Love him or not, RUSH LIMBAUGH has been around awhile and makes some good, unbiased points that have little to do with taking sides. In trying to explain away what seems to be an especially hostile election atmosphere, Limbaugh drew a parallel to late night TV… He noted that the new Late Night with Steven Colbert show is having real ratings problems while Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show is doing well. It’s not necessarily that the Fallon show is any better than Colbert – we, personally, never saw any extended humor or quality content in the former – and it has nothing to do do with the actual viewership of the show but, rather, how many tweets and/or likes that are generated. Fallon’s show is set up on short bits, playing right into the hands of the Twitterers and Youtubers.
It’s no wonder we don’t see much in the way of extended interviews anymore. Everything’s a 30-second soundbite with social media carrying it forth. Johnny Carson would never have good ratings today doing what his top-rated show did in the Seventies and Eighties. It’s a different world, notes Limbaugh, and one must adapt if one wants to have a successful show -ratings-wise that is –or win in politics. Fortunately, audiences that are tied into the latest trends, there’s always cable with its 57 +channels and, yes, some good material, albeit not necessarily highly rated. But, again, to be successful, e.g. high ratings, one must follow the new line -whether you like (say, twitter) or not. No longer is quality and content necessarily tied to success. And, when it comes to politics and the Presidential election it’s not longer necessarily who’s really the best qualified but who is best at generating the most ‘soundbites,’ i.e. social media. How else would a neophyte senator like Barrack Obama beat out much more experienced, ‘qualified’ people like Mitt Romney or even Hillary Clinton for the Presidency? How is a businessman with no political experience like Donald Trump continuing to lead the polls despite saying the most outlandish things? Because they know how to get the media attention. Even with ‘high negatives’ someone like Trump can out-poll a seemingly better, more qualified candidate (on paper) like a Rubio or Cruz.
The whole, mean-spirited nature of not only poliltics but culture, in general, probably goes back even before social media, perhaps even to the assassination of President Kennedy, but, no doubt social media has accelerated the angry culture. Polite, upstanding citizens like a Ben Carson, qualified or not, don’t have a chance today. Yes, it’s a different world, politics or otherwise. Like it or not….