Monday, September 12, 2011

Heckle and Beckel: The Five Should be Renamed the Three

Fox News Channel's The Five (i.e., five panelists at 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday) was apparently meant as a summer placeholder in Glen Beck's former time slot, but ratings have been so good so it may become a permanent part of the schedule.

If Fox producers are reading, isn't it time for one of the regular panelists, the disruptively clownish Bob Beckel, to go back to D.C. to "spend more time with his family"? Admittedly Beckel--a failed Democrat political consultant--at times can be funny and unpredictable and provide insight on the inner workings of a political campaign, but his hectoring/heckling and/or pouting against virtually all things non-liberal (along with an inability unlike his favorite president to read a teleprompter) is getting really tired.

All you really need to know about Beckel is his claim that "Barack Obama is the greatest economic president in my lifetime." FNC replaced Beck with Beckel, and now it's time to replace Beckel.

Apart from tired liberal propaganda, much of his other on-air input consists of personal attacks on the other panelists and political figures with whom he disagrees.

His lame complaints that he's politically "outnumbered" on the show ring hollow when you consider the equivalent roundtables on ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN and so forth. The fact that the other hosts seem to find it necessary to pander to him or try to mollify him as a result is annoying.

Beckel also recently made a borderline racial slur against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Can you imagine the outcry had a similar statement been made by a right-of-center commentator? Beckel's overbearing participation on the show does serve, however, to give a peek behind the curtain as to what liberals are really thinking about matters of race and ethnicity; as the iconic talk radio host Bob Grant used to say, "liberals are the ultimate hypocrites."

So, Fox producers, how about renaming the show The Three--minus Beckel and Eric Bolling? The regular lineup should then include the stunning Kimberly Guilfoyle, the libertarian "everyman" Greg Gutfeld, and former White House spokesperson and equally stunning Dana Perino (with able backup support from Andrea Tantaros and Monica Crowley as necessary). Bolling already has a full plate on the Fox Business Channel and doesn't really add much to the show.

Although her preening for the camera is somewhat off-putting, Guilfoyle--a former model, prosecutor, and "first lady of San Francisco"--has a quick, sassy sense of humor. Her clever one-liners are often lost in the crosstalk so a smaller panel would be an upgrade in this regard. Gutfeld, the Red Eye host, doesn't take himself too seriously or claim to be a political pundit but also has an irreverent, creative world view. Perino functions well as the more grounded voice of reason.

So the recipe boils down to less Beckel and more Guilfoyle.

In general, it's a watchable show but The Five could benefit by avoiding a rehash of some of the same boring stories that all the other cable network shows are covering. And how about agreeing on one host rather than rotating that function after each commercial?

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