Variety’s Lowry: TV News Embracing the ‘Wackadoodle Demographic’

By Alex Weprin 

Variety television critic Brian Lowry writes about television’s embrace of what he calls the “wackadoodle demographic.” Not limited to ghost hunting shows on Syfy, Jesse Ventura’s conspiracy show on TruTV or apocalyptic programming on history, Lowry also sets his sights on some well known television news personalities:

Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck is in a sense the poster child for such material. Even many who share Beck’s conservative political views risk feeling light-headed when he strays beyond them into his fringiest warblings — wild-eyed warnings about government internment camps, indoctrination of children and secret communist messages embedded in Rockefeller Center.

Update: As a commenter notes, Beck actually debunked the idea of government internment camps, making it a curious choice for Lowry to use as an example. The video is in the comments section.


Lowry also criticizes NBC News anchor Lester Holt, who is hosting a special on Syfy channel: “Inside Secret Government Warehouses: Shocking Revelations.”

The special is tied to the debut of the new season of the Syfy series “Warehouse 13,” and frequently uses clips from the (scripted) show to illustrate some of the claims.

“In the end, we can’t say for certain what’s below ground, or hidden behind closed doors,” Holt concludes ominously, which is a helluva thing to say after wasting two hours of everybody’s time. Nevertheless, he adds, there are secrets people don’t want us to know, as if that in itself is evidence of something extraordinary.

That such nonsense is provided by an adjunct of NBC News makes its own statement about news-division willingness to further entertainment objectives. Then again, when the unit was formed a few years ago, NBC News Prez Steve Capus said it underscored “how we are transforming from a news organization into a news and information organization” — even if some of that “information” winds up being more Weekly World News than “NBC Nightly News.”