Late night TV is no laughing matter these days.
The standard Colbert/Kimmel/Fallon monologue overflows with partisanship, for starters. It’s hard to be hilarious when you’re stalking one side of the aisle. The laugh lines often come a distant second to the propaganda.
Sometimes the hosts aren’t even trying to be funny, just mean. Keith Olbermann would be proud.
Let’s be clear. No leader is as cartoonishly vile/evil/vicious/demonic as the version of President Donald Trump late night imagines. No Clinton, Bush, Obama or Carter deserves this treatment.
That’s only a fraction of the damage late night comedy does to the body politic.
The lies come next, and they’re exhausting as well. Consider how hosts downplayed or ignored months, and months, of far-left riots devastating major American cities like Seattle, Portland and Denver. Seth Meyers and John Oliver may have been the worst offenders.
A more recent problem demands attention, though.
More importantly, we’ve seen months of political hypocrisy related to COVID-19. Some of the most prominent Democrats order Americans to hunker down, wear a mask and social distance while doing the opposite when they think we aren’t looking.
Or sometimes when they know we are.
We’ll start with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, busted for getting a hair “blow out” sans mask, at a time when many salons were shuttered. The episode reeked of both privilege and hypocrisy, coming on the heels of her tone-deaf kitchen tour with James Corden.
That frozen faux pas left a nasty mark with voters, progressives claimed earlier this month.
Yet Pelosi’s hair debacle didn’t grab the attention of many late night TV scribes like your average Trump gaffe. Even Pelosi’s stunning claim that she was “set up,” rather than apologizing in no uncertain terms, couldn’t snare Team Late Night’s attention.
That was just just the start of liberal Democrats doing precisely what they demanded we shouldn’t do.
Take Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The progressive leader also snuck away to get her hair done while fellow Chicago residents had to go au naturel.
Her excuse? She’s the “public face” of Chicago.
Once more, Team Late Night stood down rather than expose her rank hypocrisy.
They did the same more recently when Lightfoot joined a public, pro-Biden rally. The same politician demanding social gatherings be limited to 10 people, if they must happen at all, partied along with hundreds, nay thousands, of fellow progressives.
Did John Oliver “destroy” Mayor Lightfoot for the hypocrisy? What about Meyers? If they did, it didn’t surface during a good faith Google search.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is giving Pelosi and Lightfoot a run for their money.
Newsom’s hardline stance toward COVID-19 has left countless Californians unable to go to work, eat in public or walk around without a mask. Yet we’re learning now that a mask-less Newsom broke bread, indoors, with a group of lobbyists.
EXCLUSIVE: We’ve obtained photos of Governor Gavin Newsom at the Napa dinner party he’s in hot water over. The photos call into question just how outdoors the dinner was. A witness who took photos tells us his group was so loud, the sliding doors had to be closed. 10pm on @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/gtOVEwa864
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 18, 2020
The Newsom news is breaking this week. Does anyone think Team Late Night will hammer him for the hypocrisy?
And then there’s President-Elect, we assume, Joe Biden.
Biden wants us to severely limit the number of friends and relatives we share Thanksgiving with this year to prevent spreading COVID-19. Yet he’s yet to utter a syllable about the pro-Biden rallies that took place earlier this month, like the one Mayor Lightfoot attended.
Think any brave, truth-telling Late Nighter will call Biden out? What about Gov. Andrew Cuomo citing religious gatherings as “super spreaders” while ignoring the potential for liberal mass gatherings to do exactly the same, if not worse?
Why does all of this matter?
For starters, these politicians wouldn’t shatter their own rules if they were endlessly mocked by late night humorists and/or “Saturday Night Live.” They’d also realize just how punitive these measures are to their constituents, and potentially reconsider them.
The Colberts and Kimmels would be doing them a favor by calling them out. That would make them less likely to commit hypocritical acts in the future, the kind their political rivals gleefully exploit.
We’d get a slightly more honest class of politicians as a result.
These court jesters enter our home with the patina of fairness. They’re not a part of MSNBC, Fox News, The Nation or National Review. They’re on mainstream, mass media outlets that pump endless content, much of it unbiased, into our homes.
It makes their naked partisanship even more troubling.
PJ Media’s Jim Treacher addressed just one element of this subject, which he dubbed the “chump effect”:
The rules only apply to the people who are willing to follow them, and you’re expected to shut your trap about anybody who doesn’t. You have to do what you’re told, even as you watch others flout the rules with no consequences. So you feel like a chump, and you resent it. If the rules don’t apply to everybody, why should they apply to anybody?
This is a really good way to break down a society.
There’s another factor in play.
Comedians are supposed to be our cultural truth tellers, the jesters who call out corruption with humor and insight. Our current crop thinks said corruption doesn’t count if it’s committed by someone with a “D” next to his or her name.
Does anyone think that’s healthy for us as a nation?