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AUGUST 5-6,  2023

Here's...nobody:  You all know that parts of the entertainment industry are currently shut down by a strike of writers and actors.  (Full disclosure:  I am a member of the Writers Guild of America, which is on strike.) 

Many observers are speculating on what the business will be like after the strike is settled.  One of the most fascinating arenas of speculation involves the late-night talk shows.  They weren't doing well before the strike, and the strike won't do them any good.  There are reasons:  From Fox: 

For several years, The Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City was a hot spot for liberal fans to absorb the latest Trump headlines through what's been dubbed as "clapter," a term that meshes "clapping" and "laughter" to describe the Democrat pep rally-like atmosphere that has taken over late-night audiences.

The theater is the home of CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which became must-watch television for anti-Trump audiences, overtaking NBC's "Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" as the most-watched late-night program.

Today, however, the Ed Sullivan Theater is collecting dust. That's because the writers strike that began in early May has now reached the three-month mark with no end in sight.

The writers strike (now in tandem with the actors strike) has halted production of movies and TV shows across the entertainment industry. Among the first immediately impacted were the late-night shows including "The Late Show" and "The Tonight Show" as well as "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "The Daily Show," "Real Time with Bill Maher," "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and "Saturday Night Live," all of them forced to air re-runs. 

Political satirist Tim Young says their months-long absence makes it "easy to forget" about them.

"Their tired attempts at making funny news-based monologues that were always about Trump had become exhausting and unquotable, so they'd rarely even be covered by entertainment news anymore," Young told Fox News Digital. "Late night shows are so forgettable that I think people have just moved on... they just aren't missed."

Viewership across the late-night landscape had been dropping long before the writers strike. In 2018, the midpoint of Trump's presidency, Colbert averaged 3 million viewers. In 2023, the "Late Show" audience fell to 2.1 million, losing nearly a third of viewers the process. Fallon lost almost half of his audience during the same timeframe, going from an average of 2.3 million viewers in 2018 to 1.3 million in 2023. 

Kimmel, who notably expressed he didn't mind in 2017 if viewers were turned off by his liberal politics, shed roughly half a million viewers since 2018, averaging just 1.5 million this year. 

Other late-night offerings are doing even worse. Seth Meyers's "Late Night" audience has cratered to a 778,000 average following his 1.3 million average five years ago. "The Daily Show," which has rotated guest hosts after Trevor Noah stepped down last year, averaged just 366,000 viewers leading into the strike, losing more than half of viewers since 2018.  

Meanwhile, Fox News' "Gutfeld!" quickly surged since its debut in April 2021 to become one of the most-watched late-night shows, frequently beating Colbert and regularly crushing Kimmel and Fallon. 

The show, hosted by "The King of Late Night" author Greg Gutfeld, is the only late-night offering still airing on television during the writers strike and continues to thrive in its new 10 p.m. ET timeslot, averaging 2 million viewers in a cable news slot.

COMMENT:  Most readers know that I was a talent coordinator, sometimes called segment producer, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Carson was the true king of late night because he understood that members of the audience weren't interested in a political lecture.  They were interested in laughing.  He called The Tonight Show a variety show, not a talk show, to emphasize its entertainment mission.  I don't think the staff ever knew Johnny's political views, and no one really cared.

Carson also understood, through the mentoring of his idol, the great comedian Jack Benny, that the whole show had to be good.  Guests were carefully chosen, and Carson did everything he could to make them successful.  They had to be good because the whole show had to be good.

Johnny Carson lasted almost 30 years as host of The Tonight Show. 

I don't mean to diminish any of the hosts today, but I'm really not interested in their inner thoughts about abortion.  And I really won't stay long to watch a show whose guests are known only to those between the ages of seven and twenty-two.

There really is a difference. 

August 6, 2023       Permalink  

 

CHINESE AND RUSSIAN WARSHIPS ON THE MOVE; THIS IS NOT GOOD.  FROM FOX: 

China and Russia conducted a joint naval operation near U.S. territory earlier this week, triggering a large response from the U.S. Navy, Fox News Digital has learned.

The joint operation, conducted by two significant American adversaries, consisted of 11 ships and neared Alaska's southwestern coast, according to Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who was briefed on the matter earlier this week by U.S. defense officials. Sullivan said the U.S. Navy ultimately mobilized four destroyers to guide the Chinese and Russian ships away from American waters.

"This is unprecedented in terms of the size and scope of this joint naval task force between Russia and China, working very closely together," Sullivan told Fox News Digital in a phone interview late Saturday. "Whether you live in Alaska like I do, or on the East Coast of the United States, a very large surface action task force between our two main adversaries, probing very closely to United States shores, is concerning."

"It just solidifies this idea that we've entered a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow who are increasingly aggressive," he continued.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the joint Chinese and Russian operation Saturday.
In addition to the four destroyers mobilized, the U.S. also sent P-8 Poseidon aircraft to shadow the Chinese and Russian ships away from the Alaskan coast, according to The Wall Street Journal. The ships neared the Aleutian Islands, but never entered U.S. territorial waters.

Sullivan added that the American response was considerably improved compared to a similar, albeit smaller, incident that occurred in September. The U.S. sent a single Coast Guard cutter after it noticed a Chinese guided missile cruiser alongside two other Chinese ships and four Russian ships about 90 miles north of the Aleutian Islands on Sept. 19, 2022.
"We ramped that up significantly. Four U.S. destroyers and air assets, P-8's, that were tracking and monitoring this large-scale Russian-Chinese task force quite closely. So that is a significant improvement," said Sullivan. "That's a lot of naval power up here demonstrating American resolve."

COMMENT:  Provocative actions like the kind Russia and China took can suddenly light the spark of war.  Or, they can reveal our weakness.  They can never be ignored.  The fact that Russia and China got together at a time when Russia is already engaged in the Ukraine, and did so at a moment when China clearly is looking for the chance to take Taiwan, should force Congress to increase our inadequate defense budget, but probably won't.  Let's wait to be surprised again.  It's so gracious.

August 6, 2023       Permalink

 

 

AUGUST 3-4,  2023

A STEP FORWARD:  Wokism seems everywhere, but the fact is that there are serious movements fighting back, and they are getting results.  From College Fix: 

A newly founded group of alumni dedicated to advancing free speech at its alma mater, UCLA, plans to lobby campus leaders into adopting principles that defend academic freedom and open discourse.

Jerry Mosley, a co-founder of Bruin Alumni in Defense of Free Speech, said the first course of action for the budding organization is to add members and spread the word as to the state of free speech at UCLA, “telling people that this is a problem.”

Eventually he said he hopes the group can convince UCLA to adopt a version of the Chicago Statement, a well-known set of standards in academia that provides a robust defense of free speech.

“Ideas should rise and fall on their merits,” Mosley said, adding the group, which formed in the spring, is “very serious about being non-partisan” and encourages people to stand up for free speech regardless of political views.

Fundamental tenets of the Chicago Statement include the principle that “debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.”

UCLA’s media relations division did not respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment.

The alumni group’s website states: “We are UCLA graduates reaching out to all Bruin alumni who are ready to take a stand against the erosion of free speech, academic freedom, and viewpoint diversity on our nation’s campuses; alumni who are dismayed at shout-down protests and violence against speech deemed offensive, faculty disciplined for pedagogical speech that challenges students’ political or cultural beliefs, and a campus culture that intimidates students into silence on controversial topics.”

The group’s formation comes amid widespread criticism of UCLA from free speech watchdogs for campus leader’s decision not to hire psychologist Yoel Inbar after some students and faculty complained Inbar had questioned the need for diversity statements.

But Mosley said concerns about UCLA’s lack of free speech dates back years....

...As awareness of free speech concerns grow among UCLA alumni, Mosley said he hopes someday free speech training on campus during freshman orientation will be established.
The group has several dozen members so far, he said.

Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, told The College Fix he hopes the group has some success.

“I definitely think it’s desirable – more voices speaking out in favor of free speech on campus is generally better,” he said. “As to how successful they are likely to be, time will tell.”

COMMENT:  The group appeals to professors and students who are mature and possess common sense.  That may not be the majority on most college campuses today.  But the point is that other groups like this are starting up.  It's possible they can repair some of the damage done in colleges by the hard left. 

The fight will be hard.  Snuffing out freedom doesn't begin with colleges themselves, but with the training of their staffs and faculties.  Yet, have you ever seen a single journalistic story about what's taught in teachers' colleges?  Have you read a documented story about the hard-left orientation of faculties? 

The good guys won't get much help.  Their allies will be other students who are fed up with the current suppressed atmosphere.

August 4, 2023       Permalink

 

SPEAKING TRUTH:  It seems impossible to believe that Americans are blind to a growing reality, that we have two nations, one more powerful than the other, and unelected.  Victor Davis Hanson, one of the few historians on our side, comments.  From American Greatness: 

Two sets of laws now operate in an increasingly unrecognizable America.

Consider the matter of unlawfully removing and storing classified papers.

Donald Trump may go to prison for removing contested White House files to his home.

So far Joe Biden seems exempt from just such legal jeopardy.

But as a senator and Vice President with no right, as does a president, to declassify files, Biden removed and, as a private citizen kept for years classified files in unsecure locations.

Biden’s team strangely revealed the unlawful removals after years of silence.

It did so because the Biden administration found itself in the untenable position of prosecuting the former president for “crimes” that the current president committed as well—albeit far earlier and longer.

Impeachable phone calls?

Donald Trump was impeached by a Democratic House for delaying foreign aid until the Ukrainian government guaranteed that Hunter Biden and his family were no longer engaged in corrupt influence peddling in Kyiv.

In addition, the Left charged that Trump was targeting Joe Biden, his possible 2020 rival.

Yet Biden, with impunity, bragged that he had fired a Ukrainian prosecutor looking into his own son’s schemes by promising to cancel outright American foreign aid.

And the Biden administration’s Justice Department is now targeting Trump, currently the frontrunning challenger to Biden in 2024.

Election denialism?

Trump was indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith, in part for supposedly conspiratorially “unlawfully discounting legitimate votes.”

Will Smith then also indict Stacey Abrams? For years Abrams falsely claimed that she was the real governor of Georgia. She toured the country in hopes of “discounting” the state vote count.

Or maybe Smith was referring to the conspiracist and former president Jimmy Carter.

He alleged that Trump in 2016 “lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

Will Smith charge Hillary Clinton?

She serially libeled Trump as an “illegitimate” president.

Clinton hatched the Russian collusion hoax, and bragged she joined the “Resistance” to continue her attacks on an elected president.

Or maybe Smith meant the Hollywood crowd.

COMMENT:  Read the whole thing.  A very compelling argument from an old conservative warrior of the first rank.  We depend on Victor Davis Hanson and his colleagues because the American press has become such a predictable farce.

August 4, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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