Seth Meyers is a comedy writer and performer, and his job, on the show following the Tonight Show, is to be funny, not to use the program as a platform for his political views. His predecessor twice-removed, David Letterman, increasingly ignored that line as time went on and he moved to CBS. This stratified his audience, and abused his role, but massaged Letterman’s massive ego. (Meyers’ immediate predecessor, current Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, may not always be funny, but he knows his place.) Meyers is relatively new to the job, and this week went much, much farther than Letterman ever went, while being supremely smug about it. Here were his hilarious comments last night:
MEYERS: So there were some incendiary and counterproductive responses to the tragedy in Dallas, but there were perhaps no worse response than that of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who complained, in perhaps the most galling and offensive way possible, that those peacefully protesting for police reform should shift their focus.
RUDY GIULIANI (on video): If I were a black father and I was concerned of my child, really concerned about it, and not in a politically activist sense, I would say, “be very respectful of the police. most of them are good. some can be very bad. and just be very careful.” I’d also say, ‘Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them, because son, there’s a 99% chance they’re going to kill you, not the police.’
MEYERS: Okay, first of all, don’t ever start a sentence with the phrase, “if I were a black father.” If you are black father, you don’t need to say it. And if you’re not, you should probably just shut the fuck up. And if Giuliani’s willing to say that some police can be very bad, you would think he’d see the value in the Black Lives Matter protests. But instead, he condemned them.
1. Meyers should not be hijacking a comedy show for his own political statements involving no satire or humor whatsoever. That is not his job, that is not what the show is for, and that is not his talent. This is an abuse of his position, no matter how much his audience members clap their seal flippers.
2. Rudy’s advice to black fathers is completely reasonable and potentially life-saving, and Meyers’ implication that only a black man can offer it is liberal racism at its dumbest. Giuliani had an entire police department report to him. He has experience and authority on the issue, whereas Meyers has none. He has been a performer and nothing but a performer since he was in college. He has no standing to tell Giuliani, who is a a lawyer, a former (tough) prosecutor and was a very successful mayor of New York City, to “shut the fuck up” about any aspect of public policy.
3. Black Lives Matters protests have included violent, anti-police rhetoric from the beginning. It is a racist organization; that is a matter of record. Here is its current description of itself:
#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes….Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.
4. Black Lives Matter protests aim to short-circuit the justice system by encouraging automatic indictments of any police that are involved in the death of black individual, regardless of the circumstances. To do this, they warp public opinion by spreading false narratives like “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!, intimidate public officials and law enforcement authorities, resulting in unethical prosecutions as we have seen in Baltimore, in the Freddie Gray fiasco.
5. Rudy is often intemperate in his rhetoric: I would say that “terrorists” is not yet a fair characterization of Black Lives Matter. Still, his comments were appropriate to his experience and societal role. Myers’ comments were not appropriate to his.
If I were your father, Seth, I’d tell you to just keep it funny, and you can get away with saying all sorts of dumb and irresponsible things.
Pointer: Other Bill
Source: Real Clear Politics