Jimmy Kimmel touched American hearts on Monday night when he revealed his newborn son, Billy, had undergone open-heart surgery,

He also may have damaged the Republicans’ already shaky efforts to revive the House’s health-care reform.

The late-night host’s opening monologue, discussing his baby’s surgery and decrying President Trump’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (“If your baby is going to die, … it should not matter how much money you make”), received universal attention.

Mike Allen, in his daily Axios newsletter Wednesday, wrote about the Kimmel effect, calling it “an eye-opening case study of the stunning velocity of the new media ecosystem.”

Allen got Sara Fischer, Axios’ media-trends reporter, to break down how Kimmel, who typically reaches roughly 2 million people per night on his show, resonated with the American public.


On Facebook, Kimmel’s monologue clip received over 14 million views and 230,000 reactions in less than 24 hours. His posts typically don’t receive more than 1 million views.
On Instagram, the video post of his monologue received 122,968 views and 20,022 likes. That’s about double his average Instagram post engagement.
His tweet of the video received over 26,000 retweets and 79,000 likes. His tweets don’t typically earn more than a couple hundred retweets.


Interest in “Jimmy Kimmel” on Google Search rose rapidly through the morning and spiked at midday, along with searches for “cardiac surgery” and “open-heart surgery.”

Weighing in:

Both President Obama and Hillary Clinton tweeted their support, as well as numerous celebrities.
On Capitol Hill, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), cited the speech on the House floor. Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), now a syndicated radio talk-show host, was ripped online after he tweeted: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.”