Recently, people were up in arms about the way Jimmy Fallon toyed with and fawned over Donald Trump, many vowing never to watch his show ever again. They felt he should have spoken out against Trump's policies and taken him to task.
This is 'Meet the Millers' NOT 'Meet the Press!"
While television has evolved, it has never strayed from its goal to entertain. Yes, I believed Edward R. Murrow when he spoke to the Radio and Television News Directors Association and said television should illuminate, and it does.
But talk show hosts don't enlighten, usually. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert (although to a lesser extent now that he is on network TV), Dick Cavett, Charlie Rose, David Susskind and even Tom Snyder took viewers to a different level but the main game has not changed.
Television has made celebrities out of politicians. That's just a plain fact. Richard Nixon said 'Sock it to Me' on "Laugh-In," Bill Clinton played the sax on Arsenio Hall, and every presidential hopeful has appeared on Saturday Night Live, realizing that appearing more human is a big key to winning an election. People say that if FDR had appeared on TV as someone with polio in a wheelchair today, he'd lose the election. We now expect our public figures to be celebrities because that is what wins votes. It reaches new audiences.
Hillary Clinton was on Jimmy Kimmel recently and while playful, lobbed a few questions. But they were softball questions. That's how you keep guests like that coming back and those guests get you ratings.
I've always despised the true believers. Those who are so zealous in their support of their candidate, carry that belief into every forum. Late night TV is not the place to expect serious dialogue but when they are so committed, they expect the TV host to support them! Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.
Why does CNN cover a disaster 24/7? Ratings! Those of us old enough to remember 1979 remember 'America Held Hostage' on ABC. It was even parodied by Joe Piscopo on SNL. The program had its beginnings just four days after the start of the Iran hostage crisis. ABC News president Roone Arledge felt that the best way to compete against NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was to update Americans on the latest news from Iran.
Ratings, people! So give, Jimmy Fallon a break. He makes me laugh. His rock n roll impressions are dead on. I expect him to make me laugh. I don't like Donald Trump but like Jimmy Kimmel, they are supposed to keep us entertained. That's what they do...Nothing else.