Trump Wants “Equal Time,” Since Late-Night Hosts Don’t Like Him

Photo: Will Heath/NBC.
In the past two months alone, late-night hosts have called President Trump completely unhinged, a moron, and a lying racist. And the continuous criticism is apparently starting to get to him.
In a pair of Saturday morning tweets, the president suggested he should get equal TV time as Democrats, evoking a now-defunct rule that required broadcasters to cover both sides of controversial issues. The president complained that late-night shows are "always anti-Trump," adding that "more and more people are suggesting that Republicans (and me) should be given Equal Time on T.V. when you look at the one-sided coverage?"
The Equal Time rule requires that broadcast networks give political candidates the same amount of time on air, but it doesn't apply to late-night programs in any way. (And Trump stopped qualifying as a political candidate 11 months ago, despite the fact that he still criticizes his 2016 opponent whenever possible.) The Fairness Doctrine, which would be more applicable, used to mandate that TV and radio stations show opposing views on issues, but the rule was revoked in 1987. In fact, Republicans have been reluctant to reinstate the equal time rule because its removal allowed conservative networks and talk radio shows to gain momentum.
Fox News has consistently held the most viewers of any cable network — until recently, that is. In August, MSNBC ranked No. 1 for the first time in its history, suggesting that the ability to speak to people on only one side of the aisle benefits both conservative and liberal networks.
The same is true for the most liberal late-night programs. Stephen Colbert’s Late Show became the most popular late-night show in February, seemingly pushing other hosts to put a stronger emphasis on politics (along with the unavoidable, chaotic political climate).
Following in Trump's footsteps, Republicans may change their tune on the Fairness Doctrine now that liberal networks are using it to their advantage. But it would mean sacrificing Fox News and other conservative platforms.
In the meantime, late-night hosts aren't going to let up on the president. Jimmy Kimmel responded to Trump's tweet, telling him, "You should quit that boring job - I'll let you have my show all to yourself."
Similarly, Seth Meyers tweeted to Trump: "We'd love to have you! Studio located at 15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica."
It's no surprise the president isn't fond of the influx of anti-Trump monologues, jokes, and skits on late-night shows. After all, this is a man who so badly wants to win popularity contests that he suggested dead voters casting ballots cost him the popular election.
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