I admit it. I’m a night owl. Producing the Hugh Hewitt Show, and for decades well before that, going back to the Johnny Carson era, I’ve had a weak spot for late night television. I can look past the 10:1 ratio between jokes at Republicans’ expense versus Democrats’ expense. That bias, like virtually all mainstream media bias, is chronic and will not go away anytime soon. That said, last night, James Corden on CBS’ Late Late Show took it to a whole new level…by leaving the country in order to “protest” the Trump executive order on immigrant travel.
Let me begin by stating that Johnny Carson was the best there ever was, is, or ever will be in this genre. There isn’t even a close second. In the modern era, I’d have to say Craig Ferguson at least showed a degree of intellectualism, albeit in a childish way, and didn’t reflexively react in a partisan manner when things came up in the news. I really don’t have any use for the rest of the current lot, and after last night’s stunt, won’t be watching James Corden’s Late Late Show again.
Last week, Corden and his Late Late Show crew pre-taped all of this week’s episodes, so there will be no mention, obviously, of the Trump executive order. But it will come as no shock that Corden, along with the other current roster of late night hosts (Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee) are all rabid left-wingers, and after their horror and disgust at the outcome of the election, have collectively decided to double down their withering comedic attack on President Trump. In their minds, that strategy worked well in the campaign, so why not double down?
Corden, however, took it one step further. He taped a cold open of him in his car, not saying a word, driving to LAX, boarding a plane, and leaving the country. His staff then put this up on the screen:
First, for all we know, the shows this week are indeed pre-recorded, and Corden is not due back on the air live until the musician parade of anti-Trump screeds, otherwise known as the Grammy’s. So he could have been planning to return to his native England to see his parents, a trip he’s often taken since his time at the Late Late Show. We have no idea whether this was a sincere protest or just James grandstanding, as he has done on a variety of issues in his time here. His comment about moving around easy is just absurd on its face. Everyone affected by the travel ban, all 109 of them, eventually got to where they were going. A few more questions were asked to verify their identity and what the purpose of their travel was. As for the last line, it clearly is not a racist policy. It clearly is not a religious-based policy. There are Muslims who are not white all over Indonesia. Not one of them were affected by the temporary travel ban. Why? Because the Indonesian government is cooperating with the U.S. Government to help vet who those coming in are. There were no bans on Japan or East Asia. There were no blanket bans on Africa. People of color simply were not singled out. People of certain religions simply were not singled out. This was a travel ban that slowed down people from certain countries in which the host governments, if there is such a thing, are not providing enough cooperating intelligence to ascertain if these people are safe or not. That’s all.
Corden injected race and religion into an issue where it simply does not exist, and applied it selectively to a Republican president that did the unthinkable, which is following six different administrations’ desire to do exactly the same thing. It’s totally fair to critique the efficacy and/or effectiveness, or even the timing and the rollout of the executive order. I personally think the order is on solid Constitutional grounds, and needed to be done at some point relatively soon, but perhaps more directly under Homeland Security Director John Kelly’s direction. I believe the rollout was clearly clunky at best, and it shouldn’t have included Iraq on the list, because the government in Baghdad is currently working with us to send pilots for training in Arizona. I’m not worried about Iraqi nationals coming here. Syria? You bet. But Corden and his ilk on the left don’t want to have that debate. They won’t argue the policy on its merits, because they are exposed by the hypocrisy of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the last two paragons of Democratic presidencies, who espoused exactly what Trump codified. Instead, they have to grandstand and invent the straw men of race and religion that are simply not present.
The thing that gets me about the current landscape of the late night wars is how their business model, as it seems to be playing out, is doomed to fail. Just as a reminder, here is the result of the 2016 election, county by county.
So you currently have eight late night talkers, nine if you include Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, and why would anyone want to do that? Those eight, funded by their respective networks or channels, are all competing for the blue share of this pie. There is currently no one programming any late night entertainment to the red section of the country. Carson knew better. He was from Iowa. I’m sure he was a lefty at heart, but he took jabs where the opportunities presented themselves, despite the politics. And he knew his audience wasn’t just on the coasts. Corden doesn’t understand this. Here’s what America sees with his stunt. They see a millionaire British national mocking their sense that national security wasn’t all it was supposed to be and now someone has at least taken steps to get that back under control.
How do you think it looks to middle America when a foreigner who gets to host a late night show for millions of dollars just spontaneously leaves the country as a protest because he can? How many Americans get to leave their job for a week and just fly across the world to make a point? I don’t know many who do. Most Americans I know have to work as much as possible to keep the bills paid and food on the table. Vacation is a dream, much less a spontaneous one to be a protest stunt. His “keeping it real” moment actually makes him look like an elitist who is just another insufferable limousine lefty trying to pretend to be a normal person, and reinforces why so many people voted for Trump to be the great disrupter in the first place. They want a bully on their side to fight back at the bullying the left has been giving Americans through the media for decades.
I hope we eventually tone down the bullying on both sides. Comity is something I don’t believe we’ll see very soon, but you still can have debate and dissent, in very heated terms, even, while doing so in a civil manner. I have no problem with President Trump blowing out Sally Yates last night. She was and is a partisan lefty at Justice who inserted herself into a policy decision by trying to dress it up as a legal question. There really is no legal question on the travel ban EO. Jonathan Turley, no right wing legal scholar, said yesterday on Morning Joe that the courts have long given deference to the president on border security issues, and that Trump is on solid Constitutional grounds. Yates simply got out in front of her skis, as the saying goes, and paid the price, at least with regards to her career at the Justice Department, which was essentially going to be over the day Jeff Sessions gets confirmed anyway. She just went out on her terms, and will soon be celebrated around the halls of the ACLU, no doubt. What I found troubling was not that President Trump fired her, but that he followed up with his termination letter made public explaining how she had betrayed the Department. That satiates the bullying bloodlust so desired online by Trump backers, but it does nothing to help unite the country, which has not happened a lick since the Trump administration started. He promised to be a president for all Americans in his Inaugural Address. I believe there is a way for him to be effective, be decisive, and make bold changes quickly, but do so in a way that doesn’t give unnecessary ammunition to his political opponents. And in fact, it helps lead to stunts like what we’re seeing from James Corden and the left.
As for James Corden, enjoy your trip to wherever you want. Go ahead and stay there a while. I’m fairly confident the red part of the country won’t even notice you left. Have we reached peak hissy fit from the late night stable? Not even close. Just wait until when they get to weigh in on President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, and how the Republicans employ the Reid Rule to get him or her confirmed with 51 votes. No telling where they might fly to next.