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Not Everyone Loves Fake News

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by

Sarah Burton

on 2 December 2010

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Transcript of Not Everyone Loves Fake News

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8702984119494273719#Double click anywhere & add an idea 5 minutes in Letters
Published interviews
Media coverage (NYT and Chicago Tribune)
The actual programs (DVD, BBC website)
Literature
Government documents Before The Daily Show or Colbert Report
News Satire was not well-received on TV
History of the shows that paved the way
Books covering the histories of each show
Contribution: tracing the lineage of these satirical programs alongside their tribulations with the censors, government regulation, and audience distaste of social criticism. Not Everyone Loves Fake News:
The First Satirical News Programs
And Their Struggles with Politics, Censorship, and Ratings WHY YOU DOIN THIS, SARAH? How'd You research this, Sarah? Hey, sarah, what shows did you look at? BBC's That Was the Week That Was (1962-1963)
NBC's That Was the Week That Was (1963-1964)
Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in (1968-1973)
Saturday Night Live (1975-1980)
Not Necessarily the News (1983-1990) BBC's That Was the Week That Was (1962-1963)
NBC's That Was the Week That Was (1963-1964)
Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in (1968-1973)
Saturday Night Live (1975-1980)
Not Necessarily the News (1983-1990) so what's the history? Political satire & fake news leading up to TW3 Aesop, Aristophanies, Jonathan Swift
News satire in papers
Industrial revolution
The Great Moon Hoax - New York Sun
Fake letters from civil war soldier - New York Mercury More recent history: Radio Bob and Ray Show
1946-1985
Few sketches satirized News
"Ray Goulding" Political Satire with a Punch Print/magazine
MAD
McCarthy hearings as quiz show
Playboy
Features by Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce Clubs: Where Real Political Satire Lived Negotiate Identities: highbrow pretensions and postwar culture
Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman, Bob Newhart...
Began as dissident, underground humor
Went mainstream in 60s - Kennedy's election
LP records
Second City in Chicago On the Other Side of the Atlantic... Satire boom begins
The Establishment
Beyong the Fringe
Private Eye BBc's That was the week that was
Also known as TW3 or TWTWTW
Groundbreaking in government criticism
Live
hugely popular - 12 million
David frost
stopped after 2 seasons due to feared political influence during General election Changes at BBC BBC government funded
Postmaster General could censor content
Competition from Independent Television
Guidebook to good taste
New director general Carleton Greene
"Prick the pomposity of public figures"
Ned Sherrin, Alasdair Milne and Donald Baverstock
Theatre was already increasingly liberal TW3 Show Format Format: David Frost acts as anchor
Cross between Daily Show/Variety Show
Sweeping shots proudly displayed the set
Frost ended: "That was the week that was." TW3's Fake News Recruited writers from newspapers
Frost played commentator
Interviewed "politicians"
Bernard Levin interviewed people in the news TW3 Ruffles Political Feathers TW3 prompted a parliamentary debate when it ridiculed 13 members who had not made a speech in three years and inspired 10 libel suits TW3 Ruffles Political Feathers Lord Aldington told BBC’s director-general Hugh Carleton Greene in a letter from February 13, 1963:
“I am now more worried after Saturday’s TW3. The Government’s defence policy takes knock after knock from remarks that are only part relevant to the fun of the piece.”
“Once targets, policies or persons become discernible we shall all be in trouble and no doubt we shall take up the cudgels." Sir Edward Boyle, the Minister of Education, told the Fleet Street Column Club that what TW3 did was essential to democracy.
“It is mixing satire with genuine, honest criticism. I think this has enormous possibilities…. There is no single right of liberty more important than the right to criticize one’s rulers.” NBC wants TW3 Leland Howard, producer
“[TW3] will pull no punches in its comments about politics…” which will make it differ from its British predecessor that was “critical of the government, the church, and … the crown."
"Preview" show hosted by Henry Fonda 11/10/1963
Critical acclaim, Season premiere in January TW3 starts in America and ENDS in England BBC: “This decision has been taken for one reason only: 1964 will be a general election year. Political activity will be mounting to a height as the date of the election nears.”
Harold Wilson, labor party - show should not be abandoned for political reasons NBC's TW3 Format replica of BBC version
David Frost came to host
Nancy Ames sings
Buck Henry
Allen Alda Critics Turn on Show Larry Wolters, Chicago tribune:
“It will take more than a half dozen tired and worn Goldwater jokes to give its satire any bite or interest…. TW3 has become a major disappointment….”
“If Britain didn’t want [David Frost] around whooping it up for the Labor party, it seems to us that we don’t need him here as a spokesman for the Democrats.”
Satire too strong? What changed? Kennedy assasination
TV viewers affected
Howard scales back "bite" of satire Season 2 - 1964 Election (LBJ v. Goldwater) smaller cast
moved to Tuesdays?
October 6 - RNC buys timeslot
October 13 - RNC buys timeslot
October 20 - Season 2 premieres
October 27 - RNC buys timeslot
November 3 - no show, election TW3 gets canned political maneuverings
poor ratings, couldn't make up
insulting/degrading American society?
taking aim at bigotry and complacency? United States wasn't ready for news satire on TV. Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In aka Laugh-in
1967-1973
Highly successful
Reached #1 in ratings
Producer George Schlatter
Sight Gags, Fast paced News of the past, present, and future What changed? hippie culture
miniskirts
social changes
more lax censors
Vietnam
Race Riots
Protest Marches A blue or political joke is not as unsettling when viewers are watching “a South Vietnamese general shoot a defenseless Vietcong in the head.” Laugh-in and Election Year
Nixon makes appearance
censors tighten up
Rowan: “They even make us soften the blows at Mayor Daley an the Chicago police.” Chevy Chase (1975-1976)
John Belushi (1975-1979)
Dan Aykroyd (1975-1979)
Gilda Radner (1975-1980)
Garrett Morris (1975-1980)
Jane Curtin (1975-1980)
Laraine Newman (1975-1980)
Bill Murray (1977-1980) CONCLUSION
What do we learn?
Fake news/ satirical news/ political satire did not early transition on television
Programs either had to be edgy and deal with critics/sensors, or dull the humor
TW3 is still edgy by today's standards - taken off air due to election year
US TW3 was dulled, but still "slanted," did not fair well enough in ratings, issues with political maneuverings
Laugh-in was able to find success with new visual formula, more "silly", joke-a-minute style
Much less critical, tried hard to be unbiased, able to reach wider audience
comedy in Laugh-In got tired
SNL brought back some substance to satire
successful with younger audience, staying power
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