CNN is still proudly touting the media’s “resistance” against President Trump, despite it being over a year since he was elected into office.
Monday night the network aired a special report, “Late Night In the Age of Trump,” about how late night TV hosts have used the Trump presidency as a way to channel their rage against the “most mocked man in America.”
Anti-Trump host Stephen Colbert was the central focus of the CNN special, who’s many vile rants against the President are too numerous to list here. Most famously, he crudely called Trump’s mouth, Vladimir Putin’s “c**k holster.”
Regardless, host Brian Stelter spun the endlessly nasty Trump tirades as great for ratings and viewers, contrasting it with Jimmy Fallon’s infamous “hair ruffling” of Donald Trump before he was president, as hurting his ratings and viewership.
STELTER: Colbert’s harsh attacks on Trump galvanized viewers, catapulting him and The Late Night Show, to its biggest ratings victory in two decades.
... Just months before the election, Jimmy Fallon was vilified for being too soft on Trump. His ratings suffered.
That was largely the theme of the CNN special, with Stelter boasting not just how great President Trump was for liberal comedians, but also how their partisan reaction to his presidency somehow was a good thing for America.
“Have you ever seen anything like this in another presidency?” “How many late night hosts are members are part of the resistance?” Stelter gushed to guest expert Bill Carter, who is both an analyst for CNN and wrote a book on late-night television. Stelter’s questions to NBC Late Night host Seth Meyers and Chelsea Handler were more congratulatory:
STELTER: Would you call what you're doing now, investigative comedy?
STELTER: Is Donald Trump the best thing that’s ever happened to late-night TV?
STELTER: Would you say you're on a mission to take him down?
CNN’s Bill Carter also acknowledged the partisan fight going on between the late night hosts and President Trump.
"I think when Trump tweets about one of these shows, they probably have a party. They must love that because that means they're scoring points," he noted.
Perhaps the most gag-worthy question Stelter asked in the hour-long special was to guest expert Giovanni Russonello, columnist for The New York Times. He actually asked if these shows were changing people’s minds about the president. To Russonello’s credit, he admits these shows are really just preaching to the choir:
STELTER: Do you think someone who watched these shows every night like you do would find themselves changing their political views?
RUSSONELLO: No. I think the way she's shows work is they tune into a certain decibel level a certain level of outrage, a certain angle of critique.
In a report CNN.com published previewing the primetime special, host Brian Stelter downplays the viciously partisan tone of these shows as simply, “activist comedy” that caters to the left:
“Late-night comics are channeling the hopes and fears of their left-leaning audiences. They are treating the Trump presidency as a crisis, but also as a tremendous opportunity,” Stelter wrote.
Instead of noting that half of the people who watch television aren’t hardcore liberals and may not appreciate every joke being a cheap shot against Trump, Stelter dismisses that point is inconsequential, because supposedly more viewers enjoy the politically-driven
Trump supporters and conservative media critics have been sharply critical of the anti-Trump bent of Colbert's "Late Show" and other talk shows.
They argue that it's a turn-off to potential viewers. That may be true, but the existing audiences for these shows adore comedians like Meyers, Samantha Bee and John Oliver. The comics are saying out loud what the viewers at home are feeling.
However, the actual televised special doesn’t overtly mention the left-leaning politics that overwhelmingly characterize the late night shows, or conservative criticism.
The CNN special wraps up by spinning sympathy for the liberal comedians, whom CNN predicts, won’t get another Trump-like candidate in office ever again.
SETH MEYERS: There's no way anyone who comes after will ever take up as much ink on the show than we've already spilled on President Trump.
BILL CARTER: They’re going to be like addicts that have to completely go cold turkey!
That certainly is true. As NewsBusters has documented, the late-night shows have a serious obsession with President Trump, making over 1,000 jokes at his expense in just the first 100 days he was in office.