Sneering at the masses, and how it helped lead to Trump

This guy's off the air now, but I think he did more than anyone to produce the phenomenon under discussion.

This guy’s off the air now, but I think he did more than anyone to produce the phenomenon under discussion.

Bryan, who is off somewhere in foreign parts today (California, I think), brings to my attention this piece from The Atlantic. Its headline is “How Late-Night Comedy Fueled the Rise of Trump,” with the subhed, “Sneering hosts have alienated conservatives and made liberals smug.”

Or at least, they were smug until Nov. 8.

The piece isn’t bad, although it gets sidetracked here and there, and reading it didn’t make me a whole lot smarter than I was after reading the hed and subhed — with which I agreed from the start.

Not that I didn’t learn anything new. For instance, I heard of this Samantha Bee person, and her salacious-sounding show “Full Frontal.” (Remember, folks, I don’t watch TV beyond Netflix, Amazon Prime and PBS.)

When I read the headline, I was picturing Jon Stewart — who, although he’s been replaced by Trevor Noah, still seems the perfect example to illustrate the point.

Here’s probably the best bit in the piece. It comes after the author has established, in fairness, that Donald J. Trump is any comedian’s dream, and richly deserves every bit of mockery aimed at him and more (which is obviously true):

So Trump has it coming, and so do the minions pouring out of his clown car, with their lies and their gleeful disregard for what Nick Carraway called “the fundamental decencies.” But somewhere along the way, the hosts of the late-night shows decided that they had carte blanche to insult not just the people within this administration, but also the ordinary citizens who support Trump, and even those who merely identify as conservatives. In March, Samantha Bee’s show issued a formal apology to a young man who had attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and whom the show had blasted for having “Nazi hair.” As it turned out, the young man was suffering from Stage 4 brain cancer—which a moment’s research on the producers’ part would have revealed: He had tweeted about his frightening diagnosis days before the conference. As part of its apology, the show contributed $1,000 to the GoFundMe campaign that is raising money for his medical expenses, so now we know the price of a cancer joke.

It was hardly the first time Full Frontal had gone, guns blazing, after the sick or the meek. During the campaign, Bee dispatched a correspondent to go shoot fish in a barrel at something called the Western Conservative Summit, which the reporter described as “an annual Denver gathering popular with hard-right Christian conservatives.” He interviewed an earnest young boy who talked about going to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays, and about his hope to start a group called Children for Trump. For this, the boy—who spoke with the unguarded openness of a child who has assumed goodwill on the part of an adult—was described as “Jerry Falwell in blond, larval form.” Trump and Bee are on different sides politically, but culturally they are drinking from the same cup, one filled with the poisonous nectar of reality TV and its baseless values, which have now moved to the very center of our national discourse. Trump and Bee share a penchant for verbal cruelty and a willingness to mock the defenseless. Both consider self-restraint, once the hallmark of the admirable, to be for chumps….

She returns to that incident at the end:

… I’ve also thought a good deal about the boy on Samantha Bee’s program. I thought about the moment her producer approached the child’s mother to sign a release so that the woman’s young son could be humiliated on television. Was it a satisfying moment, or was it accompanied by a small glint of recognition that embarrassing children is a crappy way to make a living? I thought about the boy waiting eagerly to see himself on television, feeling a surge of pride that he’d talked about church and Bible study. And I thought about the moment when he realized that it had all been a trick—that the grown-up who had seemed so nice had only wanted to hurt him.

My God, I thought. What have we become?


But there’s something to her thesis beyond citing pain inflicted upon victims with whom even the most indoctrinated liberals might sympathize. She touches on the broader point when she says “the tone of these shows [is] one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.”

And then she wonders whether that tone is largely responsible for Trump supporters’ dismissal of “the media,” by which she means in this context HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, ABC, CBS, and NBC — the very networks that present the comedy shows. The point being that folks who feel so insulted by the late-night comedy tend to associate it with the news programming on the same networks, and dismiss it all.

You say “media” to me, and I think of the news that I consume — from leading print outlets to NPR. Others don’t see it that way, I’ve long been forced to realize. They think of television, and sometimes — perhaps most of the time — they have trouble distinguishing between the “news” presented by celebrities one hour from the entertainment presented by other celebrities in a different time slot.

Which is understandable, if regrettable…

I'd say the King of the Sneerers now is probably this guy.

I’d say the King of the Sneerers now is probably this guy.

56 thoughts on “Sneering at the masses, and how it helped lead to Trump

  1. Norm Ivey

    Comedy done at the expense of one who is not in on the joke makes me cringe most of the time. It’s like being Candid Camera but never getting to meet Allen Funt and laugh at yourself.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Give me joy, shipmates, I am indeed in the Golden State.

    I’ve been blending in and observing the local inhabitants carefully. They have many strange customs and practices completely foreign to us Americans. Nevertheless, the land and ocean have a rugged beauty which might perhaps explain why the locals are so numerous.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I thought it was because the desperate Okies and others who kept driving Westward over the last few centuries ran out of land.

      That’s kind of the way Hunter S. Thompson explained it in Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

      Or at least that’s the way I remember it. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve read it…

  3. bud

    Brad, you and Bryan should lighten up a bit. Bryan just now did the exact thing he’s getting onto Comedy Central for doing, smug, condescending humor by accusing Californians of not being real Americans. Yuk, yuk Bryan. That is so hilarious. What so many people miss is the vast influence of Fox News and talk radio. Those are promoted as actual serious purveyors of information. Comedy Central is about getting laughs with a touch of politics thrown in. It can be pretty harsh at times, but they generally have their politics correct. Fact checkers don’t give them nearly as many Pinochios as Fox News. It serves to offset to some extent the vast right wing media conspiracy. At least now we know what a sleaze organization Fox News is. As far as I know Jon Stewart hasn’t been accused of groping or sexual harassment.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bud, that’s not fair! I made the joke about him being in foreign parts, and he was just going along with the gag.

      But that said… I’m very much an East Coast guy. I married a Tennessee girl, but that’s about as far out on the frontier as I ever care to go (besides, Davy Crockett was from Tennessee, and you can’t say fairer than that). I spent a couple of years way out West in Wichita, and couldn’t wait to get back East.

      And California’s TWICE that far West.

      I don’t hold with it. I love Hawaii, but not so much California…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I lived in Ecuador, and I’ve spent time in Thailand, and I was able to get fairly comfortable in both.

        But California…

        I just finished watching the first season of “Bosch” on Amazon Prime. It was pretty good. But have you seen where Bosch lives — in stilts on the side of a hill that’s so steep it’s basically a cliff?

        No way I could ever get comfortable in a place where people live in places like that…


    2. Bryan Caskey

      It was a joke about the culture of California being different…for all love.

      I do beg your pardon, as no offense was intended. Pray entertain yourself. I must retire to the seat of ease before my voyage home.

      1. bud

        The only point I’m trying to make is I think people are way too sensitive about non pc type humor. Conservatives, especially Trump supporters, go on and on about this pc thing but when they are on the receiving end they get super offended. In other words the pc circle has been closed.

  4. Bart

    This is something I have tried to convey but apparently without success. The constant trashing of Trump, conservatives, Republicans, and anyone who is not on the same page as the self-appointed elitist protectors of their ideology and progressive religion are doing nothing but pushing more and more to Trump instead of pulling them away. Eventually one gets damned tired of hearing the same thing 24/7/365 and eventually when there is no let up, the intended audience and even friendly audiences will start to turn and resistance to the message will build up. Even the pragmatic critics are going overboard and when they lose their readers, someone needs to sit up and take notice. It is time to shut up and give it a rest.

    I watched the promos of Samantha Bee and was immediately turned off as I was turned off by others who have made their living and increased their liberal viewing audiences by relentlessly going after Trump and the “deplorables” who supported and voted for him. It was disgusting to say the least and in no way did it have a positive influence on anyone I know who supported Trump. If anything, it had the opposite effect, some who were on the fence actually moved into his camp.

    For example, at one time long ago while driving home from work, I listened to Hannity and Colmes because Alan Colmes did offer a very good counter to Hannity. But it didn’t take long for me to tune them out. Why? Not because of Alan Colmes but because of Sean Hannity. Soon he became a total boor and displayed a lack of understanding and depth of anything other than his own self-righteous opinions. Colmes was a gentleman and would agree with Hannity on some points, Hannity never returned the courtesy and respect to Colmes.

    For me, it was a no-brainer when it come down to Trump or Clinton, neither one was acceptable for me so I voted third party. But for so many others who were still deciding, the endless attacks pushed more to Trump than to Clinton. After being bombarded day in, day out, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, they had had enough and what was intended to turn them away achieved the opposite, they turned to Trump.

    There was a short article on Yahoo this morning and while the numbers were not outstanding, many who had voted for Clinton now said if given the opportunity, they would vote for Trump. The fact that Yahoo even had ran the story was a shock. Of course, they played up the “small” number included in it but that was the problem on election day, the assumption was that Trump didn’t have large numbers of supporters. I think the story misses the mark by the same percentage the election pundits missed their predictions.

    Obama is back in the news and maybe for a while, the media will back off but it is doubtful. The most likely reaction will be a constant comparison of Obama and Trump and a further dividing of the nation. Sooner or later, when left alone for enough time, Trump will do something that will create a major divide between him and those who voted for him but as long as the “sneering at the masses” continues and the Trump Derangement Syndrome is non-stop, they won’t have time to consider anything else except resistance to the “sneering”. It is very simple, human nature.

    1. bud

      Wow. Not sure what you were watching Bart but Trump and his supporters deserved every last bit of their negative press. It was Hillary that got pounded night and day for nothing stuff like her perfectly legal foundation activities and especially the emails. Were you not enraged by the P grabbing comments. The Cold cocking of people by Trump supporters? The deranged chants of lock her up? The mocking of a disabled reporter? Damn it Trump was not a sympathetic victim; he was and is a thug.

      Anyway, why are we still re-litigating the election? Trump got 46% of the vote compared to Hillarys 48% which apparently is what you need to “win”. So all this talk of turning off voters should always be viewed with that in mind. Let’s move on from this. It’s just not useful to plow this ground anymore.

      1. Bart

        bud, you still don’t get it at all and apparently neither does Brad. Please tell me where I defended Trump and his supporters? I didn’t mention Hillary because she didn’t win. My point and hopefully some gray cells are still capable of understanding that the incessant, constant, and unrelenting attacks on Trump and his supporters are doing nothing but driving more and more to his camp.

        Tell me how many late night comedians, cable talk show hosts, cable news networks other than Fox, and the three major networks plus most of print media didn’t go after Trump and especially his supporters 24/7 with unrelenting anger and name calling? Please, other than Fox, name just one, just one.

        As for violence, there was just as much at Trump rallies by anti-Trump counter-protesters. I don’t recall one pro-Trump rally ending up with near riots and destruction of public and private property. How many conservative rallies on college campus’ were cancelled or shouted down by anti-Trump protesters?

        No bud, the emails and questionable foundation activities were reported but in every instance, the NYT, WaPo, major networks, and most cable networks defended her activities. Fox may be a force among the cable networks but is a weak competitor against the majors and other than a few minor players in the print media, most were totally pro-Clinton and are pro-Democrat/liberal/progressive.

        As for Trump “winning”, he won the only vote that counted, the EC vote because he won more states and therefore more EC votes. California alone accounted for the 3 million more votes for Clinton than for Trump. Please tell me in your opinion how the election would have turned out if Clinton had spent more time in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and other Rust Belt states. If she had addressed their concerns and had not called Trump supporters “deplorables”, Hillary would be Madam President now and that is a fact the popular vote counters continue to discount.

        As for Trump being a sympathetic victim, absolutely he was not. He was and is everything you described but you still miss the “why” and I suspect you never will get it. I tried to tell everyone who contributes and reads Brad’s blog that it could very well backfire and it did. In the end, Donald J. Trump was a superior politician and communicator over Clinton. He didn’t dodge any potential voters, he went to them and delivered the message they not only wanted to hear but needed to hear.

        As for plowing this ground, you better plow it again but this time do it the right way. The last time was like plowing a field on a hill. Instead of Clinton using the wise method of contour plowing to avoid losing valuable water and soil, she plowed downhill and lost valuable soil and water in key states. Ask any farmer how wise it is to go against convention and ignore the very basic principles of crop production. Trump used the contour method, Clinton didn’t and she had a massive crop failure. If Democrats don’t wake up and start including and courting Main Street instead of courting Wall Street and select special interest groups, the party may be reduced to a minority for years to come in Washington. Need further proof? Just look at Sander and how he almost pulled off what would have been the real upset.

        I do agree with one point you made, let’s move on from this. Neither side is going to actually learn anything because they would rather bitch and moan instead of doing anything constructive. I am declaring neutral from this point on. You, Brad and others won’t agree and I am not going to change my mind about what happened and what very well could happen again if the trend continues. You and the others can have at it but don’t be surprised when the results you hope for do not come about.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Here’s a case in which I agree with both Bart and Bud — and at the same time disagree with both.

      My position on this one narrow point is the same as the writer of the Atlantic piece, which I summarize thusly…

      Donald Trump deserves every bit of criticism and mockery he has received, and then some. He is such a grotesque, unfit figure that it would be extremely hard to be too rough on him.

      What’s BAD is attacking ordinary, everyday people who happen to disagree with the views of coastal elites — by mocking them, dismissing them, calling them “hateful” or whatever.

      That apparently makes some of them think they have something in common with Trump, and even led to them taking the extreme action of voting for him last fall.

      I won’t claim I understand how a thinking human being gets from feeling put upon by elites to voting for such a figure as Trump — it’s still illogical — but apparently it happens.

      Maybe after I figure out the appeal of football, reality TV and celebrity endorsements, I’ll understand what happened in the election…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I think looking down on the folks that the Jon Stewarts look down on is reprehensible, and yet…

        … I struggle with it.

        Everyone deserves respect.

        But I have trouble respecting irrationality. And of course, there is something deeply, profoundly irrational about working and middle-class people thinking Donald J. Trump would be the solution to the things that plague and irk them.

        And you know, the problem isn’t Trump. There have always been clowns like him in public life — on the fringes, of course, found in place such as Howard Stern’s radio show alongside porn actresses. The PROBLEM is that people actually voted for him. And that’s hard for someone who cares about the country and its institutions (such as the presidency) to forgive.

        I’m blessed with SOME insight by the fact that I have certain beliefs and attitudes that differ markedly from those of the elites. Say, on abortion. So it is that it’s easy for me to see their contempt as contemptible.

        But that brings me again to the problem of Trump. How could anyone like me, a traditional morality guy (or a guy who at least believes in the idea of being a traditional morality guy) possibly consider for a nanosecond voting for a caricature of amorality such as Trump?

        I can’t conceive of it.

        So it is that in this case, the very thing that helps me identify with a group the elites sneer at makes it even harder for me to imagine such people voting for Trump…

        I don’t see how I’ll ever figure it out…

        1. bud

          Uhh, i hate to tell you this Brad but you pretty much qualify as a member of the elite. It’s preposterous to pick an issue such as abortion and label people who disagree with you with the derogatory term “elite”. The term elite actually fits much better with someone like George W or Dick Cheney or Trump who used deferments or family privilege to get out of dangerous military service that was unavailable to many people that were pro-choice. Elitist could also fit with someone who is both wealthy and supports tax cuts that are heavily skewed toward themselves. Or the term elite would fit well with journalists who write about others they deem worthy of the title because of the state they live in or the college they attended. Clearly a true elite is probably a Republican or a defender of old school Republican ideals.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, that’s a latter-day Marxist (or Bernie-leaning Democrat, which amounts to the same thing) idea of “elite.” It’s not about the money. If it is, then I am DEFINITELY not elite…

  5. Karen Pearson

    You know, I tend to feel the same way about the media’s attacks. After all, how many times did I hear about Obama needing to show his birth certificate? And consider how well O’Reilly shouted down his opponents, thereby proving his point. And of course, we know that the media is unfair. After all, the president keeps telliing us so again and again. I think we all hear the insults from those who disagree with us while ignoring, if not cheering on, those with whom we do agree. And that’s not likely to change until both sides agree to a cease fire.

    1. Bart

      bud, once again, it is effing “Fox”, not ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, CNBC, NYT, WaPo, LAT, and every other media outlet, broadcast and print along with the entirety of the entertainment industry. As for AM radio hosts, just how many listeners are still loyal to Limbaugh and the few others who survived? No, the airwaves and print media are dominated by acknowledged liberals. There are a couple of newspapers that are not liberal but about the only one I can think of is the New York Post.

      Someone please enlighten me as to how Fox, one network among the large number of left leaning cable and major networks, is able to hold so much power and influence over this country of 320 million plus? Ever look at the demographics and viewership numbers for the networks? I have and Fox alone compared to all the others overall is minimal in comparison.

      1. bud

        While I agree The NY Times is generally liberal they often support conservative policies, notably the Iraq war. Frankly the notion that the “media” is overwhelming liberal just doesn’t line up with the facts. Here is a small sampling of the Right wing media:
        Washington Times
        NY Post
        Wall Street Journal
        Hundreds of talk radio shows
        Fox News
        Fox Business Channel
        American Spectator

        USA Today is scrupulously centrist
        CNN isn’t nearly as liberal as conservatives claim. They tend to spend lots of time on non-political events like the Malaysian airliner.

        As for the claim that most journalists lean liberal, there is a good explanation for that. Journalists, as a group, study issues very carefully and after weighing the facts conclude that liberal positions are superior to conservative ones.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Actually, I have a different explanation for that.

          Journalists tend to be change-oriented, because their profession causes them to come face-to-face with things that are wrong with society.

          That makes them dissatisfied with the status quo.

          People who are conservative in the proper, classic sense of the term — satisfied with the world as it is — tend not to become journalists…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And I have another explanation that is more to the point, but it’s a little more complex…

            Most people, as they mature as adults, tend to mature in their attitudes. Journalists tend not to. Their political views tend to stay stuck where they were when they were in college. Which means skewing toward the left.

            Why is that? Because they lock away their personal attitudes. They work so hard at not having their own opinions affect their work, they wall it off so zealously, that their attitudes don’t get challenged — they remain as they were in their little walled-off enclosures.

            If journalists were charged with writing their opinions, then those opinions would get challenged, and the journalists would THINK a lot harder about what they believe, and what they believe would evolve.

            This is something I didn’t fully realize until I made the switch from news to opinion. It wasn’t long before I realized that the views I had held before switching over were rather shallow and facile. I had thought I was one heckuva deep thinker about issues, but as long as it wasn’t my job to lay my opinions out for examination by the world, I really hadn’t thought that hard about them.

            Anyway, that’s why, when a news person gets a couple of drinks in him away from the office and starts expressing opinions, he tends to sound like a college sophomore…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I’m not sure how you mean that. I’m just sharing observations from long experience. And something I’ve seen time and again is bright, talented journalists having facile, undeveloped views. Perhaps my explanation is flawed, but it makes sense to me, and it’s based in what I observed in myself — once I had to go public with my opinions, once I was paid to HAVE opinions rather than suppress them, I thought about things more deeply.

              Doesn’t that make sense?

              Anyway, as to stereotypes… obviously there would be exceptions, especially to the trite characterization of journalists as being uniformly liberal. But the folks who were noticeably conservative were fairly few, and memorable for it…

        2. Bart

          bud, you win. I guess I was wrong and the “Right Wing Giant” does exist, crushing and exterminating all who oppose them with their domination of the broadcast and print media and the entertainment industry to add to their list of helpless victims. In retrospect, Hillary’s “vast right wing conspiracy” does have credibility and does exist after all, how unfair of her detractors to declare otherwise.

          Well, now that it has been established that the “Right Wing Giant” is responsible for all of the ills of this country, how to topple it is the next task for the brave little band of warriors at the embattled encampment of the Left Wing and as you pointed out the fact that liberal positions are superior than conservative ones on all issues should be enough to be the stone in their sling that brings down the “Right Wing Giant”. 🙂

        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          A discussion we were having on a different thread today reminded me that I had meant to respond to Bud’s assertion that “they often support conservative policies, notably the Iraq war.”

          You sure about that?

          First, there was nothing conservative about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In general, committing to a military course of action is not a conservative thing to do, but this is especially true when we’re speaking of this action.

          I made that point many times back in 2003 and afterward, and I’m making it again. The conservative approach was the approach of W’s father — pushing Iraq out of Kuwait, but backing off from advancing on Baghdad and toppling Saddam. It was about restoring a status quo ante, and then stopping rather than upset that status quo anew. We maintained that position for 12 years, and deliberately upsetting that balance was decidedly UNconservative. As Dana Carvey would have said in impersonating the first Bush, “Not gon’ do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.”

          But we can argue terminology all day, right?

          So let’s move to the second part: Did the Times support the invasion? I don’t recall their doing so. I specifically remember The Washington Post and The New Republic doing so, and I think I would remember if the Times had also done so…

      2. Phillip

        I’m not sure what numbers you are looking at, Bart, in regards to Fox News’ viewership. I’m seeing reports more like this.

  6. Burl Burlingame

    How often did you actually watch Jon Stewart to form this opinion of him? As I recall, the Daily Show often made fun of Democrat smugness as well. To the point where the DCC tried to forbid Dem candidates from speaking on the show, which of course they did anyway.
    The point here seems to be that folks who didn’t watch this show were offended by it it, so much so that they voted for a narcissist nitwit Klanidate for president. If that is actually the case, ridicule is the least of their problems.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I freely admit that I did not “watch” Jon Stewart at all — in the sense of actively seeking out his show and watching all of it. For one thing, I didn’t receive Comedy Central at my house.

      I did watch a lot of clips from the show, when my attention was called to them by social media.

      This is the case with pretty much any sort of “news” or commentary programming on TV. I don’t deliberately, actively watch any of it, other than live events such as debates, important speeches and the like…

      1. bud

        I think we get it that you don’t watch television news or even much broadcast television. You seem proud of that. I would maintain that that is a sign of elitism. 🙂

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yep. And I don’t hide it very well.

          But as I’ve recently confessed, I’m not the (pseudo)-intellectual I once was. Since I wrote this piece, I still haven’t finished reading Alexander Hamilton, and there’s no telling how many full seasons of murder mysteries and the like I’ve watched on Netflix and Amazon Prime in the meantime…

          1. Doug Ross

            ” I still haven’t finished reading Alexander Hamilton,”

            Will I finish before you do? I read a chapter a day while walking on the treadmill when I am on the road. I’m about 1/3 done with a goal to complete it in the next month.

            I think it would be good to structure a high school level history class around reading the entire book in a semester and branching off into various background topics. It’s been interesting to see just how chaotic the transition was from 1776 to 1787. Also, I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED to learn that the framers never considered an income tax to fund the basic functions of government.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I never could read while working out. I’d probably be in better shape if I could. My head bounces up and down too much, or something.

              Cindi Scoppe does that — reads proofs while on the elliptical. One of her many skills…

              Which is why she is also better about working out than I. I used to use the gym we had in the basement at the paper, but I got zero work done while I was doing it…

    2. Doug Ross

      I read the oral history of the Daily Show that was published earlier this year with input from pretty much everyone who worked for the show since its beginning, including significant input from John Stewart. What I got out of it was that they targeted conservatives much more often because, well, you know, “THEY’RE BAD GUYS!!” .. but felt the need to occasionally dip their toes into trying to be “fair and balanced” by throwing occasional shade at Democrats.

      I watched the show enough pre-Trevor Noah to recognize that their targets were mainly Republicans and old white guys. Meanwhile, their writers room was essentially a bunch of Ivy League Jews (you know, because THEY are just genetically funnier than everyone else).

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yeah, but you know, that’s just professionalism.

        If the Democrats do something that makes them ridiculous — and they do, often — a professional comedian HAS to make fun…

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Republican elephants have long memories.

        A lot of them can’t get over this skit, which may be the funniest thing to appear on the show in the last 20 years.

        They remember it as being brutal to Sarah Palin. But watch it again — it’s fairly rough on Hillary as well…

  7. Burl Burlingame

    Interestingly, this week the Daily Show sent its “correspondents” to Alabama, because Alabama is the state with the fewest Daily Show viewers.

  8. Burl Burlingame

    And I don’t watch Hannity, but I’ve seen enough of him to get the impression that he’s a puffed-up nitwit whose sense of self-importance is all out of proportion to his actual grasp of issues. Or maybe that’s just the character he plays.
    I also well remember Bill O’Reilly angrily hectoring Gen. Wesley Clark about a point of military history, about which O’Reilly was dead wrong. It takes a special kind of arrogance to yell deliberate falsehoods on national television.

    1. bud

      When Hannity and Colmes premiered several years ago it was one of my favorites. Gradually Sean Hannity began to dominate the broadcast and Alan Colmes became more and more of an afterthought. Apparently the powers at Fox News decided the ‘fair and balanced’ moniker meant conservative domination would be the order of the day. Eventually Holmes tired of his subordinate roll and left. This is an illustration of how the media has drifted to the right over the years.

      Tragically this movement has manifested itself into the evolution of the Republican Party into the Trumpublican Party. The ultimate tragedy will be the consolidation of political power into a wealthy ruling class that for all intents and purposes is a plutocracy. The biggest losers are those Trump supporters caught up in the reprehensible chants of lock her up! They just don’t know it yet.

        1. Bart

          If as you say the Democrats are hapless and are our only hope, we are in more trouble and deep doo doo that originally thought. 🙂

          And I agree with you wholeheartedly on your comment about Hannity and Colmes. I listened to it while driving home after work when Colmes was on and more involved but after his voice was basically silenced by Hannity, stopped listening. Alan Colmes was IMHO the best of the two and the reason I listened to the radio broadcast.

          And don’t get me started on Limbaugh. Not enough room or time on Brad’s blog.

          Burl is correct in that Hannity seems to be a puffed-up nitwit but why insult nitwits, they can’t help it, Hannity can. He and O’Reilly are cut from the same mold – shout everyone else down, keep interrupting them when they are trying to make a point or engage in a sensible debate, and make your guests as uncomfortable as possible if they are not in agreement with you.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m far, far more concerned about Idiocracy than plutocracy. As long as the plutocrats know what they’re doing, they’re preferable…

        I have a litmus test. If I ask a would-be ruler what electrolytes are, and he says, “What plants crave,” I’m against him…

  9. Burl Burlingame

    And BTW, the target of most Daily Show humor is hypocrisy, not Republicans in general.
    It’s been pointed out before that — in general — that “liberal humor” focuses on situational empathy, while “conservative humor” specializes in humiliating individuals.

  10. Burl Burlingame

    Also, Stephen Colbert has been far harder on Trump than anyone, but that’s a target-rich environment.


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