RUSH: A friend of mine sent me an editorial from the Stanford University Daily, the Stanford Daily. This is written (it’s unsigned) by the editorial board. I just want to read you some excerpts before we get to the “24” sound bites here. “For Senior Jonathan Goldstein, Monday nights from 9-10 p.m. are off-limits for everything except FOX’s hit drama, ’24’.” “My friends know not to call me during that hour,” he said. “It’s not that I’m anti-social about it, I’ll watch it with other people. I just want to be fully focused on what’s happening.” As most people familiar with the show already know, Goldstein is hardly alone. Since its debut in 2001, “24” has become one of the most popular and compelling shows on television. Yet despite the show’s enormous entertainment value and we admit that it is addictive whether you are a devoted longtime fan, or just getting into the series, it is important to pause and consider how the show may influence the way audiences think about current events.
No, it’s not important to pause. Liberals will want to pause and think about that because they are worried that “24” depicts a reality that they’re trying to erase. “But at the same time, there is the possibility that ’24’ could replace news altogether for some viewers.” Please. I kid you not. This is the editorial board at the Stanford Daily. Now, you know me. I love institutions of higher learning. I love the free flow of information and ideas, the inquiry. I love college students, the future of America, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But this is just patently absurd. There’s the possibility “24” could replace news altogether for some viewers? Folks, do you realize what a great thing that would be if “24” was the only news show people watched? Not because of what they see on “24”, but because of what they won’t see everywhere else.
“But at the same time, there is the possibility that ’24’ could replace news altogether for some viewers, and the over-dramatized events it presents to keep the adrenaline flowing could pervert the public’s sense of reality by creating a constant sense or paranoia that is good for ratings, but not necessarily for the general interest.” Uh, constant sense of — I think there already is a constant sense of paranoia, and it’s on the left, from Halliburton, to Cheney, to whatever theories these kooks have. There is rampant paranoia already on the left. By the way, a question for the editorial board at the Stanford Daily. Did you worry that people were watching The West Wing and pretending that it was actually the administration? Did you worry that people were watching The West Wing in place of news, as you worry that people are doing the same thing with “24”?
“The pervasiveness of torture in many of the seasons distracts from the seriousness of the matter. Bauer often has to extricate information from terrorists by painful means that would probably fit any textbook definition of illegal interrogation. But because Bauer is the good guy and has to work fast to save the day, it often becomes too easy to ignore any moral implications of his actions.” I disagree. I think the show doesn’t let anybody get away without making moral — most of the time torture takes place on this program, there is a moral question surrounding it, and it’s not presented the way these libs fear that it is. “Furthermore” and here we get to the meat of this “– the constant portrayal of Muslim terrorists as the source of threat opportunistically plays off the public’s fears and perpetuates existing stereotypes that all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists.”
Yes, that’s what it says. “Furthermore, the constant portrayal of Muslim terrorists as the source of threat opportunistically plays off the public’s fears and perpetuates existing stereotypes that all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists.” You know, I need for somebody to prove to me this isn’t a stereotype, and I’ll tell you why. You might be more accurately talking about it if you were to state that all terrorists are Arabs and Muslims. Not that all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists, but we’re not worried about little grandmothers blowing up our jets. What’s been happening for years and years and years in the realm of terrorism has been perpetrated by a specific people. But see, you can’t say that. That’s offensive and that’s profiling and it’s bigoted and whatever it is, it’s racist and so forth. So we have to deny reality in order to be kind and so forth.
“Though most Stanford students are able to separate the entertainment value of the series from its factual content, not taking many of the over-the-top plot twists as credible depictions of the current political atmosphere, next time you watch ’24’, it is worth considering exactly how these elements play into the excitement. We are confident that our peers can make the distinction between a fictional show and real life, and we hope the rest of the 33 million viewers will be equally discerning.” I don’t know. If they’re so confident of this, why did they write the editorial? Why are they so worried? Of course, they get it. The editorial board at Stanford gets it, but they’re worried about the other 33 million people. I would say this. When they write, “we hope the rest of the 33 million viewers will be equally discerning.” Don’t count on it. They’ve been educated by our public schools. I jest, of course. So this is at the Stanford Daily, this is the editorial board.