President Donald Trump (left) and talk show host Ellen Degeneres. (Reuters)
By now I am sure you have heard the absolutely heartbreaking news that Donald Trump will not be invited on Ellen DeGeneres’ show. And I’m sure that upon hearing this devastating news, Trump probably drank a ton of bourbon and cried himself to sleep. You may have, as well. I know I did.
OK, maybe not so much.
There are several reasons why I am even bothering to talk about this, as normally I would have rolled my eyes and moved on when the article came across my search this evening.
First of all, have you seen her show? What small percentage of her show isn’t dedicated to herself, she spends interviewing special guests… who she doesn’t allow to speak. Basically, she invites them there to listen to her talk. She’ll ask a question and answer it for them. They really just have to sit there and smile, and possibly survive whatever pranks she decides to pull on them. I used to catch her show once in a while years ago, because my mother had been an avid watcher of the show. Until, that is, she had Queen Latifa on. My mother loves Queen Latifa. I forget why she was on, it may have been around the time they released the version of Chicago that she was in. But my mother waited anxiously to see the interview. Finally, Queen Latifa came out and sat for the interview. My mother was devastated that she got about two words out. The rest of it was Ellen talking at her, and then suddenly the interview was over. My mother has never watched the show again. Thank God.
Second, what would happen if a talk show host said this about Obama? It’s sort of the same with Colbert’s vulgar comments about Trump a few days. I’m inclined to defend his right to say it, and I’m inclined to defend Ellen’s right to invite whoever the hell she wants on her show. But replace Trump with Obama in either situation, and what do you think would have happened? Colbert would have been fired immediately. His career would be over and we’d be hearing screeching for years. And if Ellen had made a stink about not bringing Obama onto her show because they don’t share the same values? Her show would have been cancelled. Over. So I have a hard time defending either of them when I know damn well that turn around isn’t fair play. The outrage isn’t consistent.
Third, differing values and opinions make great TV. Who the hell actually wants to watch two people having a conversation where they completely agree on everything and nod like bobbleheads at each other for ten minutes? What a boring show that is! I want to watch people have a mature – MATURE – conversation about their differing opinions and beliefs and stances. Pit the two sides against each other and talk it out. That makes for interesting TV. That brings everyone in. That forces people to think. It’s one of the reasons I like The Rubin Report. He regularly has conversations with people he doesn’t agree with, but the conversations contain no screaming, name calling, accusations, etc. It’s a conversation, and it draws people in from both sides, makes you think, and gives you a chance to consider both sides.
But that isn’t what people like Ellen want. They don’t want you to think. They don’t want you to hear both sides. They want you to believe what they tell you to believe, and nothing else. This is what is so wrong with our entire mainstream – and some non-mainstream – media. This is how it is, this is how you should think and feel, nothing else will be tolerated and may most likely be mocked.
So good. Don’t have Trump on. You wouldn’t let him speak anyway. And your show belongs in the sideshow tent of the circus, because the only thing it offers is a lot of cringe.