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Jon Stewart Works to Make Discussion of Racism Taboo

Posted by libhom Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jon Stewart has really turned to the hard right since the inauguration. It's starting to look like he has followed the example of Dennis Miller in terms of grabbing the big bucks by selling himself to rightist corporate bosses and owners. However, Stewart is doing it in a sneakier way, pretending to be reasonable and moderate. I refused to have anything to do with his rally for bigotry and corporate power, and now I realize that decision was even better than I thought it would have been.

When I read a transcript of his speech, this paragraph was particularly disturbing.

There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult--not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

This is truly disturbing. Of course, Juan Williams comments about Muslims were bigoted. That was the idea. He is spewing the same bigotry against Arabs and Muslims that Faux News overflows with and the other corporate "news outlets" work tirelessly to legitimize. It is the same bigotry that got us into a genocidal war of aggression in Iraq that has killed over 1.4 million people. It is the same bigotry that keeps us in Iraq and Afghanistan today. It is highly profitable bigotry for the corporate masters of cable TV, and Juan Williams was awarded handsomely for it by Rupert Murdoch.

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Then, there is the matter of the teabaggers. Let's look at the following facts:

1) The teabaggers are venomously racist.

2) Their opposition to Obama cannot be policy based since Obama supports the same policies they do at least 95% of the time.

3) The teabaggers share the same values, prejudices, and agendas as the Ku Klux Klan.

4) The only difference between the teabaggers and the Klan is that the teabaggers don't wear the white suits and dunce caps....at least not in public.

protester with sign that says Racism is not an American valueStewart knows that none of the criticisms of the teabaggers for being racist are unfair, unreasonable, or "insane." If he were to actually read this blog posting (obviously he doesn't even know that this small blog exists), and if he were honest, he would have to acknowledge all of this. Instead, he chooses to mock and condemn public discussion of any of this.

What about his defense of Rick Sanchez's bigotry? That's called taking one for the team.

What Stewart is doing is hardly original or even new. The corporate media have been marketing racism for years. They constantly portray racism as perfectly reasonable as long as code phrases are used for it, and they censor, ridicule, or demonize anyone who speaks out against it.

This might be familiar to you. Stewart used the technique of ridicule and demonization to shut down Keith Olberman for committing a high crime in corporate media: speaking out against the venomous and uncompromising misogyny and heterosexism of Scott Brown. Stewart wasn't just doing the bidding of his corporate overlords by campaining for the GOP candidate on air. Stewart was trying to make it taboo to speak out against bigotry and oppression against women and queers. Now, Stewart, in a moment of "sincerity," is trying to make fighting blatant racism equally taboo.

Stewart's message to people who are targets of bigotry is the same as that of someone who commits domestic violence to their victim: shut up and take it.

Racism and misogyny have been organizing tools of wealthy interests in this country for centuries. Heterosexism as an organizing tool is relatively recent, but it has proven quite effective. Giving people false senses of superiority and threatening to take those delusions away has been a hugely successful diversionary tactic. The rich are not going to give that up without a fight.

The other disturbing aspect of Stewart's speech involves the vague allusions to "getting things done." Notice how he doesn't mention what those "things" are. Keep in mind that this rally was planned after President Obama set up his Cat Food Commission to slash Social Security and other domestic programs that benefit the middle class and the poor. It also was planned after it had become obvious that the GOP would make big gains in the midterm elections.

When you think about it, doesn't the whole "getting things done" message make you a bit nervous? It certainly doesn't make the CEOs of the cable networks and their advertisers nervous.

During his long winded speech, Stewart expressed pieties about the 24/7 cable media news frenzy that he plays a role in. Stewart plays the role of "good cop" to the "bad cops" like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. Now, I have another reason to be delighted that I got rid of my cable TV. It's such crap.

Photo: Bebopsmile


1 Responses to Jon Stewart Works to Make Discussion of Racism Taboo

  1. Of course... Most of these guys are entertainers... And they play to ratings... And they need anger and conflict for their biting style... I watch less and less of these things... They anger me...



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