It was bound to happen in Trump’s America. A show about a global media company owned by a conservative family patriarch has to include a show host with a love for the Hitler era, right?
In the September 1 episode of HBO’s Succession, titled “Safe Room”, a character named Mark Ravenhead (Zack Robidas), a popular anchor on the network who could secretly be a neo-Nazi, is introduced. The management team of ATN (think Fox News) is concerned because there are demonstrators in front of the building in support of him and Antifa has shown up, too.
As Siobhan "Shiv" Roy (Sarah Snook), the daughter of media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox), and her husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), an executive at ATN, travel to company headquarters, Shiv asks about Ravenhead's status. Tom tries to brush off her concerns about Ravenhead being a "fascist."
Shiv: Uh, so what’s the current thinking on Ravenhead?
Tom: Ravenhead, uh, stick with him. Young talent, nice guy. Your dad likes him, and, uh, he's one of our most popular anchors.
Shiv: Yeah, sure, but is he a fascist?
Tom: Well, that's a very loaded word.
Shiv: You've seen the video, Tom. He's right there with the fascists.
Tom : It was a long time ago. He was interested in politics, he gets invited to a conference, he's excited, he has no idea who he's-- who he's sitting on a panel with, it's all perfectly plausible.
Shiv: Oh, yeah, it's plausible, but is it true?
Tom: Shiv, come on. Who wasn't a bit salty when they were 21? He's grown up now. He lives in Connecticut. He's crazy about the Knicks, he's-- he's a lovely guy. And-- and his demo skews younger.
Shiv: The fuck is this?
Tom: Ravenhead fanboys.
Shiv: Ugh. Morning, assholes.
Tom: Hey, those are our assholes.
Shiv: Great. Well, technically, they're your assholes.
Protestors: Say it loud, say it clear, Ravenhead is welcome here! Say it loud, say it clear...
Tom: Okay. Now who are these assholes?
Shiv: This could get ugly. Can you imagine if someone actually cleaned up here, Tom? With a cleansing fucking zeal?
Tom: Uh-huh. Like Mary Poppins with a hard on?
Shiv: No, like me. Or you.
Rumors fly about Ravenhead and Tom is asked to talk to the show anchor to get answers to some delicate questions. Did Ravenhead really get married at Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s retreat in Bavaria? Did he name his dog after Hitler's? In other words, is Mark Ravenhead a fascist Hitler-loving white nationalist?
Logan: What's first? Ravenhead. I'm getting carpet bombed on this. FCC, ADL.
Gerri: Pierce News is all over it, and Antifa has turned up.
Logan: Can we not get a water cannon down there? You know, give 'em a fucking shower, fucking animals.
Gerri: The police have it under control, I believe.
Cyd: Well, yeah, but I don't think it's smart to sugar-coat it. To me, "ATN under siege." That's our line.
Tom: Endorsed. And, uh, I've managed to talk the advertisers down off the ledge, so I think we just weather the storm, right?
Gerri: Well, the problem is we've been asked to comment, because, um, apparently Mark... Records show that he got married at the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's retreat in Bavaria. A chapel below.
Shiv: Oh, God.
Logan: Uh, ignore that. She's not here.
Gerri: His agent assures me that it was a coincidence, they were on vacation-in the area.
Logan: Yeah, well, fuckin' big coincidence. Uh... is that curtains?
Tom: I think he's toast. Right? We just toss him.
Kendall: Hey. Come on. No coaching from the sidelines.
Shiv: Uh, no. I'm not here.
Kendall: Oh, right. I forgot. You're not here.
Shiv: Well, what do you say, Ken?
Logan: Hey. Enough. Cyd?
Cyd: We don't wanna fire him. He's a big draw. And if we cave to this, then who's next?
Logan: Tom, check him out, turn his guts inside out. Uh, but nah. We back talent. Ravenhead stays.
In their meeting, Tom takes it to extremes and asks Ravenhead if he is or ever was a member of the Nazi Party. No, Ravenhead says. When asked if he's read Mein Kampf, Ravenhead says he had read it a "couple of times" because he is so interested in that era. Mostly he is interested in the "tragedy" – the decimation of Europe – "7 million Germans, 20 million Russians, and 5 million Poles" dead. He doesn’t seem all that interested in the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, though, and conspicuously doesn’t bring those numbers up.
It turns out, though, none of this matters to Logan. Ravenhead brings in top ratings for the cable news network and that is all that matters. Ravenhead stays. At least for now.
The storyline with Ravenhead is more of the Hollywood Left pushing the narrative that conservative-leaning news programming is done at the hands of fascists. The irony is that conservatives are the ones filling air time with a diversity of views, unlike all the rest of the cable news channels. On those networks, the left is too sensitive for real discussion with more than one opinion.