Sen. Jesse Helms' plan for a conservative takeover of CBS follows a long -- and tedious -- tradition of right-wing mewling over the "liberal" bias of the media, but the record on such matters shows that some of the most vociferous critics of the "liberal" media have parlayed their complaints into employment and made bunches of money off syndicated columns, talk shows, the lecture circuit and so on.
The North Carolina Republican's scheme, hereinafter known as The Helms Plan, may seem more farfetched than some, but given the record, it is not unreasonable to expect that he might pull it off. After all, there are a lot of rich conservatives who would love a piece of that action.
The Columbia Broadcasting System would promptly be renamed The Conservative Broadcasting System, but Helms' dream of being able to "control Dan Rather," would be the first casualty of The Helms Plan. Rather would refuse to knuckle under to thought control and would walk off the job the first day. Helms would call a news conference and announce that he had fired Rather for "un-Americanism." A nationwide search for a conservative replacement would follow and, as Divine Providence would have it, the search would soon narrow down to, guess who?
Helms, no stranger to the broadcasting industry, would sign a million-dollar-a-year contract and reluctantly leave the Senate to take over as anchor of the nightly news. America would henceforth be greeted in the evening thusly: "Good evening, my fellow Americans, this is Jesse Helms, and this is the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag."
Within days, Helms would call a news conference to announce that Bill Moyers had also been fired after being found guilty of "secular humanism." Shortly after that (if not before) Helms would also get rid of Leslie Stahl on the grounds that she was a "radical feminist." Replacing Stahl at the White House would be Phyllis Schlafly, the well-known Illinois housewife, whose previous experience in the media includes a newspaper column, tireless pamphleteering, numerous self-published books, radio commentaries and extensive appearances on talk shows. Schlafly is also a blond. Helms would also announce that in an effort to give American women more visibility in the nation's news coverage, Schlafly would alternate with him in delivering the CBS weeknight commentaries. The Rev. Jerry Falwell would handle the Sunday night commentaries, as well as lead the nation in prayer over the network on Sunday mornings from 7 a.m. to noon. No more violent cartoons.
"60 Minutes" would begin a weekly series of exposes on "liberals" in the entertainment industry, with a new feature in which viewers could call in to petition the movie industry to blacklist the subjects that "60 Minutes" had exposed.
The news, however, is only one of the media's outlets for "liberal" propaganda, and it would not be long before the energetic Helms could turn his attentions to the entertainment division. "Cagney & Lacey," the insidiously feminist show about two female police officers, would take a very different direction. Mary Beth Lacey, due to have a baby this fall, would also have a revelation. She would discover that police work is man's work, after all, and she would decide to stay home in the kitchen, which is where women belong. Her husband, Harvey, would get a job and keep it.
Chris Cagney, who never married, and we all know what that means, would stay on with police work but become a living example of how horrid radical feminist working women really are, and by the end of the series she will have been shot to death by a demented liberal.
"Kate & Allie" would return to their own husbands and begin having more children and soon enough the series would be divided into two series about happy housewives and their families. To keep themselves busy, Kate and Allie would set up a pregnancy counseling clinic that would soon expand into an adoption agency.
"Dallas" would get some new characters, namely several benevolent oilmen who would replace the current malevolent oilmen who have given Big Oil a bad name. Sue Ellen, finally seeing the error of her ways, would enter a nunnery, and J.R. would undergo a profound religious experience and become "born again," this time as a faithful husband. Commercial air time on CBS's biggest hit would be devoted to raising funds to combat the liberal conspiracy in the media.
That's real Americanism for you, and besides, it beats the hell out of direct mail.