Did you catch Al Gore on Letterman last week? Boffo performance —
really over the top. The vice president was cool, funny,
self-deprecating and played perfectly off Dave. Mr. Gore should be
absolutely thrilled that Letterman, Oprah and others are providing him
with deft material and a platform where he can shine. Letterman’s
writers gave the veep some devastating one-liners that scorched George
W. Bush about his scatological comment.
Media bias? Sure. But it’s not an institutional bias against Dubya
— it’s Dave Letterman’s personal bias because Al Gore is much more
accessible to Dave than the governor is and therein lies the story.
Most of us in television have enormous egos, myself included. We do
not like to be rejected or spoken down to. I have gotten kind of used
to it over the years because
Factor” no-spin zone is a place where fools fear to tread. But David Letterman is not used to being turned down and is quite annoyed that George W. Bush is reluctant to come on his program.
Thus Letterman is going to be harder on the governor in his monologue and give Gore all the help he needs in the interview chair. Earlier this year, Mr. Bush did do a remote on the Letterman program but it was a disaster because of an audio problem. So the governor is now wary.
The question is, should Dave Letterman swallow his annoyance and try to treat both men fairly? In a perfect world he should. But I sympathize with Letterman here. As I mentioned in
last week’s WND
column, Gore’s people have been awful to me, and I don’t like it one bit. But because I’m in the news business — I still try to keep an open mind regarding the vice president.
But Letterman is in the entertainment business, an industry that invented the grudge. Dave doesn’t like being dissed, and he has the power to strike back.
So there is plenty of personal bias in the media and it is based on how people treat each other. If I were Governor Bush, I’d do the Letterman program anytime he asked me. I know the governor slightly, and I believe he could charm Dave.
A much more serious example of media bias concerns Los Angeles talk show host Larry Elder. He has an interesting new book out called “The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America.” Mr. Elder delivers solid ratings at KABC radio and his book is provocative and selling well. Yet the network morning programs have not booked him, and where the heck is Oprah?
Larry Elder is a black man who came up through the American system and made it. He is articulate, photogenic and smart. He should be a natural for network TV news that can’t get to the likes of Al Sharpton fast enough. But the elite media is rejecting Larry Elder.
This is the most blatant example of media bias I have ever seen because it includes both race and politics. Since Mr. Elder is a black conservative, he offends some of the white guys who have pigeon holed blacks in this country as liberals. If a black commentator does not sound like Jesse Jackson there must be something wrong — right? The guy must be a sell-out or something.
This is terrible. Larry Elder should be on every network talk program in America. There is absolutely no excuse why this man’s voice should not be heard. He is not a hater or a screamer. He simply has a different point of view than most media blacks. Why shouldn’t all spectrum of opinion be heard from the African-American community? That’s the first question I’d ask any network producer who turned Elder down.
This Elder situation bothers me. He was a great guest on my program and there is simply no reason on earth for the elite media to be ignoring him. The sad truth is that most network TV programs are now dictatorships run by a single individual who calls the shots on a daily basis. If that individual doesn’t like someone’s point of view — that someone will most likely never get airtime. With so many new TV outlets available now, Larry Elder cannot be completely shut out, but the situation must be very frustrating for him.
As an American who respects all well thought out points of view, media czars who act as political censors on their programs personally offend me. I understand the annoyance of David Letterman regarding Governor Bush because that is based on a personal rejection. But it is unfair and downright un-American for media elitists to cherry pick guests based on their own politics and ideology. Those people are doing their country and their corporations a disservice. They should be driven out of the media temple and scorned by all.