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The MRC vs. Jimmy Kimmel

The Media Research Center didn't like it when the ABC late-night host cited a health scare with his newborn son to oppose efforts to roll back government health care -- but it approved when Aaron Rodgers maliciously suggested he was a pedophile.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/20/2024

Jimmy Kimmel

The Media Research Center has never liked Jimmy Kimmel. That hate really kicked into overdrive in 2017, when -- following a health scare involving his infant son -- he spoke out against the Graham-Cassidy plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that would have, among other things, made it permissible for states to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions. That caused Nicholas Fondacaro to pen a lengthy tirade attacking the “tirade” he claimed Kimmel made and declaring that Kimmel was “politicizing his son’s medical condition to push for socialized medicine.” He also took Kimmel’s self-deprecation of himself as only an expert on eating pizza and tried to turn it into an insult. 

In the process, Fondacaro selectively edited out much Kimmel said about the Graham-Cassidy plan opening the door to elimination of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and Sen. Bill Cassidy’s promise to him that any health care plan he backs would not do that. 

Fondacaro also stuck to regurgitating Republican talking points about the plan, insisting that the millions who would lose coverage under it would be “primarily driven by people CHOOSING not to purchase healthcare.” Fondacaro went on to rant (boldface his):

In a cry of desperation for socialized medicine, he championed the health care systems of other countries: “It’s unbelievable. Somehow Japan, England, and Canada, and Germany, France, they all figured healthcare out. And don’t say they have terrible healthcare because it’s just not true.”

But the pizza eating expert was 100 percent wrong on what good health care looked like around the world. All one has to do was look at the case of newborn Charlie Gard. Because of healthcare rationing, a British court put him on a long path to death because they didn’t want to waste their resources on him or allow the family to take him to America for treatment.

We’re still waiting to see if Kimmel agrees with that aspect of socialized medicine if that were his son.

Fondacaro didn’t mention that Gard suffered from an extremely rare genetic disease for which there is no known cure; Kimmel’s son suffers from a much less rare heart defect that can be repaired through open-heart surgery.

The clear intent of Fondacaro and the MRC here was to shut up Kimmel before his attacks on Graham-Cassidy gained any traction, but it was soon reduced to whining about the attention it got:

  • Curtis Houck whined that CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who wrote about Kimmel, failed to “fact-check” him. 
  • Fondacaro once again huffed that Kimmel went on an “anti-GOP tirade” and “was willing [sic] politicizing his son’s medical condition.”
  • Curtis Houck wrote a piece with the blaring headline “Ben Shapiro Eviscerates Jimmy Kimmel’s Health Care Tirades; ‘Egregious’ to Exploit His Son,” complaining that Kimmel went on an “emotion-driven push to socialize health care.”
  • When Graham-Cassidy failed after key Republicans failed to support it, Kyle Drennen attacked anyone who credited Kimmel for it.

Finally, Tim Graham whined that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was among those who helped Kimmel respond to Graham-Cassidy: “ABC is being used for Democrat propaganda, and then wonders: why won’t people see us as fair and balanced? Why do people call us ‘fake news’?” Not only does Graham fail to identify anything Kimmel said that was “fake” or “propaganda,” he apparently thinks that a late-night talk show is “news.”

Gabriel Hays tries the conservative equivalent of salivating, embracing an anonymous rumor about Kimmel -- despite the MRC's frequent criticism of anonymous sources as biased and untrustworthy -- in a June 2020 post:

Looks like Jimmy Kryin’ Kimmel is finding out that if you feed the rage mob, it will end up coming for you.

In this time of leftist media-manufactured racial unrest, the Trump-hating host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! has decided to take a summer break from his late night activis– ahem, comedy show. Daily Mail however, speculated that Kimmel’s upcoming hiatus might not be due to fatigue but due to a certain blackface debacle he had earlier in his career. 

With Black Lives Matter trying to destroy anyone and everyone who has been politically incorrect on race at any point in their lives, Kimmel’s history of using blackface to portray famous African Americans during his early 2000s stint on The Man Show means he has probably been compromised.

The outlet reported that the comedian is “facing increasing pressure to follow his fellow comedian Jimmy Fallon and apologize for wearing blackface in skits.” 

Hays should perhaps know better than to cite the notoriously unreliable Daily Mail as a source (and he screwed up further by linking to the article’s comment section instead of the article itself). Indeed, the article cites no sourcing whatsoever for its claim that Kimmel is facing “pressure” from anyone over his long-ago blackface skits, and it quoted Kimmel saying he was merely taking the summer off after 18 years on the job.

Hays’ post was edited after the fact to downplay the fact that the post is not based on facts. The original headline read, “Rumor Has It That Jimmy Kimmel Is Getting Cancelled for ‘Blackface’,” which got changed shortly after posting.

In a post four days later about Kimmel, Hays repeated his never-proven claim that that Kimmel’s upcoming summer “vacation,” as he called it, was actually him taking a break because of Black Lives Matter’s campaign to eradicate anyone and anything with a spotty racial history,” citing only “speculation” on the internet.

In neither of these posts did Hays mention the MRC’s opposition to news stories based on anonymous speculation (when done by the non-conservative media, anyway). But he did once again refer to Kimmel as “Kryin’ Kimmel,” an apparent reference to Kimmel expressing on-air concern that his newborn son needed open-heart surgery to repair a heart defect.

So Hays is actually mocking Kimmel for being concerned about his family. This is the MRC, folks.

Defending Trump from Kimmel

The MRC was essentially the PR agent for the launch of Donald Trump’s Truth Social operation, hyping its purported “free speech” agenda (as long as you don’t make fun of Trump or Devin Nunes) while censoring what an absolute mess the app is. It has little to say about Truth Social since, but Joseph Vazquez felt compelled to speak up in an April 27 post after Jimmy Kimmel told some jokes about both:

The Trump-obsessed comedian Jimmy Kimmel thought he caught the former president in a “got heem” moment last night when trying to make fun of the former president’s Truth Social app. It aged horribly.

A review of the Apple App Store found that Truth Social has taken the No. 1 “Free App” spot, with Twitter down to No. 2. The China-controlled TikTok, another competitor, sits at No. 5.

The development comes just hours before Kimmel claimed Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s landmark purchase of Twitter put Trump in a very tough spot as a competitor in the social media market on the April 26 edition of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Now that he probably won’t be banned from Twitter anymore because Elon owns it, he’s kind of stuck.” Kimmel mocked Truth Social as “such a disaster, he himself hasn’t even posted on it for eleven weeks.” 

Kimmel proceeded to dig himself into a deeper hole. He flailed how Trump’s “dumb new company he conned everybody out of their money for, will become, I guess, the social media equivalent of a RadioShack.” Too bad for Kimmel, the “RadioShack” app is No. 1 for the time being.


The fact that Trump’s app has emerged from a rocky start to contend with a formerly censorship-obsessed platform that dominated the public discourse for many years illustrates the enduring relevance of the free market. Kimmel, however, was concerned with spouting yet another milquetoast rant about Trump that fell flat on its face.

Did it, though? Vazquez didn’t dispute that Trump was not posting on his own platform, and it was not until a few days later that he finally started regularly posting there. A few weeks later, it was revealed that Trump is contractually obligated to make Truth Social his primary social-media outlet, and he can’t repost his musings to other outlets for a minimum of six hours. So even if Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account, it can’t be his primary one.

(That’s also the first time the MRC admitted that Truth Social has a “rocky start,” though Vazquez made sure not to detail how bad it was — which contradicted the MRC’s rosy PR work — and provided only a external link about it.)

Also note that Vazquez only cited the Apple app store as a source for his proof that Truth Social is more popular than Twitter. That’s because there’s no Android app yet, even though more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones run on Android — it seems that “rocky start” is continuing. And Truth Social’s user base remains a tiny fraction of Twitter’s — heck, the total number of Truth Social users is a tiny fraction of the 89 million Twitter followers Trump had before he was removed for helping to incite the Capitol riot.

Vazquez’s touting of Truth Social did not age well. A month after Vazquez's post went live, Truth Social is no longer even in the top 200 of free apps at the Apple app store, while “China-controlled TikTok” is at No. 4 and Twitter is at No. 42. Who’s falling flat on their face now, Joey?

Distracting from Aaron Rodgers' smear

The MRC’s comedy cop, Alex Christy, complained in a Jan. 11 post: “When it comes to Republican battles with Hunter Biden, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel knows which side he’s on. As Hunter showed up at his contempt vote at the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Kimmel claimed that the stunt showed that it was Republicans who ‘were the ones on crack.’” He complained further in a Jan. 12 post:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel is a strange person. The latest evidence being his Thursday monologue where he pondered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s sex life, specifically his supposed lack of skill in that area of his life.

The context for Kimmel’s musings was one overzealous school district’s interpretation of the state’s law against providing sexualized reading material to students, “The Escambia County Public School District in Florida, as part of their state’s ongoing war against reading, is now considering — and this is not a joke — is now considering a ban of the dictionary because it includes a definition of the word ‘sex.’”

The way these things have happened in the past is the school district goes beyond common sense, does their review, and then reinstates books that clearly didn’t need to be reviewed in the first place.

Of course, he refused to accuse right-wing activists of lacking common sense in pushing for books to ban. But Christy was silent about what Kimmel did a couple days earlier: forced football player Aaron Rodgers to walk back a nasty smear of him.

Rodgers had said on a sports talk show that Kimmel is among the people who were “really hoping” that a list of alleged clients of Jeffrey Epstein doesn’t get released — insinuating that Kimmel as a pedophile-leaning sex criminal. Kimmel didn’t take that well, as people falsely accused of being pedophiles are prone to do, so he went on the attack in his Jan. 8 monologue, pointing out that Rodgers likely doesn’t believe that but is probably “mad at me for making fun of his topknot and his lies about being vaccinated” and demanded an apology, adding, “”Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court.” In response, Rodgers refused to actually apologize to Kimmel, but he claimed that “there should be an investigation” of people involved with Epstein and added, “I’m glad that Jimmy is not on the list. I really am.” 

The whole kerfuffle didn’t get mentioned at all by the MRC until days later in Tim Graham’s Jan. 19 column, in which he dismissively claimed that Rodgers merely “mocked” Kimmel, then was angry at Kimmel for fighting back:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel freaked out last week when legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers mocked him on ESPN about new documents coming out in the teenager-sexploiting Jeffrey Epstein case. “A lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, are hoping that doesn’t come out.” Kimmel used his platform to rip Rodgers as an idiot jock who never graduated from college. (It didn’t matter that Kimmel himself quickly washed out of college.)

It was eyebrow-raising when Kimmel argued Rodgers “has a very high opinion of himself. Because he had success on the football field, he believes himself to be an extraordinary being” who thinks “he’s smarter than everyone else.” Look in the mirror? Zero introspection from the national jokester.

Kimmel pompously proclaimed in that lecture, “We say a lot of things on this show — we don’t make up lies. In fact, we have a team of people who work very hard to sift through the facts and reputable sources before I make a joke, and that’s an important distinction.”

Seriously?? Let’s take a brief look at Kimmel’s poisonous oeuvre, just since his “reputable sources” boast:

One example he cited was a picayune complaint about grocery stores:

Kimmel suggested the caucuses were loaded with election-denying white morons: “The same people who are screaming about the Dominion voting machines are digging through a brown paper sack from Stop & Shop to decide who will be president. Then they drop all the names into a popcorn bucket. They find the baldest guy they can to count them aloud.” 

There are no “Stop & Shop” supermarkets in Iowa (it’s New England-based). Hy-Vee is the big supermarket chain in Iowa. Only the lamest chuckleheads make chucklehead claims about their “factual” insults and “research-based” snark. 

Graham also repeated a complaint Christy had made a couple days earlier about Kimmel saying that Congress had “produced more photos of Hunter Biden’s penis than actual legislation.” Christy grumbled in response: “Yes, there have been some X-rated pictures of Hunter Biden shown by members of Congress, but the influence peddling is why he is at the center of their investigation.” Graham merely huffed, “Factual?” while not admitting that members of Congress did, in fact, display pictures of Hunter’s junk for seemingly prurient reasons, while Christy didn’t explain how they were relevant to Republican’s witch hunt against Hunter.

Christy had previously defended a dubious comment made by DeSantis as an alleged joke that shouldn’t be held to factual scrutiny. And Graham was definitely not holding Rodgers to the same factual standard he was imposing on Kimmel. Meanwhile, Rodgers has been a longtime MRC favorite for spreading COVID vaccine conspiracy theories.

Christian Toto -- the movie critic who thinks he's a right-wing pundit -- offered up his own take on the issue in his Jan. 20 column, trying to defend Rodgers by playing Whoopi Goldberg whataboutism:

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers can read a defense, but he recently got caught flat-footed by journalists.

Whoopi Goldberg sings from the far-Left hymnal, so almost anything she says will be accepted or ignored by the very same press.


The difference couldn’t be more striking. It’s also terrible given our divided times, and it fuels our unsustainable, two-tier society.

Rodgers, whose refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine caused an uproar during the pandemic, often defies media narratives. He leaned into that spirit during a Jan. 2 chat on ESPN’s “The Pat McAfee Show.”

The subject? The Jeffrey Epstein files.

Rodgers, whose NFL season ended on Week One after rupturing his left Achilles tendon, referred to the list’s potential release on McAfee’s show.

“A lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, are hoping that doesn’t come out,” Rodgers said.

Stop the presses!

The media went into overdrive, skewering Rodgers for his fact-free suggestion that Kimmel should be personally worried about the contents. Story after story. Outlet after outlet. Kimmel joined the fray, and understandably so, knowing the media machine had his back and he had been personally besmirched.

It shouldn’t be news when someone is accused of being a pedophile (which Toto failed to explain was what Rodgers did to Kimmel)? Toto eventually admitted Rodgers’ critics had a point, while still trying to dismiss the importance of his words as coming from a mere quarterback:

Finally, McAfee vowed to cut ties with Rodgers following the media melee. One comment from a quarterback caused all of the above.

And, ultimately, Rodgers was wrong. He misused his media pulpit although the punishment hardly fit the “crime.” Even if some of his recent statements were more accurate, that initial comment deserved scrutiny.

Then the whataboutism fully kicked in, as Toto examined “what Goldberg has said in recent days, some of which he linked to the MRC’s professional hate-watcher of “The View,” Nicholas Fondacaro. Then he ranted:

It’s unprofessional, uncivilized and, coming from an august platform like ABC with a news division, wildly inappropriate. Plus, it makes the political divide in this country worse.

Except the media heard it all and yawned. No response. No outrage. No fact-checks.


Rodgers endured a week-plus of condemnation. Goldberg gets a pass.

Some conservative media outlets rightly reported on it. They didn’t demand Goldberg be censored for her rant. That’s not the point.

Free speech matters. So does free debate. When a major media figure says what Goldberg did it should be called out, corrected or at the very least addressed.

Not in a two-tier America, which we have at the dawn of 2024.

MAGA-friendly protesters are thrown in jail for modest offenses. Christians get dragged from their homes while their kids watch in horror.

Meanwhile, Toto cited no right-wing media criticism of Rodgers, either for his smear of Kimmel or his anti-vaxxer activism — or that any right-wing outlet holds their own accountable to the same extent that they criticize the likes of Goldberg, who routinely says provocative things that right-wingers routinely get apoplectic over. And Toto is being disingenuous by claiming that censorship is “not the point” of right-wingers’ criticism of Goldberg when he knows full well that his fellow right-wingers would dearly love for Goldberg to be censored in the form of losing her job at “The View.” Of course, if that happens, right-wing outlets would lose a reliable source of clickbait. In other words, right-wing media is being as disingenuous as Toto accuses other media of being — but he won’t call it out because he too is a part of that same right-wing media.

Toto concluded by whining:

The Goldberg vs. Rodgers divide may seem modest by comparison, but the implications are profound. Just imagine 10+ months of Goldberg’s rhetoric on the body politic, and much worse coming from MSNBC and CNN and other far-Left media outlets.

Now, consider an improbable Trump victory on Election Day. What happens next? Do you want to end up in a “camp?” If not, what’s the next logical step?

Those “mostly peaceful” protests circa 2020 may seem quaint by comparison. The media giving Goldberg a pass will play a role in that nightmare scenario.

In fact, the vast majority of protesters in 2020 were, in fact, peaceful. And Trump has made clear his fascist leanings by lionizing violent protesters at the Capitol riot (incited by his discredited rhetoric about election fraud) and has vowed to use the legal system against his critics if elected. It’s also laughable that Toto is calling MSNBC and CNN “far-left” when he would never accuse outlets like Fox News or Breitbart of being “far-right.”

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