Jerry Springer, who made a name for himself as the host of The Jerry Springer Show, which controversially aired the civil disputes of average Americans, is calling out the lack of civility in America. According to Mediaite, the former Cincinnati mayor made an appearance on MSNBC, where he told host Stephanie Ruhle that the degradation of societal norms has devastating consequences for the country. Ruhle, however, wasn’t going to let Springer’s comments go without pointing out that she believes his show may have contributed to the erosion of cultural norms.
“Our leaders … when they misbehave, when they say the norms don’t matter when they say you can use whatever language you want, anything you can get away with, get away with it. If you don’t pay taxes, you’re smart. Demeaning other people,” he said. “When they have this behavior, it tells society that we really don’t have any norms anymore. We can’t have that in the leadership of our country.”
Springer appears to have been referencing the Donald Trump administration. Trump himself has drawn criticism for admitting that he hadn’t paid federal taxes for many years, and has frequently used personal attacks to demean and belittle his opponents.
“Once we do away with civility in terms of our institutions, we’ve lost it,” he added.
But Ruhle wasn’t going to let Springer go without commenting on his statement. She asked Springer if he believed that the leaders in the country should set a good example. If that’s the case, she argues, he played a role in cultivating negative behavior. She said that his show often aired people who were getting into physical altercations and verbal arguments.
Springer pushed back, saying that the show’s theme was to reveal dysfunctional behavior, so it made sense that the people who appeared on the show would be dysfunctional. But, he responded, he never said that he condoned the behavior of his guests on the show, pointing to his “final thought” segment, where he closed each show with a monologue featuring advice and commentary on the issues addressed in the episode.
“[N]o one ever suggested, never did I do a final thought, and say ‘this is the way you ought to behave,'” he said.
Springer concluded that his “crazy” television show wasn’t meant to be an example that the government should strive to emulate, adding that he believes norms are a vital part of society and leadership.
Springer no longer hosts the show that made him famous, but he has returned to daytime television with a new show, Judge Jerry.