Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Your Turn: Has Entertainment Gotten Too Politicized?

by Countable | 10.9.17

Mass shootings. The Supreme Court back in session. Trump visiting hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. After a whirlwind week of news, you just want to relax on the weekend. So you sit in your favorite chair, open an IPA, and turn on ESPN.

And there’s Vice President Mike Pence leaving the Colts game after some players knelt during the National Anthem.

Lately, it seems like you can’t escape politics in whatever entertainment you once used for escape. We’re not talking about The Daily Show, or Real Time With Bill Maher, or other series that are known for mocking Washington — all types of entertainment seem to be affected.

Primetime

The October 1 season premiere of The Simpsons ended with the Simpsons holding up the Puerto Rican flag. America’s favorite yellow family looked out at the audience – or maybe a certain president – with miffed looks. Marge holds a sign that says "Unido." Lisa cries. Across the bottom of the screen: @UNICEFUSA, #OneAmericaAppeal @SaveChildren. Hundreds of Springfieldians share the same unhappy look.

While The Simpsons have gone after politicians blue as Marge’s hair to red as Bart’s shirt, this direct, straight-faced indictment was something new.

Late Night

No matter who’s sitting in the Oval Office, late night talk show hosts have always skewered POTUS and politics.

Jimmy Kimmel, however, has used a number of his opening monologues not to roast Washington shenanigans, but to hold them to a non-humorous fire. In May, Kimmel opened his show with this thirteen minute, harrowing story of the discovery of his newborn son’s heart defect and subsequent open-heart surgery. He pleaded for Congress not to repeal Obamacare so that parents could afford to keep their children healthy.

Later, Kimmel would criticize Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), one of the lawmakers behind the most recent GOP health care bill, for lying to his face about what Cassidy called "The Jimmy Kimmel test."

And following the mass shooting in Las Vegas last week, Kimmel delivered an equally impassioned, tearful plea for action on gun control.

Trump has found shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Late Show so politicized that he evoked the "equal-time" rule. The FCC regulation requires that if a TV station gives a certain amount of air time to one candidate (say, an interview), it also has to offer the same opportunity to “other such candidates for that office.”

In a series of tweets this past Saturday, the President wrote:

Sports

Outlets ranging from ESPN to Fox Sports to small-town papers have been dominated by talk of the NFL demonstrations: players taking knees (or not) during the national anthem.

Over a Friday and Saturday in late September, President Trump criticized NFL players who protest during the national anthem. Every team that played on Sunday, ESPN wrote, "participated in some form of demonstration — from players, coaches and executives who stood together arm-in-arm along the sidelines to others who sat, knelt or raised a fist to whole teams that stayed in the locker room or tunnel for the duration of the anthem."

In response, several NASCAR team owners and executives banned protesting. Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting: "It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus."

Regarding Pence’s recent protest of the protesting, Trump tweeted:

Award Shows

"This year’s Emmy’s didn’t even pretend not to be political," an L.A. Times headline read the night after the September ceremony. “You can’t deny that every show was influenced by Donald Trump in some way,” Stephen Colbert, the show’s MC, opened his monologue. “All the late night shows, obviously. ‘House of Cards.’ The new season of ‘American Horror Story’…and of course next year’s Latin Grammys, hosted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”

Later in the evening, Donald Glover became the first black director to win in the comedy category for his show "Atlanta." Following his win in the acting category, Glover said:

"I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s probably the only reason I’m up here."

"It was impossible to divorce politics from the awards on stage," the Times wrote. “Even a reunion of the stars of ‘9 to 5’ turned into a brief red state-blue state situation” when Dolly Parton was “clearly uncomfortable” when co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin criticized Trump.

Broadcast your voice

When it comes to entertainment, the voice – and viewership – of the people is critical. Trump supporters have called for a boycott of "Snowflake" Jimmy Kimmel. Trump himself, understanding the power of the people, called for fans to tune out of NFL games.

What do you think? Are you OK with these political cameos in your entertainment? Or should there be a separation of celebrity and state? Take to the digital airwaves and tell Countable what you think. Then hit the Take Action to tell your reps.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: urfingus / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(465)
  • Jamie
    10/10/2017
    ···

    It's ridiculous. I didn't even vote for Trump, but omgosh, leave the man alone! I have never seen so much negativity toward any politician in television. And don't get me started on the news!

    Like (233)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kofi
    10/10/2017
    ···

    When our president is a reality tv star and acts like it, what do you expect? The guy is a joke. I’m embarrassed to think that so many people voted for him. We’ve elevated people like the Kardashians in pop culture. Trump is a result. Absolutely disgusting.

    Like (187)
    Follow
    Share
  • Claire
    10/10/2017
    ···

    No, entertainment hasn’t become too politicized. We don’t live in a vacuum where creatives/celebrities/athletes and politics don’t mix. Politics affect our everyday lives, and people in the entertainment business are humans with opinions too. History is filled with people who comment on politics, either directly or indirectly, in whatever creative/entertainment medium they favor. It actually heartens me to see public entertainment figures comment on politics because I know they aren’t turning a blind eye to today’s tumultuousness.

    Like (172)
    Follow
    Share
  • Pamela
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I think the bigger question should be “Has politics become too much like entertainment?” Of course I’m talking about the freak reality show which used to be known as the White House.

    Like (147)
    Follow
    Share
  • Walter
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I myself could do without the distorted opinions of millionaire NFL players.

    Like (125)
    Follow
    Share
  • James
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I can't even watch the late night shows any more! Jimmy Kimmel, Fallon, Seth Meyer, and that goof on CBS! It's all politics. They aren't even funny. None of them amount to a pimple on Johnny Carson's rear end! They can replace all of them as far as I'm concerned!

    Like (114)
    Follow
    Share
  • Troy
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Yes. The Hollywood Democrats cry way to much now the Trump is keeping his promises. They are out of touch with fly over America. Turn it off and enjoy life outdoors.

    Like (84)
    Follow
    Share
  • J michael
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Trump is a president flawed unlike any before him. That justifies the scrutiny he has received. The media and entertainment industry needs to keep the heat on Trump because he deserves every bit of scrutiny and negative press he receives. And he brings it on himself with his immature antics and divisiveness. He and his administration is the worst this country has ever had. He should have never been elected in the first place.

    Like (79)
    Follow
    Share
  • Steve
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Until they have run the moron out of office they have not said enough.

    Like (71)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jim2423
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I definitely do not appreciate a movie/tv actors telling me how to think 🤔. I also do not think 🤔 any member of our government should tell us how to think. As far as protesting, that is a right for each one of us to do so, even if it offends someone else. Yes politics is now blown way out of proportion.

    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
  • Alan
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Yes it is called entertainment for reason. If I want to watch the news then I will. Leave your political views to yourself. If you want your voice to be heard on the political side, then try your hardest to get elected.

    Like (56)
    Follow
    Share
  • Brandon
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Entertainment is a form of freedom of speech let people use the platform they have to express that freedom. If we feel that their stuff is offensive maybe you shouldn’t watch it. But let them express their freedom. Ya know one of those things our nation was founded upon.

    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
  • Vanessa
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Ha! Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black, without his reality show, no one would even have cared who the moron was...

    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
  • John
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Of course it has. We all want to remain ignorant living in a fantasy world where we can pretend the world isn’t going down the shitter. Let’s just remove the truth from everywhere.

    Like (38)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sylvia
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I think the world of entertainment should stick to what they get paid for. I’m an educated person completely capable of making up my own mind, on the other hand thanks to those fools we enjoy a lot more family time without the tv on.

    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bill
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I think the real question is “has our politics become to entertainmentized?” I mean the president is a reality TV star!

    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ronald
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I can’t even have a flag or political mug on my desk for fear of upsetting a client. O.K. I get it, i get paid to work and take care of our customers and make them feel comfortable doing business with our company. Should’t that same standard apply to entertainers? Do you job and protest on your own time. Buy an ad on TV, use Facebook, or Twitter. But when you are getting paid, do your jobs. Play football, host your show, and be entertaining not preaching and protesting

    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
  • Sophie
    10/10/2017
    ···

    I personally love the new political themed late night show monologues, and I think they are the only way I can mentally survive the trump administration.

    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
  • Pru
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Politics has become a reality show, late night brings it out. Our president lacks anything presidential, late night makes it bearable.

    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
  • Tiffany
    10/10/2017
    ···

    Done watching cable television for this reason.

    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share