Comity Tomorrow, Tragedy Tonight
Subtle as a street-walker’s hemline
By Steve Schulz
Date Published: 5/1/2017

Late Night Host Seth Meyers said, “According to a new report, New York has a higher tax burden than any other state (and he flashed a picture of President Trump’s wife Melania) … but she’s refusing to move.”
—cue hysterics.

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel on the President’s press conference smirked, “He talked for an hour and 17 minutes which is longer than he spoke to Melania for this whole year.”—cue hysterics.

NBC’s Jimmy Fallon announced that, “A so-called Museum of Failure is opening in Sweden this June, though if you can’t wait that long, check out (an image of the White House flashes up) this pop-up exhibit in Washington.”
—cue hysterics.

Daily Show’s South African host Trevor Howard (who replaced Canadian Jon Stewart) told us, “I do the real fake news (about how America should be governed) and now the President’s muscling in on our turf. We’re all watching an asteroid that’s coming to earth. It may miss, but it’s coming. In Trump’s Presidency, one day feels like a year. Yesterday we got a look at Trump the President, a man determined to create his own reality when he said, (cut to President Trump speaking) ‘The World is an angry place. The world is a mess.’ Jesus Dude,” Noah continued, “I feel that if he is going to talk like that, I feel like he needs a different style of makeup.” And then that same cut of Trump was re-run this time with the President speaking through a face painted to mimic Heath Ledger’s maniacal Joker from Batman.—cue hysterics. 

CBS’s Steven Colbert spent over seven minutes ‘analyzing’ the recent press conference as, “Historically bizarre even by Trump standards. Evidently he didn’t even bring his meds with him. The conference was so beefy you could eat it with a fork, but you’d want to use a spoon to get every drop of crazy.” Reacting to Trump’s assertion that as President he’d, “inherited a mess” Colbert interjected, “No you inherited a fortune, we elected a mess.”—cue hysterics, applause, and prolonged cheering. 

Late Late Show’s British host James Corden commented about the President’s press conference, “It was historically bizarre even by Trump standards. Take the weird yellow curtain behind him. That thing is tacky, wrinkled, strangely colored,” Corden smirked for giggles, “And the curtain’s ugly too. Knowing Trump’s past, I’d think he’d be smarter than to stand in front of a golden shower curtain.”—cue hysterics. 

These guys are Democrats with comedy gigs. They are motive waiting for opportunity. Lacking opportunity, they go to school-yard name-calling designed to thicken the commitment of true believers. Years ago a group of liberal friends bemoaned the influence of talk radio. They asked me how they could do so well while liberal radio shows (beyond those with tax-dollar support on PBS) perished. “Simple,” I said. “People like to listen to people like themselves. Liberals have tens of thousands of talented people creating content for: The New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg, ESPN, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, Universal Music Group, Sony Music, EMI, Warner Music, and … you get the picture.” 

The more interesting question is not why talk-radio conservatives snatched such an audience but how they’ve done it with usually a lonely radio-talker who lacks staff of any kind. And the answer is? Until President Reagan retired the erroneously named “Fairness Doctrine” which in fact walled conservative opinion out of mass media, conservatives seeking entertainment (or education) had virtually no choice. Today, the vast percentage of content providers in the U.S. are still fueled by the legacy of those one-sided years. Conservatives became used to hearing their views condescended to at best, or insulted through loaded speech like those of the late night “comics.” 

Politics is culture’s voice. Imagine, the legacy-media left has become so strident that a local CBS affiliate station can imply an elected President’s dabbling in golden showers! That’s not propaganda, that’s an obscenity. It’s an attempt to disgrace people of a different life view with a message designed to provoke.

If a commentator had used the golden showers term in the same sentence as Barack Obama—well they’d have been called “fighting words.” Legacy media and late night humor are fondling a trigger. 

Comity is a noun that means courtesy and considerate behavior towards others. Once politicians understood that comity is a necessary condition for civility and the compromises essential to a working government. But now it seems that media content is a heat seeking missile programmed to assassinate comity. Any wonder that in a nation deeply divided over the meaning of life that talk radio does so well?

Look, it’s wonderful that all this media exists even if many of their views are restricted to a single narrative. That’s what free speech and press are about. Still, it’s the tone that’s unsettling enough to spark comment. As we go to sleep, broadcasters desperate to grab the biggest share of half of the potential audience are coming very close to comedy tonight … that can trigger tragedy for comity tomorrow.      


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