The Dearth Of Mockery: Bring Back Jon Stewart And The Old Stephen Colbert

As this election cycle careens wildly on a collision course with destiny, the measurable supply of sanity seems to get smaller by the day. The prospect of Donald Trump, a reality TV game show host, becoming the nominee of the Republican Party on the strength of his hate-speech and prideful ignorance is becoming ever more likely. At the same time, the media charged with holding candidates accountable to at least minimum standards of honesty and transparency is almost entirely absent. In the past there was a release valve available to let off steam as the politicians and the press drifted off into a vegetative state. That valve took the form of a healthy, cathartic supply of political satire by smart and talented observers who often did a better job of informing the public than the news professionals did.

Stephen Colbert & Trump Baby

Addressing this drought of comic relief, Jim Rutenburg of the New York Times wrote that Stephen Colbert and his production team have been meeting to shore up what has been a rocky first season of late night entertainment. He correctly observed that “If ever there was an election cycle that called for the sharp satirical analysis that Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert once provided on a nightly basis, it is this one,” and that they “are badly missed in the face of all the Trumpmania.”

As evidence of that vacuum, Rutenburg cited my article (thanks Jim) from last March: “Calling Jon Stewart: America Needs You Now More Than Ever.” The points made then are still relevant and deserving of reconsideration. To that end I am re-posting the article in its entirety below. It’s encouraging to see a mainstream news entity like the New York Times recognize that America is suffering a deficiency of rebellious ridicule, but unless the media steps up to restore its commitment to constructive mockery, miscreants like Donald Trump will thrive and prosper. Therefore…


Calling Jon Stewart: America Needs You Now More Than Ever.

Originally published March 9, 2016

When Jon Stewart left the Daily Show (TDS) he left a hole that is much bigger than his diminutive frame. TDS was a unique brand of entertainment that delivered more than humor. It was a daily session of cathartic therapy that provided a safe place to scream at the world through a video surrogate. It was a mocking rebuke of the madness that has infected contemporary politics and culture. It was an assault on the media from a rebel force that they couldn’t control.

Jon Stewart NBC News

TDS became so respected as a source for news that it was commonly included in polling to rate news providers despite being on a comedy network. And it generally rated quite well and higher than many of the allegedly serious news networks. That fact drove the media elitists wild with jealousy as they sought to ridicule the viewers as slackers (Bill O’Reilly added “stoned”), even though studies showed that the TDS audience was also better educated and informed than mainstream news viewers (including O’Reilly’s). Long-time TDS correspondent Stephen Colbert addressed this criticism saying that TDS viewers had to be knowledgeable about the news or they wouldn’t get the jokes.

With one of the most bizarre elections in history currently in progress, there is more material than ever for fierce mockery. The Trump candidacy is a Chinese joke factory – you know the kind that churns out gag-rich laughables 24/7 that sound like they were made by children. The cliche that “the jokes writes themselves” has been trotted out to describe the atmosphere, but talented professionals will still do a better job of it. And Trump isn’t the only source for freestyle farcicals in this election cycle. Ted Cruz is the first competitive presidential candidate to hail from the messianic wing of the Republican Party. And the opportunities missed by the now-defunct campaigns of Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, etc., can never be regained. The Democrats aren’t immune from mockery either, but I’ll leave that to all of the conservative comedians (oh wait, we still haven’t found any those, although Fox News is trying to desperately).

However, since Stewart stepped down from the fake anchor’s desk there has been an aching absence of the purgative satire that he mastered. His hand-picked successor at TDS, Trevor Noah, is an able comedian, but lacks the everyman relatability that endeared Stewart to his viewers. Larry Wilmore, who inherited the time slot of the Colbert Report, has been improving lately, but still falls short of his predecessors. And speaking of Colbert, his new role as himself on CBS’s Late Night doesn’t have the punch that his character did on Comedy Central. It doesn’t help that he is required to host celebrities and other product pluggers for most of the program.

There are some bright spots in the satire field. Most notable is John Oliver’s brilliant and hilarious long-form comedy on his HBO program. Seth Myers has transferred his SNL Weekend Update anchor routine pretty well to his Late Late Show’s “A Closer Look” segment. And former TDS correspondent Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” has gotten off to a promising start. But Oliver and Bee are only offering one show a week, which hardly fills the void.

What everyone seems to be missing is the fact that Stewart was not doing political satire. He was doing media satire. His targets were predominantly news outlets and the people that represent them. While politicians weren’t shy about publicly embarrassing themselves on a regular basis, it was more often the way that they were covered by the press that attracted Stewart’s attention. And Fox News, the most flagrantly dishonest purveyor of propaganda, was a frequent and well-deserved target. While some comics do go after Fox from time to time, nowhere is there the kind of relentless ridicule that Stewart unleashed on a regular basis. His consistent and high quality humor launched a popular meme proudly declaring that “I get my news from Comedy Central and my comedy from Fox News.”

Satire is a centuries-old form of communication that, at its best, is not only funny, but enlightening. And in the heat of this electoral season, where the front-runner of one of the major political parties is endorsed by the KKK and isn’t bothered by comparisons to Adolf Hitler, satire is an indispensable component to dealing with the insanity that appears to have taken over the GOP and much of right-wing America. The news pundits that provide the so-called informed commentary on current events are too insipidly timid to be useful. Even worse, they are too often oblivious to the truths that a good humorist can make so apparent.

That’s why we need Jon Stewart to return to the public discourse in some fashion. He can’t resume his post at TDS, but he could provide a daily commentary segment on the Rachel Maddow Show, or Colbert’s Late Night, or even NBC News. His insights would give relief to the millions of Americans who are being tortured by a media culture that is functionally blind. He would present a perspective that is altogether missing from the news, and now even from television comedy.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It would be a major coup for whatever program or network was smart enough to reel Stewart in. And considering that there was once a ludicrous attempt to hire Stewart to host Meet the Press, this proposal makes much more sense and is actually plausible. C’mon, Jon – we need you. We need you continue to remind us that “Bullshit is everywhere […] and the best defense against bullshit is vigilance.”

Birther Bombshell: Donald Trump Was Born In Scotland And Is Ineligible To Be President

For most of the presidency of Barack Obama a contingent of fringe dwellers have challenged his legitimacy to serve due to wholly unfounded accusations that he was not born in the United States. One of the most prominent and vocal of those critics was Donald Trump, who joined the nut cases demanding Obama’s birth certificate and then refused to concede that it was real when it was provided.

Donald Trump Birth Scotland

Trump was so obsessed with Obama’s birth status that he allegedly sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to get the goods on the phony president and proclaimed that the world “will be amazed” at what they found. Unfortunately, Trump has never disclosed the results of that investigation and has since refused to even talk about it. Amazing.

Not satisfied to stir citizenship controversies for just President Obama, Trump also raised concerns about the birth status of both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. He even threatened to sue Cruz in a tweet saying that “If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen.”

This backstory makes the news that Trump’s questionable birth status could sink his own presidential ambitions even more significant. Records have been unearthed from a Scottish hospital that appear to document the birth of a baby boy to Mary Anne MacLeod, Trump’s mother, on June 14, 1946, the date of Trump’s birth. Anonymous sources from the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Scotland claim to have the evidence of the birth and are preparing to make it available to the media.

Concurrent with those allegations is a story being researched for book by William MacDougal, an academic from Springfield E.S. with close ties to the MacLeod family. MacDougal conducted interviews with family members, including Mary Anne’s nephew Duncan MacLeod, who confirms that she had returned to Scotland in the Spring of 1946 after a falling out with Trump’s father Fred. It was there that she discovered that she was pregnant and later gave birth at the Western Isles facility. A Dr. Montgomery Scott was listed on the birth certificate as the attending physician. Dr. Scott’s former colleagues, however, refused to comment with one angrily dismissing reporter’s inquiries saying “I’m not the doctor, damn it.”

Upon hearing of the birth of his son, Fred Trump demanded that Mary Anne return to the United States and threatened to use his connections to revoke her citizenship status if she did not comply. Fearing that she might never again see her previous children with Fred, she bundled up little Donald and returned to the Trump family home in Brooklyn where the birth records of Donald were redrawn to indicate a New York delivery.

As this story unfolds it will be interesting to see how Trump responds to allegations that he suffers from the very same citizenship irregularities that he has directed at Obama and others. Will he submit to requests for his long form birth certificate? Will his followers continue to support him? Will there be legal complaints filed?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Since it is only April 1st, it is still too soon to have authoritative answers to these questions. But as the election proceeds, Trump will encounter increasingly stiff criticism and demands for clarification. Although, he continues to refuse to provide the tax returns that he once promised to make public, so his obstinate nature may prevail as he stubbornly declines to cooperate and simply insults his critics and attempts to change the subject.

And speaking of bombshell announcements…

Judge? Not! Sarah Palin Announces Her Next Pathetic Media Failure

Apparently the election season gods didn’t think there was enough comedy in this year’s political news. So they are providing us with a new object of ridicule that is really just a warmed over version of an old one.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin has reportedly signed a deal to appear as a reality TV show judge in the mold of Judge Judy (with an emphasis on mold). At this point the show is just a proposal that has not even produced a pilot. If/when a pilot is available it will be shopped to independent television stations in the hopes of getting enough takers to make going into production financially viable. That may be a difficult task.

The potential market for a new Palin vehicle already knows that her previous forays in television have ended poorly. She was not able to keep her first series, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on the air. Nor was she able to draw sufficient ratings to sustain her second attempt, “Amazing America With Sarah Palin.” She also suffered a total collapse with her subscription Internet video venture that didn’t even last one year. And, of course, she was jettisoned by Fox News who couldn’t justify paying an incoherent has-been to shoot off her mouth for a few minutes a day.

Now some enterprising producer thinks he can package Palin to star in a pseudo-legal reality show. This despite the fact that Palin is neither a lawyer, nor a judge, nor adept at anything associated with mediation, or for that matter, entertainment. What a great idea.

The only reason that seems plausible for this project to exist would be to prepare Palin for a future role in the administration of Donald Trump, should America be unlucky enough for that nightmare to manifest. Trump could then nominate Palin for a seat on the Supreme Court and cite her judicial experience in the realm of syndicated TV. She would be almost as qualified as the rest of the bozos that would infest a Trump administration.

Maybe Palin thinks that as a television judge she would have special powers to achieve her own personal goals. For instance, she could rule death panels unconstitutional and strike down ObamaCare. Or she could issue subpoenas for Hillary Clinton’s top-secret Benghazi confession. Or she might just keep things close to home and pardon her son for having beaten his girlfriend and brandishing an AR-15 while drunk. The options are endless for a season of legal buffoonery. Too bad the chance of this ever getting off the ground is about equal to the chance of Palin being named the GOP nominee for president at the upcoming Republican convention. Hmm. Maybe I should give them any ideas.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Watch Seth Meyers Hilariously Skewer The GOP’s Voter Suppression Campaign

Seth Meyers is proving to be one of the smartest and funniest of the late-night, political comedians. He has taken his mock-news anchor persona from Saturday Night Live and made it a central feature of his NBC Late, Late Show. And last night’s outing is one of the best examples of why it’s working so well.

Seth Meyers

Meyers “A Closer Look” segment took on the subject of voter ID (video below) with the opening premise that “Voting levels in the U.S. are already among the lowest in the industrialized world,” with slightly more than half of eligible Americans participating in the democratic process. That compares to some other democracies like Sweden where the participation rate is over eighty percent.

The problem, as Meyers sees it, is that rather than trying to improve things many states are passing laws that make it “harder, not easier” to vote. It is not coincidental that those states are run by Republican governors and/or legislatures that have clear partisan agendas. And the impact of these laws can result in the difference “between President Hillary Clinton and glorious beloved leader, Donald Trump, all praise to him and his magnificent hands.”

The segment spelled out how these laws specifically make it harder for low-income residents and people of color to obtain the newly required photo IDs. He cited as an example a 94 year old North Carolina woman who was put through an absurd obstacle course that included ten trips to the DMV and over 200 miles of commuting. All of this to allegedly prevent a suspicious nonagenarian from scamming a North Carolinian whistle-stop out of a single vote.

Meyers correctly observes that the only fraud associated with the anti-voting laws is the purported reason for their existence. The law’s defenders say they are trying to stop voter impersonation – a crime that nobody is committing. Enacting laws to prohibit crimes that aren’t occurring is, as Meyers said, like saying “We’re not sure you’re gonna be on The Batchelor, but you should start taking Valtrex anyway.” Had the law been in effect since 2000 it would have prevented thirty-one possibly improper voters out of more than two billion cast. However, at the same time, it would have kept hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters from casting ballots.

In one particularly egregious example of voter disenfranchisement, Meyers cited an Alabama law that resulted in the closure of DMV offices in mostly rural counties. The secretary of state promised that he would offset that loss of access by dispatching a mobile unit to provide IDs and register the estimated 250,000 voters that didn’t have the IDs made necessary by the new law. He said that the mobile unit would be sent to festivals, schools, churches, and even Walmarts. But when asked how many IDs the unit issued last year he answered, “only twenty-nine.” Out of 250,000. To which Meyers quipped that the unit must actually have been sent to empty lots, swamps, abandoned mineshafts, and Radio Shacks.

The issue of voter suppression is one that is too often ignored by the so-called liberal media. But it is one of the most harmful initiatives being carried out by conservative politicians with the support of right-wing media. Fox News, of course, is leading the way in promoting the false narrative of imaginary voter fraud. For instance, Bill O’Reilly has been fear mongering for years that lax rules for registration are threatening to let “illegal aliens” take over the country. It’s a lie that he and others at Fox are continuing to push on their dimwitted cult of viewers.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Calling Jon Stewart: America Needs You Now More Than Ever

When Jon Stewart left the Daily Show (TDS) he left a hole that is much bigger than his diminutive frame. TDS was a unique brand of entertainment that delivered more than humor. It was a daily session of cathartic therapy that provided a safe place to scream at the world through a video surrogate. It was a mocking rebuke of the madness that has infected contemporary politics and culture. It was an assault on the media from a rebel force that they couldn’t control.

Jon Stewart NBC News

TDS became so respected as a source for news that it was commonly included in polling to rate news providers despite being on a comedy network. And it generally rated quite well and higher than many of the allegedly serious news networks. That fact drove the media elitists wild with jealousy as they sought to ridicule the viewers as slackers (Bill O’Reilly added “stoned”), even though studies showed that the TDS audience was also better educated and informed than mainstream news viewers (including O’Reilly’s). Long-time TDS correspondent Stephen Colbert addressed this criticism saying that TDS viewers had to be knowledgeable about the news or they wouldn’t get the jokes.

With one of the most bizarre elections in history currently in progress, there is more material than ever for fierce mockery. The Trump candidacy is a Chinese joke factory – you know the kind that churns out gag-rich laughables 24/7 that sound like they were made by children. The cliche that “the jokes writes themselves” has been trotted out to describe the atmosphere, but talented professionals will still do a better job of it. And Trump isn’t the only source for freestyle farcicals in this election cycle. Ted Cruz is the first competitive presidential candidate to hail from the messianic wing of the Republican Party. And the opportunities missed by the now-defunct campaigns of Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, etc., can never be regained. The Democrats aren’t immune from mockery either, but I’ll leave that to all of the conservative comedians (oh wait, we still haven’t found any those, although Fox News is trying to desperately).

However, since Stewart stepped down from the fake anchor’s desk there has been an aching absence of the purgative satire that he mastered. His hand-picked successor at TDS, Trevor Noah, is an able comedian, but lacks the everyman relatability that endeared Stewart to his viewers. Larry Wilmore, who inherited the time slot of the Colbert Report, has been improving lately, but still falls short of his predecessors. And speaking of Colbert, his new role as himself on CBS’s Late Night doesn’t have the punch that his character did on Comedy Central. It doesn’t help that he is required to host celebrities and other product pluggers for most of the program.

There are some bright spots in the satire field. Most notable is John Oliver’s brilliant and hilarious long-form comedy on his HBO program. Seth Myers has transferred his SNL Weekend Update anchor routine pretty well to his Late Late Show’s “A Closer Look” segment. And former TDS correspondent Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” has gotten off to a promising start. But Oliver and Bee are only offering one show a week, which hardly fills the void.

What everyone seems to be missing is the fact that Stewart was not doing political satire. He was doing media satire. His targets were predominantly news outlets and the people that represent them. While politicians weren’t shy about publicly embarrassing themselves on a regular basis, it was more often the way that they were covered by the press that attracted Stewart’s attention. And Fox News, the most flagrantly dishonest purveyor of propaganda, was a frequent and well-deserved target. While some comics do go after Fox from time to time, nowhere is there the kind of relentless ridicule that Stewart unleashed on a regular basis. His consistent and high quality humor launched a popular meme proudly declaring that “I get my news from Comedy Central and my comedy from Fox News.”

Satire is a centuries-old form of communication that, at its best, is not only funny, but enlightening. And in the heat of this electoral season, where the front-runner of one of the major political parties is endorsed by the KKK and isn’t bothered by comparisons to Adolf Hitler, satire is an indispensable component to dealing with the insanity that appears to have taken over the GOP and much of right-wing America. The news pundits that provide the so-called informed commentary on current events are too insipidly timid to be useful. Even worse, they are too often oblivious to the truths that a good humorist can make so apparent.

That’s why we need Jon Stewart to return to the public discourse in some fashion. He can’t resume his post at TDS, but he could provide a daily commentary segment on the Rachel Maddow Show, or Colbert’s Late Night, or even NBC News. His insights would give relief to the millions of Americans who are being tortured by a media culture that is functionally blind. He would present a perspective that is altogether missing from the news, and now even from television comedy.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It would be a major coup for whatever program or network was smart enough to reel Stewart in. And considering that there was once a ludicrous attempt to hire Stewart to host Meet the Press, this proposal makes much more sense and is actually plausible. C’mon, Jon – we need you. We need you continue to remind us that “Bullshit is everywhere […] and the best defense against bullshit is vigilance.”

Not SNL: The Single Most Hilarious Moment In Any Debate Ever (Video)

At the opening of the Republican debate on ABC the candidates were introduced as they always are and they march out onto the stage to take their place behind their podiums. But last night that plan went haywire in manner that could not have been funnier if it was scripted by profession comedians (video below).

Republican Debate Intro

After introducing Chris Christie, the moderator introduced Ben Carson. For some reason Carson came out from behind the curtain and stopped in the wings looking confused, an expression that is not unfamiliar for him. Perhaps he just tuckered out before he could make it to his podium. The moderator continued with the introductions announcing Ted Cruz, who smiled as he walked past Carson, still befuddled. A stage hand was seen peeking out from the curtain trying to get Carson to take his position at his podium but was ignored.

Then it was Donald Trump’s turn. He meandered out from behind the curtain so slowly it looked like he was just wandering around with nowhere special to go (what debate?). Eventually he inexplicably decided to stand beside Carson in the wings. Maybe he thought Megyn Kelly was out there and he was too scared to proceed. Then again, Trump knows that Carson is a bad-ass who tried to stab one of his childhood friends and hit his mother in the head with a hammer, so maybe he thought Carson would protect him from Kelly. Jeb Bush came out next and breezed by the still loitering Carson and Trump, looking back at them curiously.

With almost everyone else on stage, the moderators finally coerced Carson and Trump to join their colleagues for the debate. Then they almost went on with debate without introducing John Kasich at all. You could hear somebody telling them not to forget Kasich. The moderators then attempted to cover for Carson and Trump’s strange behavior by saying that it was so loud in the auditorium that they didn’t hear. That might have been a decent excuse except for the fact that all the other candidates seemed to hear just fine.

After the debate got started Carson was asked his first question. Before answering he briefly addressed the screwed-up intro saying that the confusion stemmed from him not being introduced second as planned. The only problem with that excuse is that he actually was introduced second, as the video shows.

It’s hard to know whether to laugh at this buffoonery or to be afraid of how severely our democracy has deteriorated to result in these being the choices of one of our two major political parties. Well, actually it isn’t really that hard, you just can’t help but laugh. But afterward you can still be afraid. But what’s most frightening is what they all said during the actual debate. They acted like children tossing around insults, bashing Obama, and trying to out-macho each other with claims about how tough they would be on ISIS and who would do more waterboarding. They were totally incapable of offering any affirmative solutions to real problems. And that isn’t funny.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Stephen Colbert On Donald Trump: He’s My Old Character With Ten Billion Dollars

In an interview on Face the Nation, Stephen Colbert provided one of the reasons he couldn’t continuing doing the character on his old Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. Blame Donald Trump.

Fox Nation vs. Reality - Colbert

“He’s my old character with ten billion dollars. He’s completely playing on an emotional level, and so beautifully. It’s one of the reasons I can’t do that old character anymore, because he’s doing it better than I ever could; because he’s willing to drink his own Kool-Aid, and manufacture and distribute it; because he’s got all the cash.

He’s this very interesting Frankenstein of the idea that facts don’t matter, only money does, because if money is speech, he’s got a ten billion dollar mouth. And he doesn’t have to spend any of it because everyone will point a camera at him.”

For the record, I don’t think Trump is doing the character anywhere near as good as Colbert did it. If Trump is doing the Colbert character he’s doing without the humor and compassion, and replacing it with hatred and ignorance. But Colbert is spot on that for Trump facts don’t matter (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) and that the media has abandoned their journalistic principles in order to broadcast Trumpmania non-stop.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Merry (War On) Christmas From A World Without Rupert Murdoch

The classic film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” has become a tradition in the holiday season. And despite the attempts by Fox News to wage a divisive and exclusionary war that pits Americans against one another for merely offering different versions of the season’s greetings, the movie’s message continues to uplift each new generation of viewers.

Wonderful Life

But the film was not always so well received. In fact, during the “Red Scare” in the late 1940’s the notorious anti-communist persecution conducted by that era’s Tea Party Congress had labeled the film as commie propaganda. A 1947 FBI memorandum alleged that

“…the film represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.”

It seems like satire now, but they were deadly serious (unlike Jimmy Kimmel’s Mr. Potter and the Commies of Bedford Falls). What these pathetically inept film reviewers apparently failed to notice was that the film’s hero, George Bailey, was also a banker (as head of Bailey Bros. Building and Loan) – just not a greedy, insensitive, and criminally corrupt one like the villainous Mr. Potter. And the lesson he learned in the course of the story was that he had made a difference in the lives of those he touched, and that they reciprocated in kind.

The heartwarming notion that the world would be worse off without the likes of George Bailey still makes eyes moist and brings families together in appreciation of their good fortune. However, in a re-telling of the “Wonderful Life” by comedians Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, the fate is very different for the arch-conservative media baron, Rupert Murdoch. So, in what is becoming a Christmas tradition for News Corpse, here is Fry & Laurie’s profound and hilarious production of “It’s A Soaraway Life,” which looks at what the world would be like if Rupert Murdoch had never been born.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

SNL’s Michael Che On Donald Trump’s “Phone Sex” Appeal To Racist Republicans (Video)

Just as some portion of the mainstream media is beginning to report accurately on the overt racism of Donald Trump, Michael Che of Saturday Night Live comes up with an alternate theory that makes sense:

“At this point Trump is the political equivalent of a phone sex operator. He’s just whispering whatever dirty little racist fantasies Republicans want to hear.”

trump-phone-sex

The segment on last night’s SNL Weekend Update (video below) is one of the funniest bits of the whole campaign season. Che’s premise is that Trump is not actually racist at all, despite all the evidence pouring out of his own mouth. Che notes Trump’s prior associations with people like Don King and Apprentice contestant Omarosa. He says that…

“I don’t believe that Donald Trump is a racist. He’s just pandering to the most prejudiced segment of the country. He’s hustling them. […] None of what he’s saying is true. You don’t just develop racism overnight on the campaign trail. Racism is embedded deep down in a person’s soul. I’ve looked into that man’s eyes. Donald Trump doesn’t have a soul.”

Indeed, Trump appears to have no moral center. His positions on issues have spun wildly from being pro-choice to total opposition to any abortion; from advocating tax increases for the wealthy to proposing across-the-board tax cuts; from favoring universal health care to dismissing ObamaCare as a disaster; from floating an isolationist foreign policy just a few weeks ago that would have Russia fighting with Syria against ISIS to his new promise to “bomb the shit out of ISIS?” He even praised Hillary Clinton effusively calling her a “terrific woman,” but he now says that she was “the worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States.”

Either Trump is nursing multiple personalities or he is just adopting positions that he thinks he can exploit to advance his craving for power and adulation. He does have an eager audience among ill-informed Tea Party discontents who don’t mind being lied to (see the Trump Bullsitopedia for a growing catalog of his lies). In fact, like the phone sex patron, it seems to turn them on. They have an uncanny ability to let their imaginations subsume reality so long as it satisfies their political lusts.

However, it doesn’t seem possible that someone could so fiercely promulgate such ugly rhetoric without that sort of bigotry being ingrained in them. A decent, tolerant person with respect for others would choke and stammer trying to say the hateful things that comprise Trump’s platform. Trump says them with such confidence and certainty that he could not possibly be putting it on. Perhaps Che’s contention that Trump lacks a soul could account for his being able to pitch this hate speech. But either way it means that he is fully capable of harboring the most vile forms of bigotry. And Che is addressing it in what may be the most effective way – with ridicule.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox News Wouldn’t Know Comedy “If It Hit Them In The Ass With A Fish”

The hypersensitive crybabies at Fox News have found something new to whine about. It’s not they have exhausted their obsession with demonizing Latinos and Muslims and women, or that they are tiring of the War on Christmas and other Christianist rhetoric (supremacy). It’s just another avenue of outrage for them to venture down as they seek to spread right-wing propaganda.

Fox News Bozo

Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News, is complaining about a comedy pilot being considered by ABC. According to Adweek, the program “stars Kal Penn as a journalist who aspires to work for NPR, but instead takes a job at a cable news network that resembles Fox News Channel.” The working title for the show is “Fair and Balanced.” And that’s all it took to rile up the hilarious Mr. Ailes, who doesn’t think the idea for this show is very funny.

Clearly upset, Ailes told Adweek that “They ought to call it an attempt at liberal comedy which will fail.” That’s pretty funny Roger, and a sterling example of your brilliant sense of humor. That must be why Fox News has recently been trying to transform itself into a full-fledged comedy network. Why not? They certainly suck at news. And Ailes knows what he’s talking about on the subject failing comedy. Just think back to his attempted Daily Show rip-off, “The Half-Hour News Hour.” It lasted less than one season amid scathing reviews and universal ridicule. But all of this unintentional humor was still not as funny as this:

Ailes: People tried to poke at this, and the whole Fair and Balanced concept. They wouldn’t know fair and balanced if it hit them in the ass with a fish.

Having sufficiently embarrassed himself with regard to comedy, Ailes is now reverting to the safety of his defense of Fox News as being “fair and balanced.” Indeed, the network’s slogan has been the subject of relentless ridicule, for good reason. Most cognitively functional human beings laugh hysterically at the notion. Fox News is about as fair as a carnival game of ring toss and about as balanced as Charlie Sheen.

So where does Ailes go from here? He calls out his legal beagles to attack the “poor dumb bastards” at ABC. And after threatening to sue for infringement of his allegedly trademarked slogan, Ailes compounds his threat with a typically juvenile taunt saying “I’ve got 24 hours a day to trash ABC programming. You guys can’t program your way out of the men’s room.” If he really believed that, then why is he so disturbed by the prospect of a program he’s certain will fail?

This isn’t the first time that Ailes has released his legal hounds on someone who had the audacity to use the words “fair” and “balanced” in a project satirizing Fox. Sen. Al Franken, prior to his election, wrote a book titled Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” with the subtitle “A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Fox News promptly filed a lawsuit against Franken that was literally laughed out of court. You might say that Ailes got himself “hit in the ass with a fish.” Fish-slapping, of course, is a time-honored staple of comedy, as demonstrated here by the masters, Monty Python:

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.