Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

How the writers strike affects the political races

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Originally published on on Tue, 01/08/2008 – 11:21am

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are back — but without writers, the shows truly aren’t the same. Their returns focused more on the writers strike than the political process.

Then you have the whole Mike Huckabee crossing a picket line and being surprised (Leno), doing a show without a picket line (Letterman), and scheduled to cross another picket line (Colbert) though he may try to technically do the show via satellite.

But liberal guests and politicians who respect the picket line will find themselves without too many places to go. Yes, Letterman and Craig Ferguson have their writers with a side agreement, but there is huge pressure to have all the Screen Actors Guild members who won’t cross the line to do those two shows. And that doesn’t leave much room for politicians or liberal authors.

Several liberal writers have turned down opportunities to do Colbert’s show. Stewart’s two remaining scheduled guests are David Frum and Lou Dobbs, neither being too liberal.

So will the voices who respect the picket line be silenced or not heard as well? The studios and the networks have wanted a long strike from the start, and certainly aren’t sympathetic to this question. Their “status quo” mentality loves not having liberal voices on its airwaves, regardless of the reason.

Since Bill Clinton went on Arsenio Hall’s show to play his saxophone in 1992, late-night talk shows have been a part of the political process. Who could forget Bush’s chickens–t approach and do Letterman via satellite in 2000? He was afraid to do Letterman in person, but even he knew that late-night talk shows were important.

Whomever comes out of the Democratic Party will need a late-night visit or two. And except for Letterman and Ferguson, there isn’t any place to go. Republicans have a much more extensive selection of late-night shows.

Word is that the Writers Guild turned down a chance to do a side deal with The Daily Show. There may be a variety of reasons for this move, and we aren’t privy to the strategy. But it sure would have been nice for Democratic politicians and those who believe in the cause to have two more key places to go.

A spectrum of conservative guests and Republican politicians is what awaits late-night television if the writers strike keeps going.


Written by democracysoup

January 8, 2008 at 11:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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