Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Green Shoots in the Cultural Wasteland at CBS?

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bd/CBS_Eyemark.svg/768px-CBS_Eyemark.svg.pngIn the midst of college students and Democratic politicians behaving badly, might there be signs of second thoughts by more responsible, more moderate leaders? Cop shows have been used to make progressive political points for years. Episodes on two CBS shows this January featured messages that seemed quite out of synch with the dominant narrative. Are these green shoots in the cultural wasteland?

A recent Blue Bloods (CBS) episode, “Disrupted,” had Tom Selleck, as Frank Reagan, delivering a speech from the head of the family dinner table against the transmission of campus behavior into general society; he called it destructive. I was astonished to hear this full-throated defense of civil society on a major broadcast network.

At about the same time, another CBS property, FBI, “A New Dawn,” had an aging radical professor as the villain, comparing him to Osama Bin Laden manipulating his young college students to behave like jihadis. The hero FBI characters used those terms. On CBS. Further, when an agent expressed her progressive disgust with the “alt-right provocateur” victim, the female FBI supervisor corrected the agent, saying the agency does not do politics and must defend free expression, even when speech is disagreeable.

Is there a classic left-liberal resurgence in this venerable network? Are adults realizing things have gone too far? Is this an internecine fight on the left? Time will tell, but we should praise commendable programming decisions.

There are 33 comments.

  1. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Are these green shoots in the cultural wasteland?

    A little spray of Roundup ought to take care of them. 

    • #1
    • January 29, 2019, at 8:16 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    On the other hand, the last two episodes of The Orville have lurched hard SJW.

    • #2
    • January 29, 2019, at 8:22 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the other hand, the last two episodes of The Orville have lurched hard SJW.

    Sometimes I think its just parody — it’s really hard to tell. 

    • #3
    • January 29, 2019, at 8:35 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Steve C. Member

    Blue Bloods is decidedly of traditional American middle class blue collar themes. Protecting the public by upholding the law. Patriotic, yet not shirking to confront the TV version of modern problems. Moral dilemmas addressed with common sense moral solutions.

    The depiction of the weekly family dinner is probably the most transgressive act on contemporary television.

    • #4
    • January 29, 2019, at 9:03 PM PST
    • 20 likes
  5. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the other hand, the last two episodes of The Orville have lurched hard SJW.

    Sometimes I think its just parody — it’s really hard to tell.

    If it was parody, it was lousy parody. SJW talking points delivered using SJW language in the same condescending tone used by SJWs, with no push back or correction.

    • #5
    • January 29, 2019, at 9:16 PM PST
    • Like
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s the smart moves of Les Moonves, who was just tossed for #metoo violations (markedly milder than most).

    A damn shame. In most respect he was a good guy. Moonves was widely insulted at the time of his ouster by writers like the one at Vanity Fair who sniffed that his line up of shows, for nearly 15 years the most popular in America, were an embarrassment and a liability in “tomorrow’s America”, because too many have had white male, especially tough guy protagonists. His comedies, like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, may not tickle the fancy of the Moral Majority, but they sure aren’t woke. He stuck by conservatives like Gary Sinise and was patient with CSI:NY (and initially put Blue Bloods into its time slot). He gave Rob Long’s most recent meal ticket, Kevin Can Wait, a second season because he wanted to compete for a share of the Roseanne audience.

    He singlehandedly dumped a nasty TV movie, “The Reagans” when he felt the producers had lied to him. There are lots of diplomatic ways to say stuff like, “Gee, we just love it, but we need this list of changes”. Happens every day. Moonves flatly said “This will never air on CBS”.

    I’m not putting the man up for sainthood, but I’m not an ingrate. In April 2000 the American Cinema Foundation gave awards at the Beverly Hilton, and one of them went to JAG, a CBS show. Moonves was so delighted he bought a full page color ad in Variety congratulating the show–a cool $25,000 right there–bought tables for the luncheon, and even made a speech. He knew damn well we were a conservative organization, and he was no conservative, whatever Vanity Fair or anyone else thinks. But he was an honest old fashioned liberal who knew what kinds of audiences wanted to see cop shows, spy shows, heroes in general, and he wanted our money too. He will be missed.

    • #6
    • January 29, 2019, at 9:57 PM PST
    • 17 likes
  7. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That CBS logo sure looks like the all-seeing eye of Big Brother. Just sayin’. 

    Is your telescreen on?

    • #7
    • January 30, 2019, at 12:16 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    That CBS logo sure looks like the all-seeing eye of Big Brother. Just sayin’.

    Is your telescreen on?

    From: High Treason (UK, 1929)

    • #8
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:04 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s useful to view entertainment as, things I could never do – or be allowed to do – in real life. 

    Mans of course it’s pure fantasy in almost every aspect.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their entertainment choices, but I’ve soured on these shows long ago ( even though they are very well done) because the meta message is mostly BS bordering on propaganda.

    Police at all levels aren’t nearly as smart, diligent, caring and ethical. I would love it if it was even close to reality. 

    So are these examples of advocacy or is it just BS? The last example sounds like the equivalent of public relations product placement. 

    Of course, knowing your audience is key to success, and it could simply be them wiseing up.

     

    • #9
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:05 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Jon1979 Lincoln

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    That CBS logo sure looks like the all-seeing eye of Big Brother. Just sayin’.

    Is your telescreen on?

    CBS’ color logo of the 1950s was a little less foreboding, though seeing the thing with a full pupil looks a little weird

    ….

    • #10
    • January 30, 2019, at 3:17 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Blondie Thatcher

    I cheered after that dinner speech on Blue Bloods. (Disclaimer: I cheer often during this show.) My husband and I keep waiting for there to be backlash against some of their episodes but haven’t heard of any yet. Here’s hoping the writers continue writing great shows. 

    • #11
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:06 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Petty Boozswha Member

    I think the median age of a CBS viewer is around 70, I’m surprised they haven’t been more conservative with their police procedurals. Rob Long might have a comment, maybe here or on Glop.

    • #12
    • January 30, 2019, at 4:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Columbo Member

    Hope springs eternal!

    • #13
    • January 30, 2019, at 5:36 AM PST
    • Like
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think Tom Selleck is probably involved in how Blue Bloods has evolved. He was a big supporter of President Reagan.

    • #14
    • January 30, 2019, at 6:45 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. Blondie Thatcher

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I think Tom Selleck is probably involved in how Blue Bloods has evolved. He was a big supporter of President Reagan.

    I read somewhere that he insists on the family dinner scene in every show.

    • #15
    • January 30, 2019, at 7:02 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  16. Columbo Member

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I think Tom Selleck is probably involved in how Blue Bloods has evolved. He was a big supporter of President Reagan.

    I read somewhere that he insists on the family dinner scene in every show.

    That’s awesome. It reminds of this type of ending in every show of Duck Dynasty

    • #16
    • January 30, 2019, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    JimGoneWild (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the other hand, the last two episodes of The Orville have lurched hard SJW.

    Sometimes I think its just parody — it’s really hard to tell.

    If it was parody, it was lousy parody. SJW talking points delivered using SJW language in the same condescending tone used by SJWs, with no push back or correction.

    Exactly. I think this is Seth McFarland’s humor at work.

    • #17
    • January 30, 2019, at 7:31 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    I’m a long-time fan of Blue Bloods. I, too, cheered the college behavior bashing.

    • #18
    • January 30, 2019, at 7:32 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I look at the ratings of these shows and it makes my head hurt. The margins between what makes a show viable and what merits cancellation these days is agonizingly thin. 

    One of the untold stories behind the ratings game is that Nielsen does more than breakdown an audience by age. The “coveted demo” is not just a preferable age group, but it can also be the viewers median income. If you’re delivering an audience that advertisers want the numbers don’t need to be all that spectacular.

    • #19
    • January 30, 2019, at 8:19 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. TGR9898 Coolidge

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I think Tom Selleck is probably involved in how Blue Bloods has evolved. He was a big supporter of President Reagan.

    I read somewhere that he insists on the family dinner scene in every show.

    Correct. Selleck is a life-long Conservative, and he’s stated that he definitely steers the show along traditional themes – family dinner, religious observance, respect for elders, etc.

    On the other hand, the FBI sequence certainly seems like a combination of P.R. or wishcasting on the part of left-leaning writers. The revelations of the last year certainly seem at odd with the idea “the female FBI supervisor corrected the agent, saying the agency does not do politics and must defend free expression”

    • #20
    • January 30, 2019, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    Clifford A. Brown:

    …Tom Selleck, as Frank Reagan…

    His character’s name is “Reagan?” Oh, brother! Is there a Detective Buckley or Goldwater, too?

     

    • #21
    • January 30, 2019, at 9:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    For many years, CBS’ audience demographics have tended to skew older than most other tv outlets.

    • #22
    • January 30, 2019, at 10:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Misthiocracy ingeniously Member
    Misthiocracy ingeniously Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    I’m not putting the man up for sainthood, but I’m not an ingrate. In April 2000 the American Cinema Foundation gave awards at the Beverly Hilton, and one of them went to JAG, a CBS show. Moonves was so delighted he bought a full page color ad in Variety congratulating the show–a cool $25,000 right there–bought tables for the luncheon, and even made a speech. He knew damn well we were a conservative organization, and he was no conservative, whatever Vanity Fair or anyone else thinks. But he was an honest old fashioned liberal who knew what kinds of audiences wanted to see cop shows, spy shows, heroes in general, and he wanted our money too. He will be missed.

    Old fashioned liberals are the new conservatives. The Overton Window has been pushed so far to the Left that watching an Aaron Sorkin show today feels like right-wing propaganda.

    • #23
    • January 30, 2019, at 10:44 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  24. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    For many years, CBS’ audience demographics have tended to skew older than most other tv outlets.

    Richer, too. That’s why they’ve long been known as “the Tiffany network”. 

    • #24
    • January 30, 2019, at 11:02 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  25. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I haven’t seen Blue Bloods lately but I watched the first couple of seasons. I wondered if Tom Selleck had to grit his teeth doing the scenes where his character had to speak supportively of NYC’s gun control laws.

    • #25
    • January 30, 2019, at 1:05 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    On possible good news on campus culture, see this recent post:

    https://ricochet.com/members/misthiocracy/activity/1264433/

    • #26
    • January 30, 2019, at 5:04 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    On possible good news on campus culture, see this recent post:

    https://ricochet.com/members/misthiocracy/activity/1264433/

    Two steps forward, one step backward.

    • #27
    • January 30, 2019, at 7:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    It’s the smart moves of Les Moonves, who was just tossed for #metoo violations (markedly milder than most).

    A damn shame. In most respect he was a good guy. Moonves was widely insulted at the time of his ouster by writers like the one at Vanity Fair who sniffed that his line up of shows, for nearly 15 years the most popular in America, were an embarrassment and a liability in “tomorrow’s America”, because too many have had white male, especially tough guy protagonists. His comedies, like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, may not tickle the fancy of the Moral Majority, but they sure aren’t woke. He stuck by conservatives like Gary Sinise and was patient with CSI:NY (and initially put Blue Bloods into its time slot). He gave Rob Long’s most recent meal ticket, Kevin Can Wait, a second season because he wanted to compete for a share of the Roseanne audience.

    He singlehandedly dumped a nasty TV movie, “The Reagans” when he felt the producers had lied to him. There are lots of diplomatic ways to say stuff like, “Gee, we just love it, but we need this list of changes”. Happens every day. Moonves flatly said “This will never air on CBS”.

    I’m not putting the man up for sainthood, but I’m not an ingrate. In April 2000 the American Cinema Foundation gave awards at the Beverly Hilton, and one of them went to JAG, a CBS show. Moonves was so delighted he bought a full page color ad in Variety congratulating the show–a cool $25,000 right there–bought tables for the luncheon, and even made a speech. He knew damn well we were a conservative organization, and he was no conservative, whatever Vanity Fair or anyone else thinks. But he was an honest old fashioned liberal who knew what kinds of audiences wanted to see cop shows, spy shows, heroes in general, and he wanted our money too. He will be missed.

    So, do you expect a purge of incorrect thinking and narratives?

    • #28
    • January 31, 2019, at 1:57 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    It’s the smart moves of Les Moonves, who was just tossed for #metoo violations (markedly milder than most).

    A damn shame. In most respect he was a good guy. Moonves was widely insulted at the time of his ouster by writers like the one at Vanity Fair who sniffed that his line up of shows, for nearly 15 years the most popular in America, were an embarrassment and a liability in “tomorrow’s America”, because too many have had white male, especially tough guy protagonists. His comedies, like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, may not tickle the fancy of the Moral Majority, but they sure aren’t woke. He stuck by conservatives like Gary Sinise and was patient with CSI:NY (and initially put Blue Bloods into its time slot). He gave Rob Long’s most recent meal ticket, Kevin Can Wait, a second season because he wanted to compete for a share of the Roseanne audience.

    He singlehandedly dumped a nasty TV movie, “The Reagans” when he felt the producers had lied to him. There are lots of diplomatic ways to say stuff like, “Gee, we just love it, but we need this list of changes”. Happens every day. Moonves flatly said “This will never air on CBS”.

    I’m not putting the man up for sainthood, but I’m not an ingrate. In April 2000 the American Cinema Foundation gave awards at the Beverly Hilton, and one of them went to JAG, a CBS show. Moonves was so delighted he bought a full page color ad in Variety congratulating the show–a cool $25,000 right there–bought tables for the luncheon, and even made a speech. He knew damn well we were a conservative organization, and he was no conservative, whatever Vanity Fair or anyone else thinks. But he was an honest old fashioned liberal who knew what kinds of audiences wanted to see cop shows, spy shows, heroes in general, and he wanted our money too. He will be missed.

    So, do you expect a purge of incorrect thinking and narratives?

    No, nothing as Leninist-sounding as that. Moonves was in his sixties–my generation–and (if you’ll pardon the expression) his time would have been up soon anyway. Moonves was the most powerful broadcast executive of my lifetime because he had a very good grasp of what American audiences wanted and had the administrative skill to ensure that detail work got followed up.

    His critics are right about one thing–the Moonves formula of 1997-2017 can’t blindly work forever. So what? Whose does? And which parts about it will age so badly? The quest for heroes is not going away soon. Comedy will continue to have a bawdy side. People will crave shows about justice and retribution, and they will have violence to some degree. Whenever entertainment executives seek hits, they will be driven back to unchanging elements of human nature. Now, mind you, that’s not necessarily always going to please conservatives. 

    A purge? No. Another part-generation of missed opportunities to make much more truthful films and TV. 

    • #29
    • January 31, 2019, at 2:36 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    So, do you expect a purge of incorrect thinking and narratives?

    No, nothing as Leninist-sounding as that. Moonves was in his sixties–my generation–and (if you’ll pardon the expression) his time would have been up soon anyway. Moonves was the most powerful broadcast executive of my lifetime because he had a very good grasp of what American audiences wanted and had the administrative skill to ensure that detail work got followed up.

    His critics are right about one thing–the Moonves formula of 1997-2017 can’t blindly work forever. So what? Whose does? And which parts about it will age so badly? The quest for heroes is not going away soon. Comedy will continue to have a bawdy side. People will crave shows about justice and retribution, and they will have violence to some degree. Whenever entertainment executives seek hits, they will be driven back to unchanging elements of human nature. Now, mind you, that’s not necessarily always going to please conservatives.

    A purge? No. Another part-generation of missed opportunities to make much more truthful films and TV.

    I go back to Rob Long’s comment on Ricochet last year that the success of Rosanne’s show (before her Twitter disaster) blew up the spin networks and producers were telling advertisers, that in 2018 you can’t get ratings like 15-20 years ago, so be happy with what you’ve got. I think that was the type of mindset that led to ‘niche’ programming, where you don’t try to attract everyone, but just cater to a small subset and hope they’ll be loyal.

    CBS wasn’t immune to that — Stephen Colbert’s show is a perfect example of niche programming — but Moonves had pretty much kept it out of prime time, where higher ratings are needed (though the Murphy Brown revival was Les’ disaster). If whoever replaces Moonves decides to niche program for the affluent Blue coastal areas only, CBS’ prime-time success could fade in a hurry.

    • #30
    • January 31, 2019, at 3:04 PM PST
    • 2 likes