I've written about this before, have been saying it for years and will continue to say it over and over and over again until it sinks in:
What we are watching on that YouTube video embedded above, what Bob Cesca describes today on his blog, is an IMPROV ACT. It is nothing more or less than a scene in an elaborate, ongoing, endless, perpetual, well-funded, well-orchestrated, non-stop 24/7 production of improvisational theatre, in which the performers get to make up the story as they go along and perform it for the audience. The person called "Jeanine Pirro" that we see and hear on the TV screen, is an actress, a character in a play. This is not a real person saying real things. She's an actress in character doing a performance piece.
Whether the audience knows that it's watching improv or not is irrelevant to the actors, directors and producers of the act, as long as the money keeps coming in. Of course, most members of that audience do not know, realize, or really care, that they're watching improv; they think they're watching The News. They then become unwitting (or in some cases, witting) performers in that aforementioned improv act, not just its audience. It's "The Truman Show" in reverse.
Some of us may remember The Truman Show. The 1998 film directed by Peter Weir starred Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, an unwitting performer in a 24-hour television show that is all about him. See, Truman was "adopted" at birth by the production company, raised in a fictional town called "Seahaven" that was built and existed entirely within the confines of an enormous geodesic dome, the World's Largest Television Studio containing hundreds and hundreds of hidden cameras, in which everything from buildings and cars to the sun and the weather could be controlled by the production crew, and everyone except Truman -- including his parents, his wife, his best friend, his coworkers, &c. -- was an actor or an extra.
Setting aside how unrealistic this all is, and without devolving into a critique of the film itself, the conceit of "The Truman Show" (i.e., the TV show portrayed in the film The Truman Show) is that Truman doesn't know he's on TV, doesn't know he's being "watched" 24 hours a day, doesn't know that everyone around him is an actor and that much if not all of what they do and say is scripted and directed from behind the scenes. As far as Truman is concerned, this is real life and the people around him -- i.e., the characters they play -- are real people, his relationships and interactions with them entirely real and genuine. The appeal of the show to its audience, as portrayed in the film, is that Truman is not an actor and that his responses and actions are completely natural; although certain events are set in motion and guided by the writers, producers and cast, and Truman is subtly and clandestinely kept on a very short leash (such as by preventing him from ever wanting or being able to leave Seahaven), the show is more unpredictable than the typical character-centered TV drama.
Truman's whole life is a play. The actors and extras on "The Truman Show" are basically performing an improv act around Truman, 24 hours a day, every day of his life. The producers of the show created a self-contained world for him to live in and interact with, controlling everything he sees, hears, experiences, and knows, without him ever being aware of it or of them, of who the people around him and everyone he's ever known or encountered -- including his loved ones -- really are.
The difference between "The Truman Show" as portrayed in the movie and what we see on "Fox News" every day (such as the ugly fact-challenged rant by this character named "Jeanine Pirro" in the video above) is that Truman himself is not on the show. The audience does not tune in to watch Truman and see what happens; the audience is Truman. They don't know that they're watching improv. Just as Truman can't tell the difference between actors/characters and real people, Fox's audience in large part can't tell the difference between an improv act called "News," and news. And like Truman, they're actually unwittingly performing the act on behalf of the producers and directors, taking to the Internet day after day to write, argue and rant about whatever the actors are presenting to them, treating and regarding it as if it were actual reality, and of course, voting Republican (viz., voting for the economic interests of the act's producers, directors and performers).
[As a side note, rants like Pirro's might also be regarded as a form of hypnosis -- another category of performance art. Some of what Pirro is saying here, and a lot of things we hear from other "Fox News" improv actors/characters like "Sean Hannity" and "Bill O'Reilly," have a sort of creepy Repeat-After-Me quality to them. "Repeat after me: The President is weak. Repeat after me: Terrorism is on the rise. Repeat after me: The President lied about Benghazi. Repeat after me: Iraq is Obama's fault." And so forth. Then the audience obediently takes to the blogs and comment threads and repeats whatever they've been programmed to believe.]
This is not to say I don't think it's important to keep pointing out, reviewing and dissecting the verbal and intellectual detritus that this traveling improvisational-theatre troupe, and its actors/characters like "Jeanine Pirro," produce on a daily basis. The fact that its audience doesn't know they're watching improv makes that critical. But we must start consistently calling it, and treating it like, what it is. We need to put "Fox News" in quotes or italics the same way we'd put the name of any other fictional television program. We need to start calling it the "Fox News" Improv Channel or the "Fox News" Improvisational Theatre Company. We need to start referring to people like Pirro, O'Reilly, Hannity, Kelly and the rest as "Fox News" performer [X] or "Fox News" actor/actress [Y] or "Fox News" character [Z].
Thankfully, the audience for the "Fox News" improvisational theatre production does not appear to be growing, and may in fact be shrinking. But as long as it's there we need to call it what it is.