A comedian leads the health care debate because somebody has to

Jimmy Kimmel was back last night with round three of his fight against the Republican effort to strip health care from many Americans.

Kimmel has filled the vacuum caused by the under-the-radar Republican effort to push the health insurance repeal bill, enabled by a national media that seems bored with the story now that it’s already covered two other failed maneuvers this summer.

That fact is confirmed by this one: The bill’s supporters aren’t taking on the media and its informed and engaged journalists. They’re not taking on the in-the-game politicians in the Senate. They’re focused, instead, on a comedian who does a late-night talk show that few people stay up late to watch.

Here’s his latest:

Kimmel’s detractors have suggested he stick to TV and comedy, accusing him of politicizing his newborn son’s illness, which is what sent him down the path of defending health care in the first place.

“I want you to know,” he said on Tuesday night, “that I am politicizing my son’s health problems, because I have to.”

Last evening, Kimmel brought Sen. Al Franken on his show and between the two of them, a couple of comedians provided the sober analysis of what politicians are doing.

Late night comedians have led the national dialogue on political issues before. But this is different, Vox says:

Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee launch weaponized jokes from a baseline of anger; John Oliver sputters panicked warnings; Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah impart the gravity of their words with grim deadpans. Kimmel may very well feel angry, panicked, and grim, especially in the face of Republicans’ ongoing attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. More than anything, though, the main emotion he conveys while tearing into political hypocrisy is complete and utter frustration. Like he said: He doesn’t want to be talking about this at all.

But somebody has to.

Should the bill pass, which now seems somewhat likely, its impact will be the story of the decade.

If Kimmel is making exposing a secretive, cynical, and dishonest health care repeal process part of his job, it’s only because too many of the nation’s journalists aren’t making it part of theirs.