that, at Fox HQ, even something as domestic as a midterm election could well be an international terror attack and should be treated as such. Rally to Restore Sanity, schmanity.

The evening — as is the way with Fox News, which is consistent in tone to a fault — saw Glenn Beck in his beloved professorial mode, which means he had his magic glasses making him see what he described as an upcoming “Weimar moment” where most others saw a midterm election.

Now, there are many criticisms a person can make of Glenn Beck but one thing you can’t knock the man for is access to random figures.

“Footwear is up 45%!” he screamed, tapping his magic blackboard.

And before one could ask if he meant compared to 20 years ago, he dismissed any scepticism with an abrupt announcement that “Fear is up 6%”, quantifying what some might have thought was fairly unquantifiable.

But such is the way with Fox News, a land where numbers take on a different, more fluid kind of property.

Later in the evening, Fox announced that 38% of viewers were expressing their opposition to Obama’s policies, 37% said they were supportive of them and 36% said Obama had no part to play in their voting choices.

This was an interesting poll result for Fox News to trumpet because, aside from it not helping their case a jot (“Interesting!” euphemised the identikit blond presenter in charge of the poll numbers with palpably gritted teeth — one day, a machine will be discovered in the basement of Fox News HQ which churns out identical hairsprayed blonds to appear on screen), it didn’t even add up.

But before one could worry too much about arithmetic, there was “Sarah Palin, Fox News contributor”, wearing what appeared to be a wig from a Sarah Palin Halloween costume.

Seriously, that thing was so big, if Bristol climbed on top of it she could probably have seen Russia.

“There will be some new sheriffs in town so there could be some roughness when the new team comes together,” she said, referring to the Tea Party, suggesting, just maybe, some last minute anxiety on Palin’s part at having been the portal that opened up this cave of Mama Grizzlies.

“What is too far to the right?” she continued, but before one could perhaps show her some photos of, say, Sharron Angle, she — as is her usual wont — answered her own question by claiming it was any involvement of the government.

No wink, but I swear that wig made a satisfied nod.

Of course, Fox was its usual “fair and balanced” self, a term from the same linguistic stable as the “religious right”, in that it is neither.

Fox News’s Shephard Smith nearly burst his buttons when the poll came in announcing RandPaul’s lead: “Rand Paul! A Tea Partier! The first Tea Party win of the night.” – guardian.co.uk

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