Critics Take Aim At ‘Fox & Friends’ Prank

By Alex Weprin 

The comedian who pranked “Fox & Friends” this week is getting heat from some unexpected sources: critics who normally are not the most Fox-friendly writers around.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper writes:

Yes, in a perfect TV world every guest should be vetted, every story should be checked out. In the real TV world, prank callers sometimes get through and hoaxster guests can make it all the way to the live interview before it becomes apparent something isn’t right.

I thought Carlson actually handled the situation pretty well. If Rice’s goal was to exploit the system and demonstrate how phony the process can be, he tipped his hand by going into jerk mode almost immediately. He would have gotten a lot more air time and would have delivered his message with more impact had he played it straight for a couple of minutes before revealing his true identity.

And in Variety Brian Lowry writes:

While one might think our instant-information culture would help weed out hucksters, hoaxers and hype-peddlers, inexperienced and overworked news employees — operating at a frenetic pace, akin to a media MASH unit — can tip the scales the other way. In that regard, the Fox News segment was a small moment, but an illuminating one.

As a news hound, it’s difficult not to be conflicted about the Fox prankster, who, like Voldemort, shouldn’t be named. In serious times it’s hard to applaud rewarding people for behaving like numbskulls. Moreover, it’s not the anchors but rather some faceless booker who will likely bear the brunt of any potential discipline.

On the flip side, such a clear illustration of news organizations’ incompetence and flimsy standards does qualify as something of a public service, even if one balks at embracing the messenger.