If you were watching any of the “lighter side of political news” today you no doubt saw the clip from Jimmy Fallon’s show where Jeb Bush did Jimmy’s running schtick of “slow jamming the news.” I don’t watch the show myself, so I didn’t see it when it popped up. (It’s not that I have anything in particular against Fallon. I’m just an old man who goes to bed at 9:30 and I can’t be bothered to watch TV that late at night.) I saw the clip today, though, and I suppose it was funny enough. Here it is in case you missed it.
Back to the title question: we’re talking, for the most part, about late night shows which are predominantly Democrat / Liberal supporting in nature. (Leno was actually pretty fair at times, but those days are gone.) But Fallon and company are still not anywhere near as bad as Jon Stewart in terms of bias… or at least not as obvious. (Yes, yes… I know. I did Jon Stewart’s show. But I’m not running for office.) The point is, are Republican presidential candidates actually getting anything out of going on a show where they will likely be portrayed in a less than positive light if not outright mocked and insulted? I have to wonder if there is enough of the core audience for these shows who might be even slightly open to considering voting for a Republican to make it balance out against the poor impression which can be delivered by a biased host.
But there’s another side to this. Many of the candidates are still almost virtually unknown to the very large segment of the public who don’t spend all of their time watching Fox News, MSNBC, CNN or CSPAN. Getting your name ID up to the point where people have actually heard of you is important, at least assuming that some of them will take the next step to find out more about you. Does that tip the scale? I suppose doing these shows can bump up name ID at a minimum, and there’s still the old maxim that any PR is good PR if they spell your name right.
Bush seemed to do well enough. No matter how many jokes Fallon may do about him on subsequent nights, he came off as genial and human. Perhaps this is a worthwhile investment of time for the candidates after all.