Is Late-Night TV Worsening the Country’s Political Divide?

May 26, 2017  •  Post A Comment

Shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” which have become increasingly politicized in the Trump era, probably aren’t changing any minds, but they may be contributing to the polical divide in America.

That’s the premise of a piece published today by Sara Boboltz, entertainment editor for The Huffington Post.

Political humor in the late-night landscape is nothing new, Boboltz notes, but one thing that has changed is the response to it — including from Donald Trump.

“Whereas public figures might have ignored comedians in the past, or been good sports and gone along with the jabs, Trump has gone the opposite route, attacking comics over Twitter,” Boboltz writes. “His repeated comments have wedged a line: You are either with Trump, and against late-night, or with late-night, and against Trump. That can make Americans just a little bit curious to see what all the fuss is about, driving up ratings to shows.”

The article quotes Heather LaMarre, who studies politics in entertainment media at Temple University, saying: “The people who were already anti-Trump are going to become more anti-Trump, and the people who are pro-Trump are not going to walk away from him just because of something a political comedian said.”

LaMarre added: “Especially if they think of that comedian as a Hollywood elite.”

We encourage readers to click here to read the full analysis on the HuffPost website.



  1. I agree with the premise of this article but believe the problem also stems from talk/news shows as well. When Obama became president, liberals encouraged conservatives to at least respect the office of the president if not the man himself and give him a chance. So now that the shoe is on the other foot, hypocrites abound as liberals trash everything republican and Trump in particular. The ease at which the media ridicules and condemns the president creates an atmosphere of contentiousness and disrespect that pervades our society. This condescending attitude spiraling out of control in the media feeds the very divisiveness that they are reporting on. If Trump were to somehow walk over the Potomac River, I’m sure the “Breaking News” would be . . . “Trump Can’t Swim!”

  2. Since current “Late Night” TV is all post Daily Show, which was a reaction of the lies on Fox News, I’d say it started with the late, but not missed, Roger Ailes.

  3. So Colbert and SNL give liberal viewers a place where they can see their frustrations and rage articulated for 6 1/2 hours a week. Meanwhile, conservatives have been getting that pretty much 24/7 via Fox News. For that matter, liberal viewers that want that sort of thing have been getting it from MSNBC’s prime time shows (and, to an extent, Comedy Central in late night) for years.

    As for the idea that conservatives gave Obama a chance, that’s really kind of laughable. My recollection is that the pictures of Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose appeared pretty early on his presidency, to cite just a single example.

    All in all, I’d have to say that these late night comedy shows seem like a very minor uptick in the overall level of divisiveness.

  4. All in all, I’d have to say that these late night comedy shows seem like a very minor uptick in the overall level of divisiveness.
    Tom D you are delusional

  5. The Dems are amazing. Masters of the rope-a-dope! They block the President’s appointments and attack any person who is helping him succeed in fulfilling his agenda. They attack by innuendo and enlist their willing followers, the occupants of the swamp (professional bureaucrats who see their cushy jobs being threatened and their go-to advocates – CBS, NBC, ABC and its surrogates ESPN, Disney etc. etc. on both the News and the entertainment divisions. And what shows is that the one who is the most pejorative in its content wins the biggest ratings. Meanwhile, they’ve managed to do in the leadership at FOX News and their lead ratings getter.

    Silence the voice of conservatives, deny them any forum and bury them in negative press daily.
    Great strategy to destroy the office of the president and politically amateur occupant.
    When you threaten the swamp you galvanize the legions of people who have been living off the rest of us for decades.

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