If you’re a conservative commentator, and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” comes calling, you will hear a chorus of friends implore: Don’t do it. But should you go on the show anyway?
In April, I recorded a segment for “The Daily Show” on socialism, which aired last week. Correspondent Jaboukie Young-White interviewed me. Sen. Bernie Sanders provided the pro-socialism perspective (though we weren’t interviewed at the same time).
“Correspondent,” of course, implies that Young-White is some sort of reporter, but obviously he’s not. He’s a comedian, and his title is part of the gag. Young-White and I spoke for nearly two hours, but my part was condensed down to about 60 seconds.
“The Daily Show” is produced by liberals for liberals, and if you’re conservative, the big concern is that they will edit the interview so you end up looking as ridiculous as possible, as Jonah Goldberg says was done to him.
My words were taken out of context, but as far as that kind of chicanery goes, I didn’t get it too bad. At one point the interviewer asked: “Why do you think young people like socialism so much?” My response was that socialism is the kind of system people lean toward when things are going well. “Millenials have been raised in such prosperous times, they just think. ‘Oh, we can make it even better with this insane plan to share the resources.’ ”
Because they didn’t air the question part of that exchange, where they ask me to think like a socialist-loving millennial, my remarks came off as callous.
The low point of the segment came when I recounted the story of my great-grandfather dying in a Soviet gulag under Stalin. His crime: owning a private business — specifically, a bakery.
The show’s producers then intercut footage from the Sanders interview, with the Vermont socialist joking that no one would be sent to the gulag under his brand of socialism.
That was my beloved grandmother’s father. Her life was shaped by his absence, by his death at Marxist hands. He was a real person, he mattered and the socialist system destroyed him and added his body to the enormous pile of corpses it created.
Whatever he says about it now, and on the show Sanders made the ludicrous claim that democratic socialists “stood up and fought the Soviet Union,” Sanders was a supporter of the Soviet regime long after the horrors behind the Iron Curtain came to light.
Sanders and his wife honeymooned in the Soviet Union and came back with raving praise for the country. The train stations! The arts programs! Everything was free, people could afford it all! A year later, the Berlin Wall would fall and two years after that, the Soviet Union would cease to exist. The ideology was already on the ash heap of history, but Bernie was still trying to rescue it.
Megan McArdle wrote a piece for Bloomberg in 2014 urging anyone who disagreed with the (liberal) politics of “The Daily Show” not to go on. McArdle wrote: “For heaven’s sake, why are you going on ‘The Daily Show’? Are you that desperate to get on television? It’s really not that exciting, I promise. The only reason for you to go on television is for your family to see you being on television, except that in this case, what your family is going to see is you being profoundly embarrassed on television.”
The better reason to go on “The Daily Show” and others like it is to expose people to something other than the one permissible perspective. Segments like mine on socialism are telling people we may want to try socialism again. Conservatives have to take every opportunity to fight that — even if it means enduring ridicule.
Liberalism is the mainstream in culture, conservatism is the other. It’s why every single late-night talk show host is a full-on liberal. When one of them, Jimmy Fallon, treated then-candidate Donald Trump as less than radioactive during the 2016 election, his fellow liberals berated him so badly, he cried when discussing the interview.
If moderates and conservatives don’t fill up the space on these shows with the alternate opinion, even if the hosts scoff at that opinion, the shows will move to feature only left and harder-left ideas. Conservative commentators have to risk being mocked to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Source: Read Full Article