The idiotic uproar over ‘24′

Pundits on both sides of the political spectrum have themselves in a tizzy over Jack Bauer and his latest escapades with the hit action series 24.

Seems Fox and Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) kicked off the new season with a four-hour, two-part, premiere that ended with a suitcase nuke pulverizing Valencia, California.

Writes Hal Boedeker, TV critic of the Orlando Sentinel:

The disaster that ended Monday’s 24 was a gamble that producers took to ratchet up the terrorist threat and explore U.S. policy.

This is a spoiler alert: Actors and producers Tuesday talked about the new season with the Television Critics Association.

What about that mushroom cloud over a Los Angeles suburb?

“This was a tactical nuke, not a Hiroshima-size nuclear weapon,” executive producer Howard Gordon said. “There are mass casualties, but not in that scale. It was in an industrial part of Valencia. You do learn that it was a catastrophe on the scale of 9-11, and then some.”

Such an event has liberals crying foul, claiming Fox is serving as a tool of The White House to promote fear among the U.S. populace.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann launched a tirade against the show, saying 24 “featured a mall attack, a would-be suicide bomber on a subway, and a successful suicide bombing on a passenger bus. Not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America. In case you missed the point, the show finished up with a nuclear weapon detonating in a major American city, literally conjuring up the administration’s imagery for the war in Iraq, the good old mushroom cloud.”

Olbermann continued: “Is 24 propaganda? Is it fearmongering? Or is it a program-length commercial for one political party?”

Lay off the caffeine Keith. You’re starting to sound like a liberal Bill O’Reilly.

Conservative blogs urge their readers to watch the show, issuing ominous warnings that “THIS COULD HAPPEN HERE” unless Congress leaves President George W. Bush alone to fight his Iraq war any way he damn well pleases.

We’ve been fans of 24 since Jack Bauer waged his first war against terrorism six years ago. The series is, to be sure, mindless violence but it is also pure escapist entertainment. Bauer is like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoons — he comes back from explosions, beatings and even heroin addiction to fight on. Unlike the coyote, he manages to win in the end but, like the hapless animal, lives on to face more hardships.

But escapist action TV, or movies like the Die Hard or Lethal Weapon series, are just that — flights of fancy that have little to do with reality. It is no secret that Fox’s pseudo news channel is a shill for Republicans and rabid right-wing issues but its entertainment channel often exemplifies the very things that conservatives all too often rail against: graphic violence, explicit sexuality and mindless “reality” shows.

Shows like 24 are times to sit back in the recliner, munch popcorn, and get lost in the escapist world of TV. Nobody with an IQ above that of the average plant should take 24, or anything else on prime time network TV, seriously.


  1. Lenny

    Skyguy – are we still pretending that SDI was a fantasy? The Soviet Union had over 30 ABM sites (in violation of the treaty) with the most advanced emplacements around Moscow. The Soviets had a firm belief, we know from archives, that they could survive a nuclear war. Even today those sites survive complete with the enormous radar complexes that drive them. But apparently some still believe that what they have already accomplished is not within our technical capabilities.

  2. Mexicoman

    I’ve never laughed so much at all these comments. Personally, I see 24 as strictly entertaining. Do they touch on subjects that are currently in the news? Yes. So what! Wasn’t there a TV show years ago that had ethnic bias in it and was a huge success? Archie B.!
    As far as donations….well, let me say this much. Probably by the end of the year a very big oil company is going to control the majority of Iraqi oil fields and would you believe..the company’s home base is in Houston?
    Bush lied to everyone to get us into this mess (including Blair, the poor guy), and now we have to foot the bill in lives and bucks. The original name for all of this was Operation Iraq Liberation! O-I-L!!!!!!!
    Smart, intelligent guys go into and stay in business…. the ones with big egos go into politics and really screw things up.

  3. Ron

    What I fail to understand is why people find such excessive violence entertaining when on TV or in films, and find it abhorrent when in real life. What is entertaining about fellow humans being hurt, maimed or killed no matter which side of the spectrum they are on?

  4. Listen4EyeKnow

    C’mon people, this is just a television program made for our entertainment. I thoroughly enjoy this action series and appreciate the quality of 24 of this exceptional production. Quit trying to read more into this. If it’s not your cup of tea, fine, change the darn channel!

  5. Holy Crap

    Jesus H. Christ on a splintery crutch doing some weird salad tossing 69 with Allah while Mary does Mohammed from behind with spiked strapon……… people take TV way too damned seriously. IT’S FICTION YOU DOLTS!

    You know, fiction, not true, made up, fairy tales, Grimm’s Brothers type stuff. Next you’re all gonna tell me you believe the Three Stooges used steel hammers on each other or that you really beilieve Homer Simpson works at your local nuclear power plant………get real!

  6. Bon Jean

    Kiefer Sutherland and his father are both left of center politically. His grandfather was premier of Nova Scotia at a time when Canada was Liberal. He’s an actor and it’s a TV show. A lot of the comments are just stupid and kind of scary. I like 24. 24 is like Xena and Survivor combined. Like Kiefer says if they think this is reality all they have to do is look at the point that you can get all the way across LA in five minutes. Reality?

    Fear is only a weapon if the people allow themselves to be used as a tool of the government or the corporations or those fighting either of those two.

  7. GetaGrip

    Danny Doo, what planet are you on? The last I heard the Iraqi’s were pumping and selling their own oil. How did Cheney/Bush steal the oil?

  8. Keith Boardman

    Wow! I’ve rarely seen so much loony-leftist neo-comm (neo-communist) conspiracy-theory idiocy in one place. These folks must have landed on Earth in some kind of meteor shower, which, instead of giving them super powers, deprived their brains of oxygen for just a little bit too long.

  9. The South Point

    I used to have some respect for Sutherland for an impressive body of acting roles, but now, no respect at all.

    What a prostitute for a paycheck.



  11. Danny Doo

    Cheney donates almost $7,000,000.00 to charity in 2006… get out your checkbook and match that! YOU ARE CORRECT CONTI! Most of us can’t match that, because we don’t make it a habit of going into other peoples country, destroying their lives and taking their oil. Sorry! I meant to say their possessions.

  12. Dan

    I do not understand how people can so easily get your points crossed. The point of this article was to talk about 24 and the possible link between the gov’t and FOX. As I read all of these postings, I am reading about Cheney’s donations, FOX being ultra neo-nutcases, and so on. The people of this country need to look at the questions at hand and answer them. Think with your minds, not your hearts. Everyone who makes a posting here, or even discusses politics should leave the emotions at the door. Look at the facts and decide for yourselves based on what is in front of you. Not who do you like. Get all the facts.

  13. bobbi conti

    Cheney donates almost $7,000,000.00 to charity in 2006. All of you that complain about Cheney’s money (most of which came from Lynn Cheney) get out your checkbook and match that!

  14. Joe

    As a proud liberal, I can’t say that I want to censor 24. I think the show is very over the top – I mean Jack Bauer is like some kind of superhero – it’s not like the show is very realistic in the first place. Are there idiots who will take the show seriously and as a result think that real life torture and Bush’s actions are justified? Probably. Still, just as I hate it when when right wing constitution-haters try to censor things – I don’t want to put a double standard on this. The fact is that 24 is entertaining, and I dont think the show intentionally is trying to push a right wing agenda. It HAS been exploring themes of privacy, i.e. through the Palmer’s sister storyline. I think in general it tries to explore both sides, but the explosions etc. are necessary to keep the show exciting.

  15. justathought

    Your review ends with “Shows like 24 are times to sit back in the recliner, munch popcorn, and get lost in the escapist world of TV. Nobody with an IQ above that of the average plant should take 24, or anything else on prime time network TV, seriously.” I agree with the caveat not to take such tripe serious, but my wife encountered several people the day after the second episode of “24” who were vehement in their claim that “it could happen! We need to watch those people.”

    Nuff said?

  16. Daniel J. Drazen

    I fail to see the attraction of the series, especially when it turned into The Passion Of The Bauer as Jacko was chained to the storm drain. Why didn’t they attach him to it with arms outspread, crucifixion-style, while they were at it? That’s when I bailed.

  17. GetaGrip

    No USAmnesia, they would not have been killed by the insurgents or the Militias they would have been killed by their leader “So D^&n Insane.”

    The bottom line is we did the right thing by bringing down Hussein. Now we just have to finish the job and help the Iraqi government get to a point that they can take care of themselves.

  18. USAmnesia

    In response to “GetaGrip”:
    It was your Hero George W. Bush himself that estimated 30,000 innocent people killed in Iraq. Are you saying that those people would have still been killed even if Bush and Cheney had not invaded Iraq? Oh PLEASE! It’s citizens like you, “GetaGrip”, with your “Jack Bauer” approach to justice, that have torn out our Country’s jugular with your teeth. I can love my Country and still despise its leaders, and their ignorant, enabling lap dogs like you. I’ll continue to do my homework and report on the abuses that I see, just as you will continue to slurp up what your FOXX NEWS masters dish out into your network TV dog bowl.

  19. Judy DiGennaro

    I do not want anyone’s censorship. It is more dangerous for the American people to believe the president than to take “24” even moderately seriously (although I watched it for fifteen minutes when it first came on and never watched again). I do watch “Boston Legal” regularly and last night part of the script dealt with what happens when your name is the same as someone on the “no-fly” list. It was entertaining, but also probably caused a few brains to creak. With all those commercials (so adequately described above; I watch tv with a novel handy) the producers have to keep out-doing each other. Fox shows are far less dangerous than Fox news.

  20. Greg Burris

    Simply amazing. While America continues to live up to its reputation as a country that easily forgets, we somehow manage to remember who Jack Bauer tortured three seasons ago and how it violated our constitutional rights. Stupid is as stupid does. I pray to God (are we still allowed to say that or has the ACLU taken that away as being politically incorrect too) this country will never have to experience the things we see on TV each and every day. Read anything you want into “24” and criticize whoever you want for putting it on TV. But remember the Liberals favorite saying, “you can always turn the channel if you don’t like what’s on.” Wow, the Bush administration actually still let’s us do that? Go figure. And for those of you out there that are still trying to figure out if I am a Liberal or a Republican (you know who I am talking to) WAKE UP!!!

  21. You’re right. 24 is more entertainment than political statement. The terrorists serve simply as villains of the day, providing a framework for Jack to do his thing.

  22. GetaGrip

    Bush and Cheney have not killed between 30000 and 600000 Iraqies and niether has the American military. The major killing is being handled by the Shiite Militias and the Sunni insurgents. Get a grip and do your homework USAmnesia!

  23. Judith Anderson

    I was rather startled by some of these responses.

    I always enjoy 24 while recognizing that it is pure fiction. Exciting while in action, and once the episode ends, reality sets in and how absurd it all is is part of the fun.

    As one wag pointed out yesterday, it is obviously a fictional world as all of the top secret cell phone numbers work, even on a stolen unit.

    However, the issues raised as to how such fictions may affect a fearful and ill informed public are legitimate. Also, that FOX shows things such as this while some of its supposed “news” minions are ludicrously lambasting NBC as having a liberal bias.

    I do not know what the author of this particular piece watched last night, but I saw Countdown, and while Keith Olbermann certainly explored some of these issues, there was no tirade.

    Questioning the slant of such fictional programming in our current climate, especially with the debate over torture, is a very legitimate news story.

  24. USAmnesia

    Has anyone else noticed that more than half of the people who have been tortured in “24” have been INNOCENT?! What a perfect metaphor for the Bushie-maniacs (like Cornelius van Sant above) and their dangerously naive approach to real threats. Wise up you ignorant American stooges, did you ever think that it’s not in your Country’s interest to imprison, torture and kill innocent people? Remember, Bush and Cheney have killed anywhere from 10 to 200 times more innocent people than bin Laden (estimates range between 30,000 and 600,000 innocents killed in Iraq ALONE) Jack Bauer’s time in a Chinese prison camp may have given him a new perspective on torture (like America’s experience in Iraq), but the mushroom cloud that he witnessed last Monday night was like a little 9-11 refresher course for him. So look out innocent coworkers, friendly foreigners and even his own girlfriends, Jack is back, and he’s got a whole new excuse to get out the plyers and the blow torch!

  25. David Rosenberg

    I have not seen one episode of “24” I have not watched commercial television for the last 5 years.
    There is only one thing I have to say, “24” is make believe. It is not news. If many people watch it, it is because of good scripts and good acting.

  26. Jammer

    Thank you for some sense in the midst of this ridiculous barrage of criticism. I too have watched 24 since day one. No one complained when the plot involved Romanians or Russians or Bulgarians. I think 24 this season is doing what Keifer said in interviews it would do: asking tough questions without taking sides. Torture was sanitized in prior years; no more. Now you are confronted with the filth and violence of torture and asked to consider its worth. Now we learn that Bauer has actually killed people before torturing them. They also posed questions about protecting your neighbor if he is Muslim from white racists, then they added in the kicker that, oh by the way, that neighbor is a terrorist. Now what do you think? For the record I consider myself a JFK Democrat. I love 24 and always have and wish people would back off. It is in the final analysis good fiction superbly played by Keifer Sutherland. If in the process it asks some tough questions of both sides in this country, thats a good thing.