Fallon faces social media backlash after Trump interview

In this image released by NBC, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears with host Jimmy Fallon during a taping of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, in New York. (Andrew Lipovsky/NBC via AP)
In this image released by NBC, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears with host Jimmy Fallon during a taping of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, in New York. (Andrew Lipovsky/NBC via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Some “Tonight Show” viewers weren’t laughing after GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump paid Jimmy Fallon a visit Thursday, and encountered nothing hairier from the NBC host than a head rub.

Noting that “the next time I see you, you could be the President of the United States,” Fallon proposed they do something “that’s just not presidential, really, something that we could do now that we’re both just civilians.”

“I’m not liking the sound of this,” Trump said.

“Can I mess your hair up?” Fallon asked, quickly adding, “I’ll be gentle.”

Fallon was, both with mussing up Trump’s legendary yellow ‘do and with the interview that accompanied it.

Afterward, tweets flew.

“In his defense, Jimmy Fallon just pulled in a 35 share among white supremacists 18-49,” cracked one, while another declared, “Humanizing a xenophobe is not okay.”

Yet another tweet excused Fallon for not drilling his subject as a journalist might, but faulted him “for his willingness to serve as hell’s court jester.”

For some observers, Trump’s devil-may-care guest shot may have seemed particularly jarring on Friday as he commanded blanket TV coverage for his revised verdict, after long denying it, that President Barack Obama was indeed born in the United States.

But years before the current polarizing presidential race, Fallon built his brand as a lovable, powder-puff-wielding host, no matter who his guest, politician or otherwise. No one mistakes Fallon for his slyly subversive CBS counterpart, Stephen Colbert, or Colbert’s caustic predecessor, David Letterman. Fallon’s nice-guy style has helped make him the late-night ratings leader.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a scheduled guest for Monday’s “Tonight Show,” was surely expecting the same kid-gloves treatment accorded to Trump.

Even so, The Huffington Post called Fallon’s handling of Trump “a softball interview even by softball standards.”

A GQ magazine critic called it “embarrassing” and “fawning” — “like watching a dictator be ‘fun’ on state-run TV.”

On Friday, NBC declined to comment on Trump’s “Tonight Show” appearance.

WDTN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s