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October 16, 2017

MORE ON JIMMY KIMMEL ON LOSING REPUBLICAN VIEWERS: “I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.”

We’ll get to Kimmel in a moment, but to understand how we got to this point, let’s flashback to the hypothesis that Robert Tracinski explored a week ago at the Federalist, in a column titled,“Why Late Night Hosts Like Jimmy Kimmel Are Suddenly So Political.” After discussing how DVRs, streaming and YouTube are fracturing their audiences, he concluded:

So the late-night shows are in a much fiercer competition for eyeballs than ever before, and I suspect the politicization is a response to that—a desperate way of getting in the news, of getting noticed, of securing the loyalty of a particular demographic. This is also my theory about the big entertainment awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys. If the big, broad, general audience you used to have is gone, and deep down you think it’s never coming back, then why not make a harder bid for the loyalty of the smaller audience you’ve got left? In a time when the entertainment industry is (or thinks it is) a one-party state with no dissenters, you had better echo that politics back to your base.

What were once cultural institutions with a broad, bipartisan audience are becoming niche players with a narrow fan base. They no longer view partisan politics as a dangerous move that will shrink their audience. Instead, they’re using partisan politics as a lure to secure the loyalty of their audience, or what is left of it. Not that it’s going to work over the long term, because people who want to have their biases confirmed will just watch the five-minute YouTube clip Chris Cillizza links to the next day.

Tracinski’s theory dovetails perfectly with the above quoted tweet yesterday from the Washington Examiner: “Jimmy Kimmel on losing Republican viewers: ‘I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.’” The article it links to goes on to note:

Critics like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro have slammed Kimmel for parading as a “moral arbiter.”

“I’m not. I mean, I agree with him. I’m nobody’s moral arbiter,” Kimmel told CBS. “You don’t have to watch the show. You don’t have to listen to what I say.”

A defiant Kimmel added that he doesn’t say “I don’t mind” because he preferred “everyone with a television to watch the show.”

“But if they’re so turned off by my opinion on healthcare and gun violence then, I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway,” he continued. “Not good riddance, but riddance.”

To paraphrase a legendary fictitious newscaster, you stay classy, Jimmy.

Kimmel is afraid to “have a conversation on healthcare and gun violence” because since 2001, the current Democratic Party purity test (just scroll through the Insta-archives on the topic) requires that Inner Party members make no contact with the lumpenproletariat, lest the bad think rub off. Kimmel runs the risk of learning about a topic and having his mind changed, and he and Disney and the DNC certainly can’t have that. And by echoing the party line, Kimmel keeps his base of remaining leftwing viewers, and his bosses pumped up as well.

As Salena Zito, who actually gets up from her desk and goes out to talk to everyday Americans — even icky flyover country Republicans despised by Hollywood! — and somehow survives the process tweets in response, “Narrow-minded commentary by [Kimmel.] Most Americans are willing to converse with someone who sees world differently than themselves.” But apparently, Democrats are done “having a conversation,” and are simply biding their time until they’re back in power to impose their will on us.