Daily Show pumping out propaganda through humor and sarcasm
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
After Jon Stewart’s much lamented departure from The Daily Show (Stewart has announced he will quit comedy and is going to work with rescued farm animals -- hopefully to earn back some of the karma points he lost pushing Barack Obama’s war agenda), Comedy Central announced that Stewart’s replacement would be the fresh-faced 31-year-old South African comedian, Trevor Noah.
Not a huge part of my conscious intellect thought Noah’s tenure would bring about any significant changes to the anti-Russian rhetoric spewed out of The Daily Show. After all, its previous host met privately with Obama to get its propaganda marching orders, so I assumed that Noah and his masters at Viacom weren’t planning to change the message anytime soon.
Confused about the Syria crisis, Millennials? To the Western propaganda machine! Thanks to The Daily Show’s unquestioning allegiance to the Obama administration, Americans ages 18 to 35 will continue to be lobotomized into believing that Democrats are the party of peace and love, and sold fairy tales about moderate Syrian rebels, no Nazis in Ukraine, unicorns, and also (maybe) Santa Claus. Only this time, instead of the lies and half-truths coming out of the mouth of an aging comedian, they are coming from a slick, handsome young fellow, born into in the South African apartheid system -- the same system which had remained in place for nearly four decades, with the full support of the U.S. government, when Noah was born to a white father and a “colored” mother in 1984. Now, one of South Africa’s sons has been hired to spread American war propaganda on national television. If that isn’t the enterprising American spirit, I don’t know what is.
Full disclosure: I stopped watching The Daily Show more than a year ago, so I am coming at this as a non-regular viewer. I only found out about Noah’s Syria piece through a fellow American who was proclaiming that The Daily Show’s views on the Russian operation in Syria were the unassailable truth. I was later accused of reading Pravda because I took issue with the citizenry getting all of its news from a comedy program. Le sigh.
Taking its cues from the McCarthyist litter box liner The Daily Beast, The Daily Show’s October 1 segment picked up on the Western MSM’s outrage/confusion/apoplexy over Russian airstrikes hitting U.S.-backed “moderate rebels” and reported that Russia had “hit the wrong target.” Their proof? Clips from CNN. Because the Russian military is incompetent and Russkies themselves are too drunk on vodka to hit the right target, amirite?
Yes, Trevor. Let’s distract everyone and point out that the Russians hit (quoting CNN) “fighters trained and armed by the CIA.”
I’m sorry. What the what now?
Oh, that’s not the focus of the bit? Oh, right. It’s another Putin joke, followed by a humorous bit about Americans’ obsession with all things pumpkin spice.
Look, I like a good pumpkin spice joke as much as the next person. But instead of focusing on that, why hasn’t it occurred to The Daily Show to query WHERE ISIS GOT ALL OF THOSE FREAKING TOYOTAS? Starbucks?
Maybe Noah might want to ask his “correspondents” WHY THE HECK THE CIA IS ARMING AND TRAINING SYRIAN REBELS. I don’t care if the Syrian rebels were armed and trained by Cirque du Soleil. Their purpose isn’t to fight ISIS, it’s to fight against the Syrian army in a bid to overthrow the legitimate secular government of Bashar al Assad. And the U.S. government is doing that why, again?
Let’s instead try to save a little bit of face by continuing the lie that the Russian military is not a threat to American hegemony. Why doesn’t The Daily Show treat its viewers like functioning adults and address the question of WHY their Nobel Peace Prize-winning president is arming and training “rebels” who have links to al-Quaeda and al-Nusra. I guess It’s far better to lull your viewers into a false sense of security so they can drink their $5 pumpkin spice lattes in peace.
Why doesn’t The Daily Show want to address where ISIS came from, and why the American corporate media is throwing a fit over Russia’s legal intervention, instead of playing on the Western left’s tiresome dislike of Vladimir Putin?
Isn’t it time to give the Russia hate a rest already? Because it’s been made abundantly clear over the last six weeks in Syria that the Russian military is BAE. It is so bae, that America’s colonial governments in Iraq and Afghanistan have asked for Russia’s help to fight ISIS and said “Thanks, but no thanks” to the U.S.’s offer of military assistance. With the United States being more and more exposed for the international bully that it is, and with it increasingly becoming more and more distrusted and irrelevant in geopolitics, and worsening on Obama’s watch, how will The Daily Show spin this inconvenient reality? Perhaps they can fall back on the comforting lie that the United States is probably terrible, but Russia is so much worse. Also, Vladimir Putin rides horses shirtless.
Noah followed up his lame Syria performance by hosting Evgeny Afineevsky, director of the Netflix original documentary, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. Of course, mainstream media fell all over themselves to praise this piece of propaganda hogwash. Mashable called the trailer “chilling” and Newsweek’s The Daily Beast, with their well-known secret psychic interface with Putin’s brain, says Putin doesn’t want you to see it.
Well, I defied Putin and I watched it. And it’s crap. As Pedro Marin succinctly details, Winter on Fire repeats the same lies that Russia is responsible for all the chaos in Ukraine, and that the Maidan protests were non-partisan and peaceful until the Russia-backed former president’s goon squad opened fire on protesters. No mention of the anti-Maidan movement. No mention of the ethnic diversity of Ukraine, nor the concerns of the Russian speakers in Crimea and the southeast (Russia just annexed Crimea because they’re jerks, posits this intellectually stimulating tour de force). No mention of the U.S. arming and training neo-fascist nationalist battalions. Just more one-sided proselytization of young Americans in order to convert them into Russia haters like their parents and grandparents, brought to you by the same service that brought you Fake Putin and cat-hurling Pussy Riot on House of Cards. But Daily Show viewers were encouraged to watch this documentary and take its contents as fact.
Ukraine’s “fight for freedom”? Really? Any informed person knows that the only freedoms Ukraine has now are the freedoms to be run by corrupt oligarchs, NATO, disgraced politicians, U.S. agents, and deranged nationalists (read: democracy). The Daily Show cheerfully hosted Winter on Fire’s director and issued zero challenges to Afineevsky’s thesis. Since Cold War 2.0 began, The Daily Show has not made one single attempt to provide a balanced view about Russia, Putin, Ukraine, or any of the various and sundry controversies that we’ve been bombarded with ad nauseum over the last year and a half.
In summary, The Daily Show would have you believing thus: that there are no neo-fascist battalions in Ukraine and the “moderate” Syrian rebels Russia attacked “by mistake” are our allies. Perhaps if both groups painted themselves orange and wrote “Pumpkin Spice” on their foreheads, the sleeping American public would pay attention and figure out that Democrat Obama is a warmonger, just like his Republican predecessor. Honestly, I’ve witnessed more Americans worked up about the contents of a Starbucks latte than they are over the White House’s arming and training of extremists combatants who have been raping, killing, and torturing the civilians of countries like Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.
Trevor. You seem like a nice chap. Do you know why your jokes about Russia fall flat? Because those jokes are rooted in spite, and you’re not mean-spirited enough to sell them. From Europe to the Middle East, countries are getting sick of America’s BS. Do the noble thing now and hand in your resignation to Comedy Central. Do you really want to be responsible for helping to mislead the American people into another misguided war -- this time against a much more formidable opponent that has already more than proved itself where their military has failed? Or, heck, your core demographic might do what I have done, and realize that The Daily Show, like the party and president it props up, is a mouthpiece for the Man.
Someone needs to remind the impressionable young people watching The Daily Show that wars pushed by Democrats are no more noble than wars that are pushed by Republicans.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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