It appears impossible for Time magazine to do anything without bringing its liberal bias into the equation, for in his January 14 review of the return of television hero Jack Bauer, writer James Poniewozik asked, “So, is 24 a conservative show?”
Checking that link about now to measure my veracity? Go ahead. I dare you.
Sadly, the answer seemed just as foolish as the question: “Yes, in the sense that the thriller is a conservative genre.”
He wrote that. I swear. Check if for yourself. But there’s more:
Ticking time bombs and pure-evil bad guys make for exciting TV. Working patiently to improve America's image in the Muslim world--not so much. (Maybe Aaron Sorkin could spice it up with an office romance and lots of walk-and-talks.) Muddy a terrorism thriller with liberal concern over root causes and you get Syriana, whose plot audiences couldn't follow with a GPS device. "The politics of the show," says executive producer Howard Gordon (a registered Democrat), "are narrative politics."
Of course, Time couldn’t resist an opportunity, even in a television review, to take a swipe at the current president:
This season, Bauer allies with Hamri al-Assad, a (putatively) reformed terrorist leader, to stop an attack. He thus displays a better grasp of realpolitik than has the Bush Administration, which resisted the Iraq Study Group's recommendation to work with Iran and Syria.
It’s there, folks. I promise. In fact, that wasn’t the only swipe:
That playing field can change again, and probably will. On 24, there are a few very good people, a few very bad ones and in between, a lot of question marks who can upend the plot (and the political analogies). That may be the biggest lesson of 24 in the Iraq era: don't stubbornly hang on to your preconceptions when the facts on the ground change. Undoubtedly, Bauer will continue to give liberals and libertarians conniptions before his latest day is over. But if conservatives and neocons think 24 is working for them, they don't know Jack.
It appears neither does James.