If David Letterman's interaction with Bill O'Reilly last week was to be examined on its own merits, a left-leaning bias would likely be attributed to the "Late Night" host.
But this, of course, is nothing new, as Hollywood is known for embracing anti-Republican sentiment. But are the late-night host's comedic routines truly motivated by partisanship? In a discussion last night with Regis Philbin, who was filling in for CNN's Piers Morgan, the comedian admitted his perceived bias, but proclaimed his personal independence and denied political motivation.
It was toward the end of Letterman's appearance that the subject of partisan themes popped up. Rather than avoiding the topic entirely, he delved right in, admitting that he has appeared to take sides in the past. But rather than claiming that his jokes poking fun at the right are rooted in personal philosophy, the late-night host said that his routine is more about making fun of the people who serve up the most viable comedic material.
Mediaite has more regarding Letterman's commentary about the political nature of his show:
Letterman freely acknowledged many see him as a politically partisan figure (indeed, Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell recently pondered, “When Did David Letterman Become Such A Liberal Partisan?“) According to Letterman himself, he isn’t. “I have been guilty of appearing to be playing partisan politics,” Letterman said. “However, I’d just like to say, for the record, I am a registered independent.”
“You go where the material takes you,” Letterman added, citing Bill Clinton as an example. No president, he said, got “hammered” the way Clinton did over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And then we got George W. Bush, and “our prayers had been answered” because “he’s just as good, in terms of material.”
In defending his record, the popular host also pointed back to the 2008 campaign, a time during which he claims his team sufficiently poked fun at then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In fairness to Letterman, the U.S. did have a Republican president for eight years, but with the Democrats having such a major role in Congress and -- quite obviously the White House -- one can't help but wonder if, indeed, there is a personal bias. After all, Obama and the left have given just as much material, it would seem, to offer Letterman some truly epic monologues.
While a quick search of the host's past political contributions doesn't show much, there was a $2,500 gift given to Democrat Sen. Al Franken's (Minnesota) campaign back in 2011. However, this may be rooted more in friendship than ideological agreement. Here's a screen shot from the Huffington Post's Fundrace:
In the end, Letterman says he's driven by "who's easier to make fun of." Watch the CNN segment, below: