Jon Stewart to Samantha Bee: Don’t get caught in the propagandist right’s trap

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Last week, Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a C-U-Next-Tuesday during a segment on Bee’s TBS show Full Frontal – go here for the context. The day after that episode aired, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and all of the deplorables all clutched their pearls over how terrible and toxic it all is, because Ivanka is just a precious child who must be protected at all costs. Within the very same news cycle, Bee apologized thoroughly. Thursday night, Bee even received a (pre-announced, pre-planned) award at the Television Academy Honors, and she made another statement about why she apologized publicly:

“Our piece attracted controversy of the worst kind. We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word, when we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from their parents and treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals. If we are OK with that, then really, who are we? There is power in saying what you feel without apology. OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.”

[From E! News]

Which is fine, but whatever. It wasn’t enough, of course. Donald Trump still tweeted this:

Says the serial sexual assailant and white supremacist. I guess “First Amendment” arguments only work when white supremacists are butthurt that a corporation no longer caters to them personally, but when the president of the United States is publicly lobbying for a corporation to fire someone, no one is going to make a First Amendment argument, huh? In any case, all of the ginned-up controversy worked and now sponsors are starting to pull out of Full Frontal.

Which brings me to some shockingly wise words from Bee’s former boss, Jon Stewart. Stewart and Bee worked together for years on The Daily Show, and Stewart was making an appearance at San Francisco’s Clusterfest. I didn’t cancel Jon in the wake of the 2016 election, but he was definitely on my Sh-t List for all of his “not every Trump voter is a racist!” arguments. During his Q&A session, Jon was asked about Bee and the c-word controversy. What he said was SO insightful:

“They don’t give a sh-t about the word ‘c–t. [Trump] says that instead of ‘please,’ I’m guessing…. Please understand that a lot of what the right does, and it’s maybe their greatest genius, is they’ve created a code of conduct that they police, that they themselves don’t have to, in any way, abide. [I was accused of being a] tool of the Obama presidency” after visiting the White House twice during the former POTUS’s two terms, while Trump “spoke to the head of Fox [News] and strategized with him on a weekly basis and uses their on-air talent as advisors. Don’t get caught in a trap of thinking you can live up to a code of integrity that will be enough for the propagandist right. There isn’t. And so, create your own moral code to live by, but don’t be fooled into trying to make concessions that you think will mollify them.”

In the end, Stewart said that it might not be possible for liberal or otherwise Trump-critical voices to “make them give up this ‘we’re the real victims’ game” by being the bigger person and apologizing. Said Stewart, “it’s a game, it’s a strategy and it’s working.”

[From Vulture]

I agree with Jon Stewart one thousand percent. The Deplorables have weaponized their double standard to a degree where it’s actually shocking and newsworthy when one of THEM actually has to face consequences for all of the lies, hatred, bile and bigotry they spew on a regular basis. We’ve gotten to used to the one-way traffic, that the right “polices” what can be said, and no one polices them. I’ll go one step further: I absolutely f–king loathe how the Deplorables have taken Michelle Obama’s gracious words about “going high when they go low” to threaten and police criticism of their own bad words and deeds. Michelle Obama can go high all she wants, that’s her business. But the double standards must stop, and we need to stop apologizing for making completely valid criticisms and statements of facts about these f–king lunatics who are destroying our country.

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30 Responses to “Jon Stewart to Samantha Bee: Don’t get caught in the propagandist right’s trap”

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  1. grabbyhands says:

    So does this mean he’s over his “We need to just try and understand them” phase with 45 and his supporters?

    • Morning Coffee says:

      If we don’t at least attempt to understand them – and he is correct that not all of them are racists – then we will lose again.

      • Indijersey says:

        Agree with this point 150%

      • Natalie S says:

        If we don’t work on resolving gerrymandering and voter suppression, we will lose again.

        And if a person enables racism by voting for someone like Trump, that person is racist. The person won’t ever admit it but I think it’s insulting to not acknowledge it. A lot of people won’t wear hoods but will go along in being complicit in upholding white supremacy and think of it as voting for their economic interests.

      • BCity says:

        Anthony Bourdain’s recent episode in West Virginia highlighted exactly why I’m lost on how to do this. He was interviewing a coal miner about how Hillary came to WV and told them some miners would lose their jobs and the miner said, “Wrong answer”. Under normal circumstances, it’s a “duh”, but they listened to everything that came out of that sh*tbag’s mouth and still thought, basically “my coal job is more important than other people’s safety and dignity.” The irony being Hillary at least told them the truth and they didn’t heed the warnings of Trump University.

        Anyway you guys are really smart, I’m all ears for suggestions.

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        @Natalie S: feels like there’s a bit of binary thinking there. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” I would agree that supporting a racist is as bad for a country as being one. But there are voters who voted for Trump not because they were motivated by his racist message, but rather because they had no empathy for racial causes and it didn’t factor into their motivation at all.

        It isn’t just semantics, because even if apathy and hate have the same outcome, you need different strategies to combat it.

      • otaku fairy says:

        @Jay: If a person doesn’t mind knowingly doing something that has such a racist impact because they lack empathy for racial causes an just DGAF, that’s still racism on their part though. Both the action and the reasoning behind it are a statement on whose suffering isn’t really that important to them. Their racism may not be as bad as the one who voted for Trump because they’re actively for that part of his message, but it’s definitely still there.
        If any apathy-based Trump-voter is still, after about 1.5 years of this, standing by their support of Trump and defensive about their position to the point where they prioritize being treated ‘politely’ in a discussion over taking ownership of how and why they’ve fucked up and making room for justified, not-always-polite anger of those who have been wronged, that’s kind of telling.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Yup. Once Bee made that comment, nothing was going to be enough to calm the deplorables. I hope TBS keeps her show. My guess is in a week or two this will blow over and advertisers wont care anymore. You hear about it when companies pull their ads but you know at some point those ads go back on the air during that show and you don’t usually hear about that part of it.

    It is a double standard and they have weaponized it. There’s really no other way to put it.

    • Morning Coffee says:

      I actually read a theory that she manufactured this controversy because her show was going to be cancelled. The thought is that TBS will keep the show so as not to be seen caving into pressure.

    • INeedANap says:

      Respectability politics is for suckers.

      We all know her apology was not going to change a single Deplorable’s mind. But if she did this to maintain advertising funding for her team then I get it.

  3. Kimma1216 says:

    I’m not sure how people can even compare Samantha’s Statement to Roseanne. Not to mention, Ivanka is definitely a corrupt c*nt..

  4. Esmom says:

    Yes, I hear all that. It’s infuriating and it seems to me it really started to ramp up when Al Franken resigned. It seems as though the right then realized how powerful their double standard was and continued on that path relentlessly. But what I’m not hearing is how to combat it. Other than getting out an voting. Maybe that is the only solution.

  5. CK3 says:

    I saw an uptick in “You can’t beat Trump by being Trump” puff pieces in the supposed “Liberal Media” since the Bee incident trying to enforce the same thing. How about No? Maybe it’s time for Dems/Liberals etc. to fight fire with fire because it’s really not just a social thing. When conservatives take power, they actively go after the liberal base in ways that are not reciprocated. Be it cutting state and local tax exemptions, educational funding, designing legislation to attack certain groups or attaching work requirements to programs while creating exemptions for their own base, “owning libs” is not just something that they aim to achieve on twitter. It has morphed into a set of concise policy goals that are enacted no matter the ramification.

  6. Lydia says:

    It reminds me a bit of the criticism of feminism in the 2000′s. Men could say the vilest things and it was ‘can’t take a joke?!’, while a woman saying something like ‘I was raped and don’t always trust men’ was a horrible feminazi who had to apologize or was portrayed as a nut.

    The problem is that those against the right often have higher morals and are more vulnerable to demands to apologise, because we actually care if we say something potentially bad.

    The best way to win this? Vote. And convince others to vote.

    No more ‘my vote doesn’t matter anyway’ or ‘the other is just as bad’ nonsense.

  7. littlemissnaughty says:

    This is why I was furious when she apologized. She didn’t mean it. She bowed to liberal pressure because liberals always have to flagellate themselves in order to “go high”. And they let Trump dictate how high only to realize it doesn’t matter at all. He and his little BDM daughter won’t change and now sponsors are pulling out anyway. This administration laughs at everyone who apologizes. They will never.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Exactly. If you want to call somebody a c*nt, mean it. Don’t dance around it. Don’t apologize for it. Just go for the throat and keep your fangs locked in the jugular. There’s no backsies from that level of trash talking, and they don’t deserve it, anyway.

  8. The New Classic says:

    “When they go low, we go high” was a great sentiment at the time, but I’m tired of it. What has “going high” gotten us? We need a new playbook. When they go low, we go subterranean. Play by their rules and take no prisoners, cause what we are doing now is leading us further down the road to hell.

    • Esmom says:

      Thinking about it, it made sense while the Obamas were in the WH, especially Michelle. But at this point it really doesn’t since the right does. not. g. a. f. about dignity or decorum or democracy.

    • Veronica S. says:

      It also doesn’t work a long game strategy. The irony of maintaining a tolerant culture is that you have to be intolerant of certain types of intolerance. Hence why antifa who went around punching Nazis wound up having way more of an effect putting Richard Spencer off from the public stage than any media outlet denouncing him.

    • otaku fairy says:

      This. I agree 100% with this “Don’t get caught in a trap of thinking you can live up to a code of integrity that will be enough for the propagandist right. There isn’t. And so, create your own moral code to live by, but don’t be fooled into trying to make concessions that you think will mollify them” statement. Sometimes taking the high road when they go low only teaches the other side that what they’re doing is NBD. Someone can get so used to others ‘taking the high road’ that when they finally run into someone who doesn’t respond that way, they see themselves as the victim and the other person or group as the problem.

  9. Cintra.C says:

    I’m also tired of the “We go high” strategy. That has gotten us nowhere. Where was the Republican (and media) outrage when Roger Stone formed an anti-Hillary organization with the acronym of C U Next Tuesday?

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    He’s right. You can’t discuss anything with the right. They talk down to you like you simply ‘don’t get it.’ It’s infuriating, and the fact that you have to walk away to make the noise stop is only more fodder for their political coffers. They parrot one-liners from their talk radio heroes and call themselves the silent majority…too mature for explanation. We are weak, delusional and don’t understand the true reason for a governing body and how to correctly use it. They absolutely have their game plan down pat. They believe in their parental role to society wholeheartedly, and we’re simply uneducated children. Now. Please excuse me while I go and barf.

  11. Rapunzel says:

    I say screw it. It’s ridiculous to be held hostage to the whims of idiots.

    Stewart is absolutely right when he says that you can’t win. Trumpsters create their own reality. Why should I try to understand that? Why should I modify my behavior around that?

    This whole “we need to understand Cult 45 or they’ll win” is ridiculous. They are not the majority. We don’t need them. They are the dregs of society and yes they are racist. And stupid. And they are only in charge because of Russia.

    The desire to treat a whole segment of society who lacks empathy with empathy is a ridiculous exercise in futility.

  12. Coz' says:

    He is 100% right and it is not only true in the US but everywhere in the world. The far right (and every kind of populist party) set up their own “moral” standards but never abide by it. They are so full of “mauvaise foi” that it is impossible to argue with them. They are bully yet constantly play the victims.
    This is what is infuriating: you can not debate, you can not argue, you can not discuss with them because they don’t respond to reason.
    It is sadly a (evil) genius strategy because, it allow them to never be hold responsible or accountable.

  13. Kate says:

    From psychologytoday.com on gaslighting:
    1. They tell blatant lies.
    2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
    3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
    4. They wear you down over time.
    5. Their actions do not match their words.
    6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. (ok maybe the right doesn’t do this)
    7. They know confusion weakens people.
    8. They project.
    9. They try to align people against you.
    10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

    After you acknowledge what’s going on, you’ll be better able to detach and stop believing or reacting to falsehoods, even though you may want to. You’ll also realize that the gaslighting is occurring due to [the right's/the president's] serious character problems. It does not reflect on you, nor can you change someone else.

  14. emma peel says:

    No one says the C word quite like the Brits – it’s practically a term of endearment there.

  15. Bread and Circuses says:

    The perfect response would have been for Samantha Bee to say, “I apologize for calling Ivanka a ‘feckless c*nt’. I should have called her a feckless ‘pussy’, since even her father believes that’s an acceptable word to use when discussing women on an open mike. Hey, Donald, go GRAB Ivanka for a hug!”

  16. Bread and Circuses says:

    The perfect response would have been for Samantha Bee to say, “I apologize for calling Ivanka a ‘feckless c*nt’. I should have called her a feckless ‘p*ssy’, since even her father believes that’s an acceptable word to use when discussing women on an open mike. Hey, Donald, go GRAB Ivanka for a hug!”

    • jwoolman says:

      She just needed a more neutral noun. She could have made the point if she even just said “feckless woman” in the right tone of voice. The “c” word was too much of a distraction, and not just for the right wingers who are not really her audience. Plenty of people are tired of that kind of name-calling, even in topical comedy. I put up with it from women, but really wish people would be more imaginative.

      (I got tired of the “f” word decades ago when my roommate used it practically 50% of the time, almost every other word. It was really boring, lost all its punch quickly. I figured she got in the habit to bother her parents and never got out of the habit. If she ever had kids, I’m sure that would be their first word for each of them.)

      I love the word feckless, though, and it is so suitable in this case.