Opinion Column, The Fix, The Washington Post
By S. Robert Lichter, Stephen J. Farnsworth and Deanne Canieso
Republican presidential candidates frequently complain about reporters, but they routinely face even greater ridicule by a wing of the media that makes no pretense to being fair and balanced — television’s late-night humorists. Front-runner Donald Trump was recently the target of a harsh, unprecedented 22-minute monologue by HBO’s John Oliver, who uncovered Trump’s ancestral name and urged viewers to “Make Donald Drumpf Again.” The segment has been viewed about 20 million times on YouTube.
Candidates frequently try to neutralize the mocking by appearing on these late-night entertainment shows to demonstrate to viewers that they can take a joke and even be in on one. But it doesn’t always work for Republicans, such as when Ted Cruz endured a hostile interview and audience booing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Even the blustery, confident Trump was unusually circumspect when he appeared face to face with Colbert, who has joked that Trump does poorly with evangelical Christian voters because he looks too much like a golden calf.