CSotD: The Jay Leno Approach

Ed Wexler explains it all, again, clearly, for those who weren’t paying attention:

Mueller testified to what was in the report, as he said he would.

He was clear about this in the weeks leading up to his appearance, and he was quite clear about the limits of his testimony in the hearing itself:

So why all the surprise and disappointment?

I’ll admit I was surprised and disappointed, but only the next day, surprised and disappointed by a lot of cartoonists who seemed to be doing a good impression of Jay Leno hosting the Tonight Show.

Unlike later hosts of late night shows, like Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert, Leno didn’t provide “political satire” in his monologues.

Rather, he specialized in non-partisan mockery, joking about how Al Gore lied (Gore didn’t lie) or how Bob Dole was too old for the job (Dole is still around, nearly a quarter century later).

That is, he told obvious, popular jokes that resonated with an audience that wasn’t paying attention to facts anyway.

It was what a later generation would call “click bait,” not “commentary.”

And now we’re seeing all sorts of cartoons about how — just as Gore lied about inventing the Internet — Mueller didn’t back up the claims in his report, even suggesting, as Leno did about Dole, that he’s old and incompetent.

I understand that cartoonists, shorn of their staff positions, have to craft cartoons that editors will select and pay for, but still, shame on them for cheap shots with no factual basis or political content.

Come on, now.

Be Jon Stewart, or, if you prefer, be Rush Limbaugh.

But don’t be Jay Leno. Have a little pride.


Tom Toles was paying attention and noticed that, beyond, yes, confirming the facts of that extensive report, Mueller expanded enough on his findings to warn about past efforts and continuing efforts by Russia to interfere in our elections.

And that his audience couldn’t hear him. And couldn’t see.

Or, perhaps, weren’t listening or bothering to look.


Perhaps he wasn’t as forceful as Paul Revere, but Darrin Bell heard what he said, and he also heard the clear response from the GOP: They began efforts to block legislation that might help prevent that foreign interference.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Bill Day)

(Benjamin Slyngstad)

I would note, parenthetically, that I believe it was Jon Stewart who hung the “turtle” label on Mitch McConnell, which shows how even a bit of wise-ass commentary can have a lasting impact.

Thing is that, whether you replace his shell with a Darth Vader helmet or festoon it with Red Square architecture, this level of mockery is a combination of McConnell’s physical appearance (cheap shot) with his consistent, stubborn refusal to move on matters of importance (valid critique).

That’s the combination that makes a political cartoon work: A little cheap shot to make it memorable, with some pointed commentary to make a valid point.

And, in this case, the turtle may be slow but he has actively moved to block legislation that would safeguard voting systems from interference, adding one more combination of political insight with targeted wiseassery: The label “Moscow Mitch.”

Perhaps it’s because he’s taken contributions from the companies that make those voting systems.

Or perhaps it’s because, like the President he serves, he’s taken money from Russian oligarchs.


Which, as Chris Britt suggests, makes him more hospitable than some other people in Congress might be.


But it’s okay, Kal assures us. We have the word of the President of the United States!

And, unlike Robert Mueller, our President doesn’t hesitate to speak right up!

We’ll come back to that topic.



Jeff Danziger departs from politics a moment to note another distressing development.

I’ve always liked August. The cooler weather not only takes the edge off summer but signals the end of mosquito and black fly season. All in all, it makes it much more pleasant outside, and this weekend is when I used to make the trek from Colorado to visit family and friends in the Adirondacks.

Colorado, that is, where the poor little bastards will be back in the classroom August 14.

I’m not against a longer school year, but, as I noted in a column years ago, extending the school year without meaningful education reform reminds me of those commercials for Total cereal.

Piling up bowls of non-nutritious cereal is not how you achieve good health, and more days of outdated, inefficient curricula is not how you achieve good education.

We’re still trying to achieve 21st century goals with 19th century tools, though I’ll admit it’s not the only reason why I think summer should not be spent sitting in classrooms.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: The Jay Leno Approach

  1. 21st Century(education) goals in 20th Century buildings built by the lowest bidder and with no AC.

  2. Well your right on the jokes. Good or bad they still shouldn’t be placed in any paper or on TV with the disrespectful host. Say or show what you may, but all of it is negative in showing people how to disrespect whatever it may be about. The world has desensitized what respect should be about. So we teach our kids to disrespect & in the future & now this is what we have. The first amendment is fine but it’s the rouge judges that make bad clairrafications. So now they say it’s ok for you to burn the American flag. A form of expression or the destruction of a country. Say what you want but the courts are wrong. It’s the destruction of a country. Don’t stand on a law this is what you have. No respect for what is right. Oh well let’s tear down the country with meaningless jokes. THE TRUE INSANE ASYLEM IS IN THE WHITEHOUSE & THE JUDGES HANDS.

  3. Of course you have to remember it’s a Democrats that refused to allow States to check voter IDs. It’s also democratically-controlled states that love to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and we know drivers licenses are the first step and granting Aid to illegal immigrants hey that is basically my tax dollars at work I love how liberals I wish land things their way and never show both sides of the story

  4. You could have actually written a wonderful article about the situation with the Mueller report and you did make a few good points however you had to of course throwing your liberal slant on the left has to have the Republicans are blocking legislation they would protect us from Russia in fact there has not been one report of one vote changed to to Russian intrusion or collusion. However in the state of Illinois and Florida there has been confirmed reports of dead people voting which was a lead by democratically-controlled voting commissions

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