I can certainly understand why late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel would feel deeply about health care policy and the Las Vegas shooting. Vegas is his hometown, and his own baby son has a life-threatening medical condition. So viewers tend to cut him a lot of slack, and we should all be praying for his child’s health just as we are for the shooting victims.
But if he’s intent on following Stephen Colbert in turning his comedy show into a nightly one-sided political diatribe, then eventually, the other side will start hitting back with facts. It was unfair for him to attack Republican efforts to replace Obamacare with misleading talking points straight from Chuck Schumer (and does he really think that leaving Obamacare in place will guarantee all Americans affordable, quality health care?) But it was simply unconscionable to attack Sen. Bill Cassidy as a lying, uncaring tool of the insurance industry. Dr. Cassidy has devoted much of his life to trying to provide health care to the poor, including starting and working in a free clinic, co-founding a free vaccination program for kids, and running a free clinic for Hurricane Katrina victims out of an abandoned Kmart. I think he’d earned the benefit of the doubt and the right to a fair hearing to defend his plan.
The deference to Kimmel’s feelings may finally have worn thin following his anti-NRA, pro-gun control “monologue” on Tuesday. Feelings should be respected, especially in times of intense grief, but they shouldn’t be allowed to substitute for facts when crafting public policy, as Daniel Payne at the Federalist makes clear at the link in refuting the many misleading and outright false claims that Kimmel made.
I would hope that Jimmy Kimmel would read this article not as an attack but as necessary information that he obviously isn’t getting from his current sources and as a cautionary tale against abusing your entertainment platform to advocate for government policy. Having spent much of my life in politics, I can tell him that before sticking your neck out, you’d better do your research. And develop a really tough neck.
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