For the duration of Jimmy Kimmel’s 13-minute monologue in which he recounted the harrowing moments that his newborn son had to undergo open-heart surgery, America watched with bated breath. His son, thankfully, was fine, and Kimmel used the opportunity to praise the popular provision in Obamacare that protects people like his child from being denied healthcare later in life for having a pre-existing condition.
It was a rare glimpse into the late night host’s emotional side. As for us viewers—well, let’s just say there was a lot of dust in a lot of peoples’ eyes.
But The Washington Times’ Charles Hurt, in a classless and petty article, let everyone know just how unimpressed he was.
Hurt’s article, oh-so-eloquently entitled “Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep,” chastises the talk show host for tying “Grubby, dirty politics” into his anecdote. What seems to fly right over Hurt’s head, though, is that – thanks to both Republicans in Congress and the current Administration – health care is a political issue right now. And 24 million Americans are at risk of losing their health coverage because Republicans are more concerned with dismantling Obama’s legacy than keeping Americans alive.
The New York Times hit this point perfectly:
Politics, for a lot of people, is something that recedes behind everyday life. You have your job, your kids, your health. Politics can be distant, theoretical noise, until it springs out at you — maybe through your job, your kids or your health. The story Mr. Kimmel told was about encountering a political issue the way nonpolitical people do — unexpectedly, through a situation no one would ever seek out.
Hurt is right in the sense that “grubby, dirty politics” should never creep into topics like “the preciousness of life, the heroism of nurses, the unmatched expertise of surgeons and the magical power of family.” But to pretend that they are not interrelated for no reason other than fantasizing that there is some imaginary line separating these two entities is to remain purposefully obtuse and willfully ignorant. Health care has been taken hostage in this country – the richest country in the history of the world – and Kimmel not only has every right, but an obligation, to speak his mind.
All in one breath, Hurt concedes that Kimmel thanked “all the people who just saved his baby son’s life,” and then calls him a “dirty, self-absorbed, narcissistic exhibitionist.” Because nothing says “self-absorbed” like giving, by name, a heartfelt “thank you” on national television to each of the people who cared for his family. If Kimmel is a narcissist, I can’t imagine what Hurt would say about Trump who, just this week, actually referred to himself in the third person.
Kimmel goes on to say, about the National Institute of Health:
They actually increased funding by $2 billion. And I applaud them for doing that. Because more than 40 percent of the people who would have been affected by those cuts to the National Institutes of Health are children. And it would have a major impact on a lot of great places, including Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, which is so unbelievably sad to me.
Hurt, for his part, decries this as a “slobbering wet kiss to bureaucracy,” and that Kimmel “went squealing on about Obamacare and how insurance companies, the government and your neighbors should all be forced to pay for everybody else’s health care.” Not only do the basic underlying principles of “insurance” seems to escape Hurt, but there is no mention that without the provision in Obamacare denying insurance companies the right to exclude Americans with pre-existing conditions, the thousands of babies born with similar conditions might not be eligible for health insurance for the rest of their lives. So while it’s easy for Hurt - who I’m sure is insured and, if not, is probably at least eligible - to preach from way up in his tower about how Kimmel should “shut up,” I would say his comments border dangerously close on “elitist.” He’s got the “creep” part down pretty pat, too.
Finally, Kimmel ends his segment with a call for unity, pleading that “this isn’t football; there are no teams – it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.” Hurt, though, condemns this as nothing more than letting a “ton of…debt pile onto your grandchildren.” If he’s so worried about passing on debt, Hurt might want to take a look at what a hospital would charge for a surgery like this without health insurance. And under the Republicans’ draconian new version of the health care bill, this could be a reality. If passed, Hurt, for his part, would find a great deal of joy knowing that when a child is born with a heart defect and precluded from qualifying for health insurance for the rest of his life, “insurance companies, the government and your neighbors” wouldn’t have to spend a dime to help. Phew.
Hurt concludes his nauseating diatribe with this flaming dumpster fire of baseless bombast passed off as journalism:
“Actually Jim, if you were a ‘decent person,’ you would shut your fat trap about partisan politics and go care for your kid, who just nearly died, you elitist creep.”
Not only can Kimmel “go care for his child, who just nearly died,” but so can thousands of other Americans because their health insurance was made just a little fairer under Obamacare. If President Trump and like minded Republicans in Congress were “decent people,” though, perhaps this wouldn’t be a partisan issue in the first place.
Finally, it’s worth noting that it is awfully hypocritical for a conservative like Hurt to whine about being offended by the big, bad television. Instead of complaining, he might want to follow this rare nugget of wisdom from, of all people, Sean Hannity: “if you don’t like him change the channel.” He wouldn’t want to be labeled a snowflake, after all.