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A Warning about the Dangers of Comedians Today
Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D. -- Author of Fifty Books Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D. -- Author of Fifty Books
Lafayette , CA
Monday, March 04, 2019

Comedians Have Become Like Jokers Today


            Today, the late night comedians have become more popular than ever.  For example, according to the TV by the Numbers report for January 19, 019, Stephen Colbert has 41% of the TV-viewing audience in its time slot, the Late Night with Seth Myers has a 27% viewership, and the Daily Show with Trevor Noah has 23% of the viewers.  That turns into about 4 million viewers for Colbert, about 2 ½ million viewers for Myers and 2 million for Noah.  Then, over the weekend, Saturday Night Live scores even more viewers -- over 10 million in its 2018 season -- and it spends much of the night skewering President Trump and his administration, with a particularly disrespectful parody of the President by Alec Baldwin.

            A key reason for the success of these comedians, according to Paul Brakke, a criminal justice expert and commentator on American society, who has published 7 books with American Leadership Press, is their comedy is focused on mocking President Trump, his family, and the Republican Party.  In effect, they have become a mouthpiece for the political views of liberals under the cover of comedy, and as such they often present an exaggerated or incorrect view of what is happening today.  Then, if they are criticized for their commentary, they can say they were only making jokes.  But their jokes can be a political platform, rather than being a humorous commentary of everyday life in general. 

             At one time, the commentary of comedians used to be about the events of the days or their foibles in everyday life.  But today their monologues and many of their guests have turned into a one-sided blast at President Trump and his family. Virtually anything is fair game.  The comedians have played up the Russia investigation to make President Trump and his associates seem guilty; they have made fun of his choices to be on the Supreme Court; they have mocked his relationships with foreign powers; they have suggested he is criminally culpable because of his dealings to build the Trump Tower in Moscow; and they have turned his choices for different cabinet positions into punching bags.

            In this way, the modern-day comedians have used their influential platform that reaches millions of Americans to support a liberal political line, and they have contributed to the divisive political climate in America with their snide remarks.  In many societies today, such commentary might be shut down as damaging to the social order, and the comedians might even be jailed for mocking their political leaders.  But in the U.S. such commentary is permitted under the guise of free speech.  Yet, there are limits, such as the classic example of someone yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, leading to a stampede to get out that could even lead to the death of some patrons.  Right now, the comedians are free to say what they want, but sometimes they seem to go over the line of what should be permitted. An example could be joking about the threats made to the President or his family members, which could be taken by someone who is mentally disturbed as a call to take action to carry out the threat.

            Still another concern is that the vast majority of political comedians tend to lean left, as pointed out by Patrick Bromley in "The Top Political Comedians in America", posted March 29, 2018 on ThoughtCo.com.  So collectively, these comedians are using their position to influence many millions of voters, especially when a similar message is reinforced on different shows, such as if one listens to the reaction of Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Seth Myers, and the Saturday Night Live crew to the news of the day. The focus of the monologues, guests, and sketches are almost always about President Trump and others supporting his administration, and they point to what's wrong, which can contribute to undermining faith in our institutions.  While their defense is using free speech to be funny, they are using humor to support the liberal political agenda, so they largely don't feature any foibles of the liberal political leaders. 

             In turn, their comedy can influence the way we vote, as Evan Fleischer points out in an October 2016 article in The Guardian: "Can Late-Night TV Hosts Influence the Way We Vote?"  Though Fleischer was asking the question before the results came in for the 2016 election, he pointed out that "Over the past few years, late-night comedy has been taken far more seriously than in the days when Johnny Carson was host."  He also cited an Atlantic article which observed that "comedians have taken on the role of public intellectuals."

            In fact, in some of these "comedy" sketches, the talk show hosts are often "making earnest, quite un-funny political pleas" to cite a July 2018 article by Olivia Goldhill on Quaritzy: "'Nanette' and Why a New Wave of Comedians Don't Want to Be Funny."  As Goldhill notes: "More and more comedians are losing the jokes part altogether.  Having become political comedians, they're dropping the comedy act and becoming straightforward commentators."

            And it gets worse, according to Brakke, who points to an article by Noel Murray on TheWeek website: "Why Political Comedians Will Always Let You Down."  As Brakke notes: "A big problem is the comedians can do anything for a laugh, so a funny comment can have the ring of truth, but it doesn't have to be fully truthful.  The popular political comics such as Stephen Colbert, Seth Myers, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and the Saturday Night Live anchors can be quite funny when they point up the failures of our modern institutions.  But, as Murray points out, they don't always get everything right.  In fact, they may not be able to do so in the minutes or even seconds they have to make their point."

            Then, too, as Brakke points out, in the comedians' one-sided approach to making fun of our institutions, they focus on attacking Trump and his administration.  But they don't go after the opposing side.  "So we have to recognize the comedians of the airwaves for the one-sided view of the world they present.  And under the cover of humor, their attacks can be very influential.  They can even motivate dangerous individuals to take action against the Trump administration."

             In making these observations about comedians, Brakke has become especially interested in American culture, as part of his research on the divisions in American society and criminal justice in America.  He reported on these divisions in a chapter in Crime in America and in Fractured America. He is also planning a future more in-depth analysis of this problem.

             In writing his books and working as a consultant, Brakke brings to the table a unique conservative approach to crime, criminal justice, and American society.  That's because usually liberals discuss ways to reform the system through more of a social welfare approach.  But Brakke's approach is more based on an economic business model of doing what works most efficiently to both cut down costs and create more productive citizens.  He is now bringing his unique approach to his forthcoming book Fractured America, dealing with the many divisions that are tearing America apart and how to heal these divisions.  It will be published in February.

             Since publishing Crime in America, Brakke has had 35 videos made featuring highlights from the book which are available on the American Leadership Books YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfHgXXiW3jgODnaypgcYZFw

              To learn more, you can get a copy of Crime in America, with a chapter on the divisions in America.  You can also get a copy of Fractured America which deals with these divisions in more depth.  The books are available through Amazon, Kindle, and major bookstores.   Also, free copies are available for government officials who are seeking ways to reduce crime and fix the criminal justice system and for members of the media at www.crimeinamericathebook.com or at www.fracturedamerica.net.  

.             For media copies of the book, more information on American Leadership Books and Paul Brakke, and to set up interviews, please contact:

Jana Collins

Jones & O'Malley

Toluca Lake, California


(818) 762-8353

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Group: Changemakers Publishing and Writing
Dateline: Lafayette, CA United States
Direct Phone: 925-385-0608
Main Phone: 925-385-0608
Cell Phone: 510-919-4030
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