It’s possible that in a cultural environment often driven by social media, the drama surrounding Ken Jennings’ decision to cross the picket line and host Jeopardy has been overblown. Does the average Jeopardy viewer really care? Does the average Jeopardy viewer even know that Ken Jennings is crossing the picket line?
Probably. Jeopardy viewers are smarter than the average television viewer, and the faithful have certainly caught wind of this controversy. Not only has the Tournament of Champions been postponed until after the strike, but some former players who have dreamed of returning are being put in a tough position and often giving up that opportunity to support the writers. The Jeopardy clue writers definitely know that Ken Jennings is crossing the picket line, and probably do not feel particularly supportive.
All the same, when a user—referred to as “X” here—called Ken Jennings a “disgrace” for crossing the picket line, while suggesting that Alex Trebek would never do any such thing, instead of simply ignoring the X user with a whopping 54 followers, Jennings decided to respond.
Ken Jennings probably thought, “Checkmate! Gotcha troll!” But Ken Jennings should know better. Jennings did not make himself look better by comparing his actions to that of Alex Trebek in 2007-08; he made Alex Trebek look as bad as Jennings does for crossing the picket line while the other Jeopardy co-host, Mayim Bialik, stands in solidarity with the writers who make Jeopardy possible. It’s a classic case of tearing down others to make himself look better. Jennings let a 54-follower X user get to him.
The difference, at least, is that Trebek probably didn’t have a lot of pressure to sit out the strike. He also did not have a co-host who offered a contrast in the way to do things.
The other irony is that, by the time the episode Ken Jennings is filming airs, the WGA strike will probably be over. It would not have cost him much to wait a few weeks. This decision, which is drawing backlash from even James Holzhauer, only makes Jennings look like a company man.