This is the last column of mine that will appear before Thanksgiving, so I will devote it to expressions of gratitude. If it gets too sappy in some places, or too sarcastic in others, feel free to click back to the home page. I won’t be offended.
My thanks this season go to:
Jane Hall (search), Jim Pinkerton (search), Cal Thomas (search) and Neal Gabler (search), the "Fox News Watch" panel, who are such good company, both on and off the air, that I have come to think of the program, and the time we spend together before (in the green room), and after (in a burger joint), as less a job than a social event -- a party attended by only the best people, to which I was somehow able to get an invitation.
Fox News Channel executives, who give "Fox News Watch" such freedom, never interfering with the program’s content, even though they know that, with such diverse viewpoints represented on the panel, they are almost certain to find something teeth-gnashingly offensive about every single episode.
Those who send e-mails to "Fox News Watch" that are thoughtful or humorous or both. The Internet is helping to transform television, which used to be a one-way street, into a two-way street, which is what communication is supposed to be.
Those who have sent e-mails to me, personally, with comments and compliments about my new book, "The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol," even though the book has nothing whatsoever to do with news-watching. My gratitude here, obviously, should take the form of a toast.
My thanks go as well to:
Barbara Walters (search) and Diane Sawyer (search), the queens of the celebrity interview, an exercise so mindless and predictable and almost totally un-newsworthy in its execution; they are the doyennes of “the big get,” which, in actual consequence, means so little to the lives of human beings intelligent enough to tie their own shoes. Walters and Sawyer have given us a lot of material for Fox News Watch over the years.
Les Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS, for handling “The Reagans” miniseries so maladroitly that we were able to do segments on it for three consecutive weeks. As I recall, those were slow weeks in the news-watching business; had it not been for “The Reagans,” we might have been forced to talk about Barbara or Diane or some other "get-ter" again.
Martha Stewart (search) and Rosie O’Donnell (search), among others, for allowing the "Fox News Watch" panel, on more than one occasion, to make perhaps the most important of all points about today’s media culture: that the image presented by print and broadcast -- sometimes of individuals, sometimes of events -- is on occasion so grotesquely manipulated that, far from being akin to reality, it is almost reality’s opposite.
And even more thanks to:
Lynne Jordal Martin and Allison Kaufmann, who produce "Fox News Watch" so well that sometimes, on weekends, when they are not around, I end up calling them to ask what to say next or do next.
Thom Bird, the program’s executive producer, who will not give me his weekend phone number.
Tom Giones, who directs Fox News Watch with unerring skill.
Madronica Clarke and Jasia Miszkiel, who do my makeup with so much skill of their own that when people see me off the air, they often say, “What happened to you?” or “I hope you’re better soon.”
Robin Wallace of Foxnews.com, who edits this column, and hopes I’ll come up with something more original next week.
A toast to all of you, for all manner of reasons. Happy Thanksgiving!
Eric Burns is the host of Fox News Watch, which airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT, 6:30 a.m. ET/3:30 a.m. PT, and 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. He is the author of several books, including The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol (Temple University Press, 2003).