Was Jay Leno Auditioning for MSNBC?

It’s no secret that Jay Leno is left-leaning in his political views. Most people in the entertainment industry are. Yet, unlike many of his peers, Leno has generally resisted the temptation to taint his brand with overtly partisan, nasty political activism. In other words, he didn’t follow the same path as David Letterman did, and I respect him for that.

Sure, Leno makes more jokes at the expense of Republicans than he does with Democratic politicians, and there’s no denying that his comedy has been far kinder toward President Obama than it ever was toward President Bush. Yet, he also seems to have an eye for recognizing and calling out the absurdities and the disingenuous talking points that come from both sides of the political aisle. On top of that, he’s usually pretty receptive to the views of the conservative guests he invites on his show. He’ll sometimes engage in friendly debates with them and even concede a political point or two. That sort of civility and open-mindedness puts him a step above many in his industry. I think a lot of conservatives appreciate that.

Based on that impression, I found myself completely shocked and disappointed Monday night while watching his interview with comedian Dennis Miller on The Tonight Show. Being that Miller is a political commentator, the discussion naturally went to politics. Miller expressed his belief that the Obama administration has been inept in dealing with our country’s serious problems, and he asked Leno (who is an Obama supporter) what impresses him about the president.

Leno began with the statement that President Obama was “compassionate for regular people.” It was kind of the expected response, though I didn’t doubt Leno’s sincerity. After all, liberals pride themselves on being the compassionate ones, and don’t quite understand that conservatives value compassion as well. Conservatives just happen to believe that it is individualism (not government) that advances people’s quality of life.

No, it was the rest of Leno’s answer that turned my stomach. He chided the Republican Party for their War on Women, and offered evidence of that “war” by pointing out the idiotic remarks recently made about “legitimate rape” by U.S. Senate hopeful, Todd Akin. He even said that Akin’s view was representative of the Republican Party platform.

The rhetoric nearly prompted me to check my television guide to make sure I hadn’t accidentally switched over to Bill Maher’s show.

This is Jay Leno, after all. He’s the guy who, just last month, admitted on national television that the MSNBC cable news network is “ridiculously biased.” Now, he’s suddenly parroting the same ridiculously biased nonsense that MSNBC shamelessly peddles each and every day?

His assertion was uncomfortable to listen to, and it even caught Dennis Miller (who’s a long-time friend of Leno’s) off-guard. Miller did an excellent job of pointing out the absurdity of the charge, and won over the crowd in doing so, but the fact that Leno would go there is disheartening.

Surely a man like him, who has long found comedy in our culture by taking a lighthearted, observational approach to current events, couldn’t buy into such silliness. After all, the Republicans’ War on Women is one of the most blatantly manufactured political controversies of the modern era. Yet, Leno sadly appeared to actually believe what he was saying – which is more than I can say for most of the political hacks who’ve actually been pushing this pathetic narrative.

I think it all goes back to what I wrote about in my last column. As diminished as the mainstream media has become in this country, they’re still the most influential force in American politics. In this case, I don’t even think Leno was intentionally perpetuating a liberal bias. I think he was unknowingly demonstrating that he’s a hapless victim of that bias, just like much of the electorate is.

You just can’t underestimate the power of the DNC-compliant news media to endlessly repeat a narrative until it’s accepted as a mainstream consensus. It’s that power that lets them successfully shelve commonsense, divert attention from legitimate issues, and get people to sign onto completely unreasonable premises.

Can you imagine if the Republican party had that kind of news-based messaging-power on its side? They’d be absolutely unstoppable! They could have deflected criticism off of the Iraq War by accusing Democrats of not wanting illegal immigrants to have the right to serve in our military. They could have deflected criticism off of Larry Craig and Mark Foley by accusing Democrats of homophobia. They could have made Anthony Weiner the poster-child for the Democratic party and successfully argued that the DNC platform embraces internet perversion. Heck, they could actually win this election on the notion that President Obama is a Muslim who was born in Kenya.

But those narratives would never work for the Republicans, would they? No, the media shoots down politically-advantageous weirdness when it comes from the right. That’s fine with me.  The problem is that they go out of their way to substantiate politically-advantageous weirdness when it comes from the left.

The result is a society of reasonable people (including Jay Leno) whose lack of critical thinking leads them to believe whatever they hear enough times from the liberal media. And that’s a dangerous thing.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • left-leaning

    I suppose the author of this blog has never watched the FOX “news” network…
    It’s a bit narrow-sighted to suggest left-leaning media bias, without also acknowledging that the exact same thing and WORSE goes on at the Rupert Murdock-owned Fox news network…

  • Captaingoose

    I made the mistake of watching  Dave Letterman “interview” his Royal Greatness last night! Not one tough or even interesting question. Not one intelligent sounding question. It was embarrassing! Obama the 1sts answers were all talking points and you could watch Dave listen with the sympathetic intensity of a teenage girl in love.  I am writing CBS today saying ‘Dave Letterman must be retired. You can say low ratings…and they are! ” Jay Leno is also a liberal but, he does hit both sides… more on right than left. it is him to retire also. Johnny Carson is gone and both of these two should be retired. Yes, Jimmy Fallon is horrible, Craig Ferguson are also liberal we must remind these networks there are the vast majority of Americans do not agree with them.
    Vote Republican, no matter who, what where when or why!
    We have seen the alternative.

  • CCNV

    Liberals WANT to believe the worst about people whether real or perceived; thus, their hatred of anyone who disagrees with, or challenges, them. They try so hard to brainwash someone to their point of view that it’s almost like they are a cult.

  • GlenFS

    That’s the worst thing, accepting a notion without ever knowing why.  That’s the affect of media bias.

    • Wheels55

      I agree. However, media bias would never exist if so many people were not weak minded sheep. The media is a business industry. Their success depends on people paying attention. If everyone gave some thought to what is out there, they would turn away from the liberal media, then the liberal media would stop the bias and actually report like journalists. Imagine that.

  • Wheels55

    It’s so easy being a liberal on a platform. You just have to say untrue things about conservatives and talk about things from the heart like life is a fairy tale. Leno certainly has lowered his standards – not as low as Letterman, but low. Seldom do I see a liberal clearly and truthfully state their case without blasting the otherside.
    Let’s deal in the utopia world for a moment – a world where nobody says negative things about another. OK, now imagine a debate – like between Miller and Leno – and try to see the liberal guy actually stating a solid case. Take a moment and then take an aspirin. Can’t imagine it can you?