With all the goings on with David Letterman and his on-air left leaning antics. Perhaps CBS (and NBC, as well, to prevent future faux pas) would do well in having their late night host (whom ever it may be), take the following to heart:
Mr. Carson guarded his political views as carefully as he did his private life, insisting that the only message of his show was entertainment. But his credibility with the American public was such that his monologues were carefully monitored by politicians mindful that no one who became a frequent target of Johnny Carson could long survive in public life. It didn’t help Richard Nixon when Mr. Carson’s monologue produced some of the funniest Watergate jokes around. Nor did it help when Mr. Carson trained his sights on former Senator Gary Hart, a Democrat from Colorado who found allure both in the presidency and in women he didn’t happen to be married to. Mr. Carson’s jokes about Mr. Hart’s extramarital activities were surely not the only reason his political fortunes evaporated in 1988, but they were repeated often enough to have played some part.
”You get the feeling that Dan Quayle’s golf bag doesn’t have a full set of irons,” Mr. Carson said of another favorite target. He also joked that Jerry Brown, the Democratic former governor of California who ran for president in 1992, admitted that he had smoked marijuana in the 60’s ”but didn’t exhale.” When President Bush’s father was in the White House (and Mr. Quayle was his vice president), Mr. Carson told as many anti-Bush jokes as time would allow, among them ”Read my lips: no new promises.”
Source: New York Times, January 24, 2005
In the above, it is not important as to which person was skewered. I grew up with (and started to grow old with) Carson’s nightly visit to my living room. He saw any and all politicians as fair game. If they were making news, chances are they would show up in his monologue. Three things are readily apparent from the above:
1. Take no sides all parties and the players of same are fair game.
2. Take the “risk” to skewer the current administration (and both Houses as well). If you are not willing or able to do this, or your network prevents you from being “even handed” in dishing out zingers across the whole of the political spectrum, then maybe it’s time to find greener pastures.
3. Know your audience. They are not all in NYC or LA. Indeed, the majority are (assuming you are getting ratings reflecting same) in that vast wasteland, known as flyover country. Carson not only knew that, he never forgot it. You would be wise in remembering it as well.
My personal opinion on this whole thing. Governor Palin has a thick enough skin to handle being compared to “slutty flight attendants. What has got most folks knickers in a knot (and rightly so) is the unwarranted attacking of a 14 year old. That was at best poor thinking on Letterman’s (and his writers) part, and at worse just one more sign the left has not only no moral compass, but no class as well.
LC Aggie Sith wrote:
I will have to go with no class and no moral compass on this. He definitely knows better than to attack a child. He just wanted the ratings boost to compete with Conan on the Tonight Show.
Guy S wrote:
I agree with the no class and compass. But after his initial start, Conan’s ratings started heading south. However!! After Letterman’s comments about Palin and the girls, Conan’s ratings started going back up. Wonder if there is a reason for that??