Is 24 Liberal, Conservative, or Schizophrenic?

Kevin Drum asks if 24 is liberal or conservative. This is an issue I’ve looked at many times, including here, here, and here. As Kevin notes, “24 is a conservative Disneyland” for its positive portrayal of torture, as well as for seting an atmosphere of perpetual warfare against terrorism. However there have been many other elements which might appeal to liberals, including David Palmer’s fights against conservative members of his administration, the downfall of the Nixonian President Charles Logan, and the consideration of civil liberties this season. Kevin ends with, “So is 24 liberal or conservative? Schizophrenic, I’d say.”

It’s not schizophrenic. It is network television.

Fox News can afford to go after a relative small audience of conservatives as they still do well for a cable news channel (to use the word “news” loosely).

Prime time shows a major network must have a much larger audience to be successful. Just as The West Wing tried to add situations which would interest Republicans to make the show of interest to more than liberal Democrats, the producers of 24 realize that they must make the show enjoyable for more than right wing Republicans to be successful. While The West Wing was more successful in terms of quality, 24 is far more successful in terms of reaching a mass market. Any “schizophrenia” seen in 24 is just a reflection of the polarization of our own society.