Was Jay Leno Canned by NBC For Criticizing Obama?

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The first mainstream comedian to talk about Benghazi-gate is off the air, despite high ratings

Paul Joseph Watson
February 7, 2014

The day after Jay Leno signed off on 22 years of hosting The Tonight Show, suspicions still abound as to why he was canned despite still being on top of the ratings. Could the fact that Leno was the first mainstream comedian to criticize Obama on sensitive issues such as Benghazi-gate have contributed to him being ejected by NBC?

Whereas virtually every late night comic has made superficial sideswipes at Obama in recent years, Leno took the unusual step of taking a conservative talking point, Benghazi-gate, and incorporating it into his Tonight Show monologue on two separate occasions.

The first example occurred back in October 2012, when Leno quipped, “Don’t ask – don’t tell” is back. Not the gays in the military. It’s President Obama’s new policy for questioning about Libya. Don’t ask – don’t tell. That’s the big story. The Republicans are accusing the White House of successfully engineering a massive cover-up of the Libyan attack. But on the plus side, it’s the first time in four years the Republicans have credit to Obama for doing anything successful.”

Leno returned to the subject two months later in December 2012, when he discussed a CBS News journalist becoming the first reporter, besides one from Fox News, to ask Obama who changed the talking points on Benghazi. Leno “joked” that should a journalist “suddenly start asking real questions,” this would be “very dangerous to the White House.”

It’s widely acknowledged that, unlike several other mainstream talk show hosts, Leno writes his own jokes. Four months after his second Benghazi-gate monologue, it was announced that Leno was being replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

In recent months, Leno has repeatedly ripped on Obama for the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, stating back in November that, “Obama’s better off smoking crack than passing Obamacare.”

Leno even signed off his final show by remarking, “And the worst thing about losing this job is I’m no longer covered by NBC. Now I’ll have to sign up for Obamacare.”

Last August, radio host Michael Savage played a montage of anti-Obama jokes told by Leno which included criticism of the administration being embroiled in numerous scandals including the AP wiretapping controversy, NSA spying, as well as Leno’s call to “close down the IRS.”

The relentless number of stinging anti-Obama jokes told by Leno both before and after the decision to replace him on the Tonight Show was announced obviously go above and beyond anything we’ve heard from the likes of Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon or David Letterman.

Whether Leno was overcompensating in response to criticism that he had asked Obama softball questions when the president appeared on his show in 2011, or if he was genuinely using the huge platform of the Tonight Show to vent his disgust with the administration, it seems clear that the talk show host’s material became more hardcore anti-Obama the nearer it came to his exit from NBC.

NBC’s decision to replace Leno cannot be explained by falling ratings. Leno was still on top of the pile, and his ratings more recently were through the roof. According to the New York Times, Leno’s previous indication that he would continue hosting Tonight until he keeled over fed, “the lingering suspicion that Mr. Leno remained somewhat perturbed with NBC’s latest decision to replace him.”

Leno alluded to being stabbed in the back by NBC when he told a joke about a man with a knife in his back for three years: “He must’ve worked at NBC, too,” quipped Leno.

Could part of NBC’s reasoning for replacing Leno with Jimmy Fallon be explained by pressure from above? Was Leno becoming too harsh in his condemnation of an administration and a presidency that the network has steadfastly supported?

Did Comcast Corporation, which last year bought out General Electric’s 49% stake in NBC and donated over $300,000 dollars to Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, have anything to do with Leno’s exit?

Whether there’s a connection or not, there will be a lot less incisive and witty condemnation of the Obama White House, particularly targeted at liberal audiences, now that Leno is off the air.

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  1. The Illuminati Killed Jay Leno’s Career – Mark Dice

    Katy Perry Performs “Satanic Ritual” at Grammys – Mark Dice

    In 1984, O’Brien, as he is torturing Winston, tells him what the future will be like once Big Brother has wiped out all resistance. “There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston —always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.

    One must hold onto the hope that no matter how far along the Big Brother system is, that there are a large number of educated people who are
    ready to resist it and stand up against it.

    Orwell explained, “If there was hope, it must lie in the proles, because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated…But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious
    of their own strength, would have no need to conspire…If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning.”

    We outnumber the elite Illuminati thousands to one, and if we can awaken our fellow man to see the system that we are all victims of, and if we can lift the veil of ignorance and apathy then we can unite and restore our communities, our country, and the world with the inalienable rights that we have been endowed by our Creator. We know that Big Brother is watching us, so let’s show him what we’re capable of.

    Down with Big Brother!

    The Orwellian Nightmare Come True – Mark Dice

    • Dear Tor,

      “But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it? And yet-!”

      The insight behind Larkin Rose’s “The Tiny Dot” is actually an old one. Etienne de la Boetie and George Orwell, among others.

      The “… And yet-!” part hinges on WHETHER they become conscious of the Myth of Authority.

      • @Bevin,
        To restate your premise:

        I support all manner of disciplines. And admire their disciples. Any flavor of Christianity is OK in my book. Judge each system by its fruits I say.

        I enjoy comedians like Jay Leno and all other schools of performance.
        I admire Jay Leno as a comedian and social philosopher. I am with him to the extent that he is an artisan performing his craft.

        I abhor all manner of regimens. And detest their rulers and ruled. No regiment of Christian Altruists or Christian Supremacists are OK in my book. Reject all such systems by their forms, abort them before they can even be born I say.

        Any who aim to escalate the law of reason to the law of violence is my sworn enemy.

        I despise Jay Leno as a propagandist for the empire and an obfuscator of the truth. I am against him to the extent that he is a psywarrior, apologist, and enabler of the myth of the state.

        Law as ‘Reason’ or as ‘Violence’? Butler Shaffer

        Wizards of Ozymandias – Butler Shaffer

  2. Dear dom,

    “Was Jay Leno Canned by NBC For Criticizing Obama?”


    This kind of persecution of government critics only happens in Communist countries like mainland China, not America!

  3. Off Topic – Why can’t I leave comments on your new post, and why don’t I get notifications for followup comments even when I check the box?

  4. I would not put it past the gov’t. Some of the most petty and vindictive people can be found in gov’t. It is amazing how some people can be so sensitive to being ridiculed.

    I enjoyed watching Jay talk about his cars. Hopefully Jay will still be visible and not fade into the background.

    • Something’s fishy about the whole thing.

      I’m not a big fan of Jay as far as his hosting of The Tonight Show. But the fact is he’s number one, better numbers than Letterman. He’s a big draw for the network; makes them money.

      Who fires their number one guy when he’s not on the way down?

      An analogy would be cancelling Seinfeld after the the fourth season….

      • Hey Eric – this is the first time, well maybe not the first time I have disagreed with you in almost 8 years. I don’t watch TV hardly at all, but what I did, I liked Leno far better than Johnny Carson. Leno was a true funny man and had witty, scathing humor while Carson was just an another ass-kissing, authority worshiping, silent generation goofball who dressed up in silly hats and played slapstick with other period liberals such as James Garner, Carey Grant and the rest of the rotten Hollywood bunch. I know Leno had some of the same kind of stuff on his show, but he always had the best monolog of tv. Leno was a true car fan and loved everything automotive. While he did nothing to help get rid of the speed limits by choice of his cars, you knew where he stood. I will miss the fact that a guy like Leno, becoming more strident in his criticism of modern-day presidents and one who loves the automobile, will no longer be in the limelight. I would reach out to him and see if he could help sponsor this site. lol

        • Hi Henry,

          I won’t fight you on that one. I agree Jay is one of us when it comes to cars – and he certainly did a good job with The Tonight Show by any objective measure. I know next to nothing about his replacement, Jimmy Kimmel. Is he a big Obama guy?

        • BrentP wrote, “it’s about internal politics at NBC. younger audiences, ad demographics,”


          Young people watch TV?

          Young people have disposable income to spend on their advertisers?

          The trend for disposable income in the younger groups is trending… upwards?

          And,… young people are at home when that show is on?

          Seems to me those reasons just do Not add up.

          Not that old people can stay awake until the show comes on…

          But I’m with eric on this one, “An analogy would be cancelling Seinfeld after the the fourth season….”

          Anyway, wouldn’t it be cool if Jay started writing for EPA?

          …Has anyone asked him to?

          • I agree – the “young person” reasoning makes no sense.

            That demographic has suffered most as a result of the economic situation. Unemployment among recent college grads is at an all-time high, easily in the double digits. Many are under-employed; working in low-income service sector jobs (Starbucks, etc.). Most of them have enormous student loan debt hanging over their heads – debt they cannot escape. Their wages are dunned until the loan is paid – and in many cases, that will take 10-plus years.

            The demographic that still has disposable income is the over-40 demographic (and older). Because they accumulated wealth before everything turned to shit.

            I can point to a specific example in my own industry: Look at the typical buyer of a new Camaro or Mustang. He is not 25 years old. It’s more likely he’s 45 years old. Or older.

            And: Letterman is no spring chicken. But he’s not being shoved out – despite his “numbers” being lower than Jay’s. It makes no sense to treat a long-time success story (Leno) so shabbily. The network didn’t even give the guy a “farewell” show. Despicable.

            And I am not a big fan of Leno’s.

            But I hate seeing anyone who doesn’t deserve it screwed over. And he’s been screwed royally.

          • I am talking about a TV show, not buying new cars. Think like a TV executive it all becomes clear.

            They looked at the two demographics and decided the way they wanted to go based on their data.

        • I dunno, Brent.

          The networks care most about ratings – and money (the same things, to a great extent). See my earlier comment in re the young audience thing. The buying power of people in the 18-35 bracket today is – I would put money on it – much lower than the buying power of the people in the 45-60 bracket. I understand that youth is trendy – and the argument is that Jay is “old.”

          But: Letterman is not young; his numbers are nowhere near as good as Leno’s. He’s not in any danger.

          Also: The Conan thing was a disaster. Isn’t Conan “young” and “hip”? Yet “old” Leno came back – and the numbers went up.


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