‘The Daily Show’ normalizes hate speech for views



Trevor Noah is photographed on Nov. 29, 2016 at a screening of “Arrival” in New York City. (Mark Von Holden/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)

By Tatiana Rodriguez, Columnist

Discourse and debate seem to be big buzzwords in today’s turbulent political environment among individuals from both the left and right wings. Political discourse is important. By talking things out, debating and trying to see other points of view, our fragmented society might be able to understand each other more easily.

While political discourse is vital to ensure that voices are heard and changes are made, the means of achieving discourse and respectful discussion falls into murky waters.

Tone policing and respectability politics are entrenched in the idea of a respectable debate — making it impossible for some unheard voices to be represented — and political correctness is a debate all on its own.

But one of the new things you can add on to the list of discourse problems is how when some voices are brought into the spotlight, particularly dangerously conservative voices, they are then normalized.

“The Daily Show” last week highlighted this to me. “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah spent about 25 minutes talking in circles with political commentator Tomi Lahren about her position on various Donald Trump statements, the Black Lives Matter movement and border control.

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Lahren has been rising to fame due to her controversial webshow “Tomi” in which she provides scathing and poisonous political commentary on various issues. She constantly berates anyone who is looking to make progress and hides her disgusting and misinformed opinions under the veil of “being a patriot” and trying to “make America great again.”

Lahren doesn’t get this twisted idea about America’s spotless history on her own, though. Clearly, the millions of people who voted in favor of President elect Donald Trump’s slogan concur.

Yet while democrats, liberals and leftists alike disagree with this clouded perception, mainstream media such as “The Daily Show,” have given white supremacists such as Lahren the big, perfect platform to spew their ignorance.

While Lahren has already gained significant buzz on social media, she doesn’t even describe herself as being a part of mainstream media. But don’t worry, Tomi, “The Daily Show” is here to help you get to that point.

“The Daily Show,” a comedy show with the premise of being a fake news source, has always thrived off of its discussions with trending political figures, leaders and correspondents. By challenging the more controversial guests with a mixture of comedy and fact-based debate, “The Daily Show” draws in viewers waiting to see controversial subjects shaken up by the show’s quick humor.

Though “The Daily Show” has often been criticized for not conducting more productive or thorough interviews, the show has stood its ground by reminding critics that at its core, the show is satirical.

While the show does succeed at achieving some sort of entertaining and respectable discourse, it gives guests like Tomi Lahren not only the opportunity to reach more viewers, but send her home with a paycheck for having spread her dangerous views across the country.

Yes, “The Daily Show” isn’t responsible for skewering its guests, but it is responsible for validating, normalizing and popularizing such a nasty and misinformed person.

Instead of inviting on controversial people who condemn marginalized Americans for voicing their injustices for shock value, leave them alone.

If “The Daily Show” claims to be so against the type of ideas that Lahren so forcefully hammers into her own brain, they should just ignore her approach at political commentary and let it die out. Instead, they prolong her career built on hate by giving her the opportunity to gain a larger following.

There have been mixed responses from people who viewed the episode. Some think that either Lahren or Noah “destroyed” each other. But what I saw was two individuals who held their own while disagreeing with each other — making it pretty difficult to see Lahren in the light that I had already viewed her in on her show.

And that’s the most dangerous part, that while Lahren sloppily gives her immature political comments on her own show, she appears calm and collected on “The Daily Show” — one of the biggest media platforms she’s been able to stand on thus far.

Lahren saw the opportunity to be integrated into the mainstream by clinging onto “The Daily Show” and she did it by appearing as graceful as possible.

So thanks, “The Daily Show.” Thanks for giving this repulsive brain a chance at gaining more mindless fans than she already has. Thanks for making opinions like hers more accepted in mainstream media. You had the choice of letting her hate speech wither away, but instead you chose to gain more viewers yourself.

I know better now to not expect much from a satirical news show.

Tatiana is a freshman in Media.

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