Fake news is no laughing matter.
It robs us of knowledge, forges false narratives and diminishes trust in journalism.
Sadly, many late-night comedians feast on fake news. They’re not willing to wait for fact checks or other journalistic staples. And they’ve been feasting on it for years, especially stories tied to President Donald Trump.
The comedians in question show no signs of stopping nor any remorse for their actions. They probably can’t wait for the next fake news cycle to commence. Being a late-night propagandist means never having to say you’re sorry.
It’s an unholy alliance. Journalists share wobbly news stories and comedians turn them into partisan punch lines. And, as a result, faulty narratives make their way into the public conscience.
The latest example shows how late-night comics and crooked reporters work hand-in-glove to creative narratives to attack the Right.
Last summer, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate seeking classified documents he allegedly took from his presidential days. News outlets breathlessly suggested the documents included nuclear secrets, the kind of information that could put American security at risk if Trump peddled them to the highest bidder.
The walls, at long last, were closing in on the real estate mogul.
Late night comics simultaneously pounced and seized, brimming with outrage over the incident. “The Late Show” found host Stephen Colbert blasting Trump as committing a “menage a treason.”
How do you explain this to our allies!? “Don’t worry, Prime Minister, your country’s nuclear secrets are perfectly safe, stored at the Mar-a-Lago waffle bar, between the syrup and the Nutella bucket.”
The only people who are allowed to see them are the president of the United States and a few highly cleared members of his council … and anyone who goes into Trump’s closet looking for a broom, I guess.
Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show” fame said Trump would have to flee the country to avoid prosecution over the nuclear details.
I mean, he’s the guy who wanted to build the wall,” he explained, “and now he’s going to need to sneak into Mexico. Karma’s a b****!
Now, we’re learning the documents in question were tied to Trump’s ego, not nuclear details ready to be sold on the open market.
The investigation is ongoing, and the facts may later change, but as of now the breathless reporting (and endless late-night yuks) proved less than accurate.
It’s hardly the biggest example of the late night/fake news connection. Audiences suffered through several years of the Russian collusion story across media headlines. And, at the same time, the late-night comics tore into the narrative.
Monologue after monologue, skit after skit, attacked Trump for treasonously conspiring with Russia to win the 2016 election.
None did so as aggressively as Colbert, who famously called the President Vladimir Putin’s “c*** holster” in one of late night’s most vulgar cracks … ever.
We now know it’s all a fraud, one which the correctly named Deep State had a hand in perpetrating. So where’s the late night mea culpas?
Team Late Night also jumped on Cassidy Hutchinson’s claims that Trump attempted to physically attack a Secret Service driver to swerve the vehicle toward the January 6 protests which later became violent.
The media had a feeding frenzy over the story, and Hutchinson’s testimony spoke to late night TV’s partisan biases.
Once again, comedians didn’t wait for the facts. They wanted the “clapter,” the fawning response from liberals in the studio audience, and they couldn’t be bothered.
The basement-rated Trevor Noah offered fake praise for Trump’s instincts during the alleged fracas.
…fighting your own Secret Service agent is kind of genius on Trump’s part, because he’s hitting the one person who can’t hit back.
Colbert said the story would “make a great season premiere of Kleptocrats in Cars Seizing Power.”
The assembled comics didn’t wait to hear the rest of the story.
Notably, not one but two primary sources refuted her claims. The person who allegedly told her the story denies sharing it, and the Secret Service agent Trump allegedly man-handled offered to testify it never happened.
The matter eventually went away, with news outlets disinterested in following Hutchinson’s narrative.
Even smaller fake news stories get turned into late night wisecracks. In 2019, media outlets suggested President Trump had gutted the Meals on Wheels program, a charitable effort designed to feed those who can’t get food on their own.
The host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” raged against Trump and the decision.
Old people voted for you. Your key demographics were old people and older people. They believed you when you said you cared about them. There’s nothing more low-life than lying to the elderly. You should know that. You’re 70.
Except less than 3% of the program’s funding comes from federal funding. So the media and Meyers grossly misrepresented the facts to smite Trump.
News outlets should go back and update incorrect news stories. The corrections section is a venerable part of journalism, a necessary feature given how even the best reporters can make mistakes.
We’re seeing very little of that happening with the current wave of fake news. Has any major outlet offered a voluminous explanation for the collusion hoax?
And, of course, late-night comics won’t be held responsible for their false narratives.
It’s just a joke, they say. Too bad they’re punching down on the American experiment in the process.
Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.