- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2018

Trump-bashing is about to jump the shark. A few well-connected journalists and comedians are beginning to get the message that ceaseless criticism of President Trump is losing its edge. Consider insight from Vice — the hipster media powerhouse — about NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” known for its signature “cold open” sequences that plunge into the action without formal credits. Alec Baldwin in the role of Mr. Trump has been a favorite.

“The jokes are tired references to current events that never build on one another. Instead, they are limply tossed out as obvious applause lines to an anti-Trump crowd,” writes Vice analyst Harry Cheadle, who says that the show’s politics are now “indistinguishable from the Democratic Party’s.”

This is not prudent when ratings are at stake and millions of potential viewers could be alienated.

“Your cold opens are terrible, cringeworthy pieces of self-satisfied liberal propaganda that are sometimes so bad they seem like parodies of themselves,” Mr. Cheadle advises the program. “It’s a toxic example of limousine liberalism, millionaires putting on a self-congratulatory show with jokes cribbed from The New York Times editorial page — come to think of it, it’s exactly the kind of un-self-aware institution that a really good comedy show could grind down to size.”

In addition, unbridled politics and repetitive Trump-bashing appear to be compromising the comedic art itself — and the semi-sacred call of comedians to provide humorous respite and clever food for thought. Not everyone in the media-comedy-industrial complex is intent on bashing the president, his administration and the GOP in general 24/7. There are simply more pressing matter at hand.

In recent days, noted veteran comics Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Schneider and Jerry Seinfeld have set forth their own agendas. Mr. Kimmel and Mr. Schneider now suggest Americans could be weary of the predictable nonstop presidential criticism, while Mr. Seinfeld reveals Mr. Trump is not even a part of his repertoire.

“Jerry Seinfeld isn’t interested in Donald Trump jokes,” writes analyst Scott Whitlock, who is monitoring such trends for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.

“Do you do Trump stuff?” David Letterman asked his fellow comedian when the pair had a revealing conversation that aired on Netflix.

“No, it doesn’t interest me,” replied Mr. Seinfeld.

FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION IT

Sign of the times? Roseanne Barr now leads the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the most popular comedians on social media, based on data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google.

“Barr takes over for Michelle Wolf on the chart,” advises Kevin Rutherford, a correspondent for the industry source.

In second place is Chris D’Elia, followed by D.L. Hughley, Tommy Chong, Kevin Hart, Ricky Gervais, Colleen Ballinger, Mike Epps, Bill Maher and Kathy Griffin in 10th and last place.

REINVENTING STRATEGIC DETERRENCE

Is “peace trough strength” still viable? Uh, yeah. And it’s even got a new dimension to it in an emerging era that includes capable adversaries.

“The risks of actually fighting a major war are more significant than ever — making it even more imperative to deter conflict. Meanwhile, changes in the international security environment have altered the context for deterrence, possibly challenging long-held assumptions and creating new requirements,” notes “Understanding Deterrence,” a new study by Rand Corp. analyst Michael J. Mazarr.

“The most important overarching lesson of this review is that deterrence and dissuasion must be conceived primarily as an effort to shape the thinking of a potential aggressor. Any strategy to prevent aggression must begin with an assessment of the interests, motives, and imperatives of the potential aggressor, including its theory of deterrence (taking into account what it values and why). Deterrence turns out to be about much more than merely threatening a potential adversary: It demands the nuanced shaping of perceptions so that an adversary sees the alternatives to aggression as more attractive than war,” Mr. Mazarr noted.

AND FROM THE DEEP WOODS

Inside the Beltway has heard once again from a source who only goes by “Deep Woods,” lives in the deep woods of far New England and tends to offer succinct comments. (Here’s an acronym translation if needed: “NOKO” is North Korea, “CHICOMS” is Chinese Communists.)

And here’s the message:

“Deep Woods speculation: We noticed that every time we attacked in Syria, NOKO would get nicer and nicer. Then the tariffs were threatened against CHICOMS, and NOKO reacted again. Finally, NOKO nuclear test site collapsed and NOKO wanted to immediately go to the table. What if the test facility didn’t ‘just collapse.’ What if U.S. and CHICOMS, arranged for a ‘collapse?’ Just sayin.’”

SUPREME COURT: THE GREAT DIVIDE

The majority of Americans — 55 percent — now say the Supreme Court should base its rulings on what the Constitution “means in current times,” while 41 percent say rulings should be based on “what it meant as originally written,” says a new Pew Research Center report released Friday.

And the partisan divide: Only 21 percent of conservative Republicans say the highest court should heed the contemporary interpretations of the founding document, compared to 88 percent of Democrats.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of conservative Republicans say the rulings should be based on the Constitution as originally written, compared to just 9 percent of liberal Democrats.

POLL DU JOUR

59 percent of Americans approve of how President Trump is handling the economy.

57 percent approve of how he is dealing with ISIS.

50 percent approve of how Mr. Trump deals with immigration.

36 percent will vote for the Democratic candidate in the midterms, 35 percent for the Republican.

15 percent don’t know who to vote for, 10 percent do not plan to vote, 4 percent will pick a third-party candidate.

Source: A Reuters/IPSOS poll of 1,365 U.S. adults conducted May 4-8.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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