By Tim Graham ~
On ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, Daily Show host Trevor Noah presented the Republican convention as a huge and dangerous joke: “We’re here in Cleveland for a reason. We’re experiencing this, we’re like storm chasers but we chase jokes and this is going to be one of the biggest joke stages in the country. It’s a dangerous joke, but a joke nonetheless.”
It’s not hard to see the late-night comedians lean to the left. But just as The New York Times pretends the national media isn’t 97 percent liberal, it writes even less credibly about TV comedians, pretending as if they don’t project a noticeably leftist point of view.
On the front of The Arts section on Monday, the headline was “Clinton or Trump? How About Maher or Colbert?” TV writer Dave Itzkoff discussed who would be the next “comedic conscience” of the country, like Jon Stewart.
But that doesn’t mean “liberal,” or “Fox News-loathing.” It’s somehow nonpartisan, utterly neutral in ideology. Is Bill Maher’s or Stephen Colbert’s viewpoint hard to peg after all this time? At least, Itzkoff is also subtly noting Stewart’s replacement is botching it:
While these programs are scrutinizing speeches, delegates and party officials, looking to deliver laughs as rapidly as possible, they also have the opportunity to establish their hosts as the comedic conscience for this political era — to own that role as Jon Stewart did over 16 years as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
But now, the stakes are higher for the show, and for Mr. Noah, the South African comedian who succeeded Mr. Stewart in September. On Thursday, for the first time in 16 years, The Daily Show received no Emmy Award nominations. (Under Mr. Stewart, who stepped down in August, the series won the Emmy for best show in its category 11 times since 2003.)
Mr. Alterman, the Comedy Central president, said that he expected Mr. Noah’s tenure at The Daily Show would be “an evolution,” just as it was for Mr. Stewart.
“The show that Jon inherited was much different than what it became — that’s just a natural process,” Mr. Alterman said. He added that Mr. Noah’s convention coverage “will be satisfying for people who have been really watching, and hopefully an opportunity for people who haven’t been paying attention to check back in.”
When your ratings stink — down a massive 38 percent under Noah in the coveted 18-49 demographic — it’s probably a lame spin to say Noah will be “satisfying for people” who “really” watch the show now.
To be fair, Itzkoff has pulled this no-liberals-found-here routine before. A promotional Samantha Bee profile in January couldn’t place Bee on the left (which she obviously proves every Monday she’s on TBS). He quoted TBS boss Kevin Reilly: “What Ms. Bee offered, Mr. Reilly said, was a recognizable, well-liked personality and a savvy perspective, as well as a proven aptitude for finding comedy in the everyday world.”
One example of the leftist tilt at the last convention in 2012 came after NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno asked Bill Maher who he thought the mystery guest speaker would be at the Republican convention in Tampa — the speaker who was Clint Eastwood — Maher quickly replied without any hesitation, “George Zimmerman,” who shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a sidewalk fight.