comScore NYT’s Douthat: Samantha Bee’s a Bigger Problem to Democrats Than Jimmy Fallon Is | Mediaite

NYT’s Douthat: Samantha Bee’s a Bigger Problem to Democrats Than Jimmy Fallon Is

PicMonkey Collage - BeeJimmy Fallon got a lot of flak for his softball interview of Donald Trump, but then again, Fallon doesn’t really get “tough” with any of his guests. (His interview with Hillary Clinton was mostly lighthearted too.)

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat finds the overreaction amusing, because as far as he’s concerned, “The Democratic Party’s problem in the age of Trump isn’t really Jimmy Fallon. Its problem is Samantha Bee.”

RELATED: Samantha Bee Rips the Media for Getting Suckered into Trump’s Birther Conference

Bee, who started hosting hew own late night show Full Frontal earlier this year, has been praised by critics for the intensity and sharpness of her political commentary, but if you’re a Trump supporter, let’s just say you may not enjoy watching quite as much.

And as Douthat argues in a new NYT column, it’s exemplary of the cultural winds blowing in a more overtly liberal direction:

On late-night television, it was once understood that David Letterman was beloved by coastal liberals and Jay Leno more of a Middle American taste. But neither man was prone to delivering hectoring monologues in the style of the “Daily Show” alums who now dominate late night. Fallon’s apolitical shtick increasingly makes him an outlier among his peers, many of whom are less comics than propagandists — liberal “explanatory journalists” with laugh lines.

Some of them have better lines than others, and some joke more or hector less. But to flip from Stephen Colbert’s winsome liberalism to Seth Meyers’s class-clown liberalism to Bee’s bluestocking feminism to John Oliver’s and Trevor Noah’s lectures on American benightedness is to enter an echo chamber from which the imagination struggles to escape.

What concerns Douthat is the pressure from the left for beacons of culture like late night or awards shows or universities or sports leagues to be more overtly political.

So where does the “problem” Douthat refers to arise? Well:

She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left’s Manichaean view of the culture war sufficiently that she finds herself dismissing almost a quarter of the electorate as “irredeemable” before her donors. Yet she still finds herself battling an insurgency on her left flank, and somewhat desperately pitching millennials on her ideological bona fides.

At the same time, outside the liberal tent, the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.

So in other words, because of the dominance of liberal culture in places light late night, many Americans feel like their side has less of a voice in mainstream culture and thus they are “looking to the voting booth as a way to register dissent.”

Bee held a conference call with reporters today (regarding her show’s move to Wednesday next week to cover the debate), and she was asked about the column:

Douthat made a few additional points on Twitter:

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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