Don't Laugh at Obama!
Are we condemned to walk the earth the next 4 or 8 years being forbidden to laugh at our own president?
If the yucksters at Huffington Post have their way, such may very well be the case. Via Jammie Wearing Fool, we are directed to a rant from one Joseph Palermo who thinks the Daily Show and Jon Stewart went too far in making fun of Barack Obama opting out of public financing.
In his out of control, spittle flecked screed, Palermo accuses the Daily Show of being...warmongers?
Slamming the UN weapons inspectors as ineffectual twits dominated right-wing talk radio at the time and The Daily Show was in effect regurgitating the talking points of those who wanted to bring the country to war. Dissing the UN's efforts on Comedy Central inadvertently helped in make the case for war. It is kind of like when Dick Cheney pointed to the New York Times to buttress his warmongering saying: "Hey, even the liberals agree with us!" When Jon Stewart seeks "balance" for his targets of satire he can end up reinforcing the false impressions that the Bush Republicans want people to have.
Yeah sure, dream on.. But whatever you do, DO NOT MAKE FUN OF THE MESSIAH!
So too was the case last night when Jon Stewart ran a bit about Barack Obama's decision to eschew public financing. The Daily Show seized the issue as an opportunity to display "balance" and to poke fun at the Obama campaign. But not only did the bit fall flat it played right into the Republican line, which is full of half-truths and outright lies about Obama's decision. Just watch the right-wing radio shock jocks and the literati warmongers like David Brooks and William Kristol -- who are always looking for a cute "hook" to slime Obama -- cite The Daily Show as confirming, from a hip "liberal" source, their worst fears about Obama. They'll say: "See, we told you so, even the liberals are beginning to see what we've known all along, Obama is just the same old politics, etc."
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show should be mindful whenever Obama is the target of their satire that they don't end up regurgitating Republican talking points. The Daily Show is far more influential than it was four years ago when Bush still had millions of people duped. The producers should be careful when poking fun at Obama not to provide fuel for the right-wing slime machine. Poke fun at Obama all you want, but do it in a way that also reveals the Republicans' mendacity and hypocrisy.
The kicker is, the Daily Show send up of Obama was incredibly mild - none of the extraordinarily personal and vicious attacks that Stewart regularly makes on Republicans and conservatives.
Maybe this means that conservative comics will start coming into their own. If liberal comics don't recognize the fact that making fun of the President of the United States is as common and as American as applie pie then they will leave a niche in the market for right wing humorists to fill.
Perhaps I could brush up on my stand up act...