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Jimmy Fallon is Losing to Stephen Colbert Because People Really Hate Trump

The conventional wisdom in television used to be that you don’t want to get too political or you’d alienate half your audience. Even last year when Arrow decided to get political and do a topical episode on mass shootings and gun control, the show explicitly refused to make any sort of statement towards one side or the other. Which is fine, but Green Arrow’s most defining trait as a comic book character is his outspoken left-wing political orientation. Still, even a show about the most explicitly political character in comics shies away from taking a political stance for fear of alienating its audience.

This “stand in the middle and don’t get too political” strategy has failed to pay off for Jimmy Fallon, as since the election of Donald Trump, Fallon has fallen behind Stephen Colbert in viewership, placing him second place in the late night ratings war, and just barely ahead of third-place host Jimmy Kimmel.

Critics of President Trump have been quick to attribute this to Fallon’s non-confrontational approach to having Trump on his show during the election, contrasted by Colbert’s broadside assault on conservatives, something he was famous for already coming from his long runs as a correspondent on The Daily Show and host of The Colbert Report. But is there any truth to the idea that it’s politics rather than personality that’s pushing ratings in late night?

Well, yeah, there is, and it’s the correlation with cable news ratings we’ve seen in the Trump era, as MSNBC is ascendant with CNN and Fox News declining, on the back of late night’s new queen, the increasingly detached from reality Rachel Maddow. Since the election, Dr. Maddow’s program has veered further from the solid, evidence-based reporting she provided in her Air America days and more into the neoliberal conspiracy theory territory trod by former British MP Louise Mensch and her ilk. Maddow’s turn to being the center-left’s version of Glenn Beck has rewarded her with the title of top rated cable news show, beating arch-conservative blowhard Sean Hannity in demographic viewership. Fox News still has the highest viewership numbers, but center-left MSNBC is the only cable news network to have a growing instead of shrinking audience.

One interesting note is that Fallon still holds an edge, albeit a much-decreased edge, in demographic viewership over Colbert, where Colbert actually decreased in viewership over last year. This means all of Colbert’s growth in the past year has been from viewers over the age of 50, as the younger viewers who left Fallon’s audience, nearly 300,000 of them, dropped out of watching late night talk shows altogether.

What this means is that, surprise, surprise, having a historically unpopular president means that a lot of people like it when you call him an asshole. Trump’s approval rating is lower than Gerald Ford’s approval rating, and Gerald Ford wasn’t even elected. Under normal circumstances, being apolitical is the safest bet, but in the current climate, Trump has managed to be so unpopular that the conventional wisdom no longer applies.

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2 Comments on "Taylor Swift Performing On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’"

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angel dejesus
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conservatives are stupid

Trump fucked your whore Mexican mon
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Trump fucked your whore Mexican mon

Mexicans are the scum of the fucking earth

jb44
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Eric Karnes remarks regarding Rachel Maddow have left me questioning his whole article. If he lies about her, what else is he lying about?

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