Stephen Colbert Gets Anderson Cooper Tied Up In Knots Defending CNN’s Trump Coverage

Last night CNN anchor Anderson Cooper appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He may not have been expecting the good-natured grilling he was in for. What took place was another example of a comedy show producing better journalism than the “serious” media.

Stephen Colbert

Early in the interview Colbert bit into the meaty subject of CNN’s disgraceful relationship with Donald Trump’s former campaign manager. A few days after leaving the Trump team, Corey Lewandowski signed on with CNN. In the following exchange Cooper sheepishly admits that CNN is employing a commentator who is also a campaign operative.

Colbert: So, he works for you guys. Does he still get any money from the Trump people at the same time?

Cooper: I believe I read he gets a severance, continuing severance from the Trump campaign.

Colbert: So ya’ll are paying him, and Trump is paying him, but he’s on your show doing analysis for a man he still gets cash from?

Cooper: Pretty much. Yeah, I guess that’s one way to look at it. I mean, yes.

That’s pretty much the only way of looking at it. Even worse, Lewandowski has a non-disparagement contract with Trump. So CNN hired a commentator who is contractually prohibited from saying anything negative. Cooper’s only response to this was that “We have people from all the campaigns.” Which is not actually true. While they will invite campaign staff to appear on the network, there are none who are employees while still on the payroll of the candidate. Other than Lewandowski, that is.

As the interview continued, Colbert asked whether Trump is still doing interviews with CNN. Cooper confirmed that he is not, noting that he’s only been doing interviews with Fox News. He elaborated saying that “He does a lot of interviews with Hannity.” “Who evidently advises his campaign at the same time,” Colbert replied. This is all accurate, but for some reason Cooper only talks about it on The Late Show. CNN’s viewers would benefit from this information.

The best moment came when the discussion got to Trump’s wavering positions on immigration. Colbert observed that Trump has been less than forthcoming about his stance, which has been shifting wildly in the past couple of days. Then Colbert offered this homey perspective from Trump’s point of view:

“There’s a little bit of “Elect me, see what happens. I’m a present. Christmas morning is Election Day. Open me up. Maybe I’m full of toys. Maybe I’m full of turds.”

Anyone who has been paying attention already knows what’s in that package. And it isn’t a new X-Box. Colbert managed to illustrate the deceitfulness of Trump’s vacillating rhetoric in a short and humorous comment that says more than most news programs say in an hour. And Cooper was reduced to grinning timidly when faced with the truth about his network. It’s just sad that news organizations are so bad at this sort of reporting that we have to rely on comedy shows.

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

What Samantha Bee Said About Fox News Is Hilarious And True And Definitely NSFW

In the middle of perhaps the most bizarre presidential campaign ever, the primary communications vehicle for the Republican Party, Fox News, suffered a massive blow to its propaganda infrastructure. Last week Fox’s chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, was unceremoniously cast unto the garbage heap of perverted executives after numerous allegations of sexual harassment emerged.

Samantha Bee

The hostile work environment for women at Fox is reflective of their editorial bias against women, socially and politically, and the issues that impact them most. Reproductive rights, family leave, and gender discrimination, are all areas in which Fox has taken stances in opposition to the best interests of women. So while Ailes (and certainly others at Fox) is an abusive slimeball, we must not forget that Fox is still a thoroughly dishonest purveyor of right-wing disinformation.

Samantha Bee hit on both of those themes in last night’s “Full Frontal” in a segment that took apart the network and its commitment to unabashed misogyny and conservative mythologizing. Her monologue was a tightly knit excoriation of the network’s mission to objectify women while spreading lies and exalting Republican politicians and pundits. For instance:

“Fox News is the only 24 hour news network to feature a strategically placed leg cam to showcase the most qualified body parts of its female contributors. Plus the daily women’s show trading on the titillating tension between owning a harem and fear of emasculation. So yeah, turns out the guy who runs that network is kind of a creep. Who would have guessed?”

That bit about the “leg cam” was not a comic device. Reports from insiders have revealed the existence of an actual camera for that specific purpose. News Corpse reported this two years ago along with an analysis of the nexus of porn and politics that is integral to the culture at Fox News. It’s a network that serves its viewers as their orgasm channel in more ways than one. Bee went on to say that:

“Roger Ailes made Fox News an unstoppable powerhouse by discovering the secret to big ratings. What viewers really want is to be furiously angry while also having a boner. The anger part of the arousal was achieved through Roger’s uncanny ability to take a thing that may or may not exist, put an ominous spin on it, and then force feed it to us all day like a foie gras goose until we were terrified. Fox News was his masterpiece. A right-wing nightmare factory powered by white resentment and relentless misinformation, churning out propaganda 24/7 and making family Thanksgivings unbearable for 20 years.”

That’s as accurate an appraisal of Fox News as any ever published by an academic journal or media analyst. It captures Fox’s reliance on titillating the passions of their wingnut viewers, and lord knows their viewers want their wingnuts titillated. As an extra added benefit, she’s funny as hell.

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

Exclusive: Donald Trump’s List Of Speakers For The Republican National Convention Just Leaked

The Republican National Convention is now just one week away. Preparations are being made for what Donald Trump and his campaign are promising will be a unique event that will bring more entertainment value to the normally staid political gathering. Among the most highly anticipated announcements is who will share the podium during the four day televised spectacle.

While there have been rumors that assembling a roster of speakers has been difficult, Trump insists that enthusiastic supporters are clamoring to speak on his behalf. A week ago Trump proudly tweeted:

When Wednesday arrived, however, there was a change in plans, as revealed in another tweet:

Trump was making reference to the just concluded FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email that determined that no charges should be filed. Apparently Trump wanted some extra time to exploit this news and spread his conspiracy theories about a rigged system. Instead he spent most of the day defending the blatant anti-Semitism of a tweet he posted a few days earlier. After which he still did not provide the list of convention speakers as promised.

Well now the News Corpse Satire Desk can put an end to the suspense. A flyer advertising the convention’s biggest attractions has been acquired from sources at the RNC (see below). And true to form, it appears to be an unprecedented extravaganza that will feature the sort of celebrities that set paparazzi hearts afire. They include some of the most popular luminaries of the Republican elite straight from the country clubs of Trump’s private golf resorts. For instance: Sean Hannity, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, David Duke, Ted Cruz, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, and the fabulous Ivanka.

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

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is not to be missed. So get your tickets ASAP, or mark your calendar as full for most of next week as you sit in front of your televisions to enjoy a festival of wingnut glitterati unlike anything you have ever seen before – or ever will again, we hope.

Trump's RNC

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.