President Donald Trump is sick and tired of the “anti-Trump” bend of late-night hosts and he went on a little Twitter rant against them on Saturday morning, claiming many are complaining about their political leanings. He also raised a question: “Should we get Equal Time?”
In case anyone missed the message, he made the same point again in a subsequent tweet, claiming that “more and more people are suggesting that Republicans (and me) should be given Equal Time on T.V.”
Although no one can say for certain, it seems Trump was referring to the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present different points of views on controversial issues. But that rule was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987. And it’s actually something that Republicans like. Variety explains why conservatives cheered the elimination of the rule in 1987:
It may have helped give rise to conservative talk radio, as stations were no longer obligated to cover all sides of a controversial topic. While some groups on the left have called for it to be reinstated over the years, many Republicans have actually warned against any efforts to do so.
The equal-time rule is still in place, but it applies to appearances of political candidates on broadcast outlets, not whether a comedy skit or monologue targets a president or Congress. Moreover, news coverage and interviews are exempt, and over the years, when the issue has come up, that has been ruled to include late-night talk programs.
Late-night hosts didn’t miss a beat and where quick to respond to Trump. Late Night host Seth Meyers wrote back on Twitter: “We'd love to have you! Studio located at 15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica.”
Jimmy Kimmel also had a message for the president, telling him the stage was all his if he wanted to drop the politics racket: “You should quit that boring job—I'll let you have my show ALL to yourself #MAGA.”
Mike DiCenzo, a writer and producer at the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, kindly explained to the president “that’s not how it works” as the rules are different when campaigning. “Now kindly stop tweeting nonsense and go do your job for once,” he wrote.