- - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Late night television, not traditionally considered a safe-haven for conservative guests, just got quite a bit less inviting.

Monday night, GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” where Mr. Fallon’s house band The Roots sent a rather pointed message with their choice of introductory music: Fishbone’s 1985 song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” The song’s about as flattering as the title would indicate, a bitter tirade directed towards a philandering woman. Even though the song contains no explicitly political message, the title alone leaves little doubt where at least The Roots stand on the subject of Mrs. Bachmann.

The Roots are known for playing entrance music for guests that doubles as commentary, and not always of the positive kind, such as when Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were greeted with “Loser” by Beck. Questlove, the band’s drummer, went so far as to hint to fans about what was coming, tweeting before the show “aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.” His Twitter photo offered another clue to his feelings, as it features a picture of him and President Obama.

The calculated affront to Mrs. Bachmann presents an interesting contrast to a recent incident where Michelle Obama and Jill Biden received a smattering of boos at a NASCAR event. Many in the media took great offense on behalf of the First Lady to the inhospitable greeting, although this case differed in that the event hosts themselves did not turn hostile to the guest.

Republican and right-leaning guests often find themselves under withering fire when compared to their liberal counterparts. Last year on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol was paired up as a guest with comedian and TV star Louis C.K., who had recently spewed an extremely profane stream of invective at the former Alaska governor. Recently, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain was skeptically received on David Letterman’s “Late Night,” where the host scornfully lectured the contender on what it takes to be president.

Guests such as Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Cain have received harsh grilling from Mr. Leno, whereas President Obama faced a withering barrage of fawning compliments. Before The Roots made their opinion of Mrs. Bachmann clear on “Late Night,” comedian Dennis Miller appeared on “Tonight,” where he coined the term “J-Lobama” in reference to Mr. Leno’s sycophantic treatment of the President.

So far, there has been no comment from the Bachmann campaign, though Mr. Fallon tweeted “@questlove is grounded.”

Republican candidates paying a visit to late night television might want to make certain to pre-approve their entrance music from now on. Then again, maybe not. Something tells me being rudely ambushed by Questlove on national TV isn’t exactly going to hurt  Mrs. Bachmann’s standing with Republican primary voters.

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