The Daily Show gives Michael Hicks the hotfoot. KGUN9 viewers weigh in.
Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal struggles, unsuccessfully, to keep a straight face during the Hicks interview. (Frame grab courtesy of Comedy Central)
Notes by: Forrest Carr, KGUN9 News Director
"Face it. You screwed up. You trusted us."
If the Daily Show were to explain itself to TUSD Board member Michael Hicks, it could use those (paraphrased) words from that great American work of cinematic art, "Animal House" -- the words that Otter used to explain to Flounder what had happened to his formerly pristine 1963 Lincoln.
Hicks said he expected the show to conduct a "real" interview. By that, presumably he meant that he expected correspondent Al Madrigal to conduct himself with the same sense of courtesy, professionalism and objectivity that Hicks has come to expect from Tucson's mainstream media.
But that is not what The Daily Show does. Skewering politicians isn't just an occasional sideline or afterthought for the show. Mercilessly torturing public figures is the show's sole purpose in life. Politicians -- especially conservative ones -- are to The Daily Show what chickens are to Tyson Foods. For Hicks, getting out of Comedy Central's processing plant alive just wasn't in the cards.
The resulting interview was the kind of thing you watch with horrified fascination from between the fingers of your hand clasped firmly over your face. OMG. Hicks really said that? And that? And THAT?
In point of fact -- no, Hicks now insists, he didn't. He claims the program producers played rascally, bushwhacking, snake-in-the-grass low-down dirty tricks on him to make it sound like he was saying things that he didn't say.
Well, yeah. Without a doubt, some of that went on. See above. But does that explain it all away?
Hicks has said the interview lasted three and a half hours. By contrast, a local TV crew would spend ten to 15 minutes, tops, conducting an interview for a typical news story. Good for him that it took the Daily Show producers nearly half a work day to get material from Hicks that they could use.
Of course, the point is, they did get the material, and they got it from Hicks. What they proceeded to do with it wasn't just predictable, it was inevitable.
So why, oh, why did Hicks expect anything different?
In answer to that question, Hicks told conservative radio talk guy Jon Justice this week, "I was naive."
The judges give that statement a perfect 10 in the contest to name this week's Understatement of the Century.
In his defense, though, it has to be pointed out that among local elected officials, Hicks is one of the most accessible. He is a frequent flier on KGUN9's newscasts, almost always agreeing to interview requests and working diligently to fit them into his schedule (the aftermath of his debacle this week on national TV being a rare exception). And that is a good thing, to be commended. Elected officials should be responsive to the public.
But agreeing to go on Comedy Central? Man.
Now that Hicks' train is scattered, steaming and smoldering, in the gorge, are his enemies rolling on the floor, convulsed with paroxysms of mirth and glee? Are his friends willing to forgive him? Are people faulting Hicks? Or do they blame those merry pranksters at Comedy Central who gave him -- and by extension, all of Tucson - a wedgie?
Those questions made KGUN9's coverage of this incident the top-commented issue of the week. Below is a sampling of what some of you had to say.
"Todd DebtFree" -- "Make 'em Laugh. We all have done enough crying. Time to be less serious and more jovial. No problem. This is NOT A CREDIBLE SOURCE FOR DATA. It is a great source of FUN though. We can afford a few laughs at our expense."
"RenegadeFL" -- "I love it when they claim they were 'taken out of context." A true classic. Then he says he 'didn't know what the Daily Show is,' which means he is completely out of touch with mainstream America or he is lying. What a yahoo!"
Roy Warden - "Mr. Hicks: 'Naive?' How about 'unprepared.' Call former Ethnic Studies teacher John Ward. He knows the score. Next time, do your homework before you run your mouth."
"2sunres" -- "So Hicks wanted his 15 minutes of fame. He got it! So stupid people do serve on our school boards. Considering Hicks didn't even read the contract he signed, he deserves what comes his way as a result of his interview. Way to go J. Stewart!"
Patricia Kromrei (via Facebook) -- "People needs to stop blaming everyone else for this, because he had the right not to answer those questions or even go on the show!"
Steven Michael (via Facebook) -- "A shame he wasn't in on the joke. But regarding the whole taking out of context thing, there are a lot of people who post on KGUN's facebook who seem to take things out of context to fit their agenda. They're the ones who won't accept that this interview was cut and edited for the sake of humor."
Julie Rubio (via Facebook) -- "I thought it was hilarious!! All the editing in the world can't hide his true feelings and the WORDS THAT CAME FROM HIS MOUTH!! 'Sometimes the teachers would give the students burritos.' Dumbest comment ever."
Chyna-Mae Rose Wilson (via Facebook): "Where's the accountability? He said those things!"
Jan Allen (via Facebook): "OK, so he is a TUSD board member right? His not knowing anything about the Daily Show really concerns me! I would think that a board member should be knowledgeable mentally as well as socially and politically. The students at the schools he works for could probably quote John Stewart off the top of their heads. Besides, The Daily Show has been around for a long time. This is just another example of people sticking their heads in the ground and listening and watching and reading things that only agree with their opinions. Here's a hint!! How will you ever know what people of other political and religious opinions think and believe if you don't do some REAL research! JUST SAYIN!"
Jeanne McQuillan (via Facebook): "Michael Hicks was exposed for what he is: ignorant and racist. He is very scary as he doesn't have a clue. Was he elected? Appointed? How can I participate in recall?"
Danny Michael: "Big freakin deal, he made a slip of the tongue while on camera. Like you're so perfect. May I direct you to YOUR President who was recently caught on a live mic making a deal with the Russians."
Cassandra De La Serna: "That's not a slip that's a man in charge of a school district, in charge of educating students, not knowing his BASIC civil rights history. Maybe he should of taken a class, could of learned a thing or two. Keep defending him. But if I were a parent with a student there I would be concerned."
Rene Anderson (via Facebook): "I think if this guy is making decisions about ANYONEs education we are in big trouble. He is not qualified for his job."
Lucinda Carlino: "The only joke is the Mexican American Studies class being listed as not being racist toward whites!"
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