s Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson "dumbing down" her on-air personality to appeal to Fox News viewers? Daily Show host Jon Stewart thinks so, and he points out that Carlson — who graduated with honors from Stanford and is a classically trained violinist — routinely makes a show of looking up words like "czar" and "ignoramus." (See video below.) Is her "troubled mom" schtick real, or is she just trying to score points against liberals?
Dumb? Gretchen Carlson's an evil genius: Sure, you could see Carlson's "dumb blonde' schtick" as another example of the "Eastern elites" who run Fox News "cynically playing up populism," says Irin Carmon in Jezebel. But it's better than that. She's cynically and "disingenuously playing into gendered soccer-mom, gee-whiz cliches" — the result is "evil brilliance."
"Playing dumb: Jon Stewart calls out Gretchen Carlson on ditz act"
Carlson's just winning at an old game: "I have my doubts" that Gretchen Carlson is "being herself" on Fox & Friends, says Aaron Barnhart at TV Barn. But so what? Fox News didn't invent the archetypal American "wedge between elites and 'the people'" — "populist media like radio and TV" has always been about "people with college educations conveying information to people with high school educations." Why shouldn't Carlson play off that?
"Another pretend right-wing populist exposed—hilariously"
It's rude to viewers: Gretchen Carlson seems to play her populist card "to the point of parody," says Michele McGinty in BeliefNet. "Why doesn't she just admit that she doubts the average Fox viewer knows what 'czar' or 'ignoramus' means? If I were a viewer, I would be pretty insulted."
"Jon Stewart: Gretchen Carlson dumbs down"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why we need a maximum wage
- 10 things you need to know today: April 23, 2014
- Why Mindy Kaling — not Lena Dunham — is the body positive icon of the moment
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- The sexual politics of Game of Thrones just got enormously worse
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
Subscribe to the Week