Jill Stein posted this to her Facebook a couple days ago:
We need to begin having honest conversations about the oppressive tactics corporate comedians continue to do towards already-marginalized groups of people.
And had this to add on her campaign website:
Oliver’s staff actually called our campaign before the program to ask for clarification on Jill’s platform – especially on the main part of his rant, cancelling student debt.
Despite this stab at due diligence (of the sort comedians undertake) … Oliver got it woefully, intentionally wrong. Gosh, it was almost as if they weren’t interested in the truth. It’s almost as if they just wanted to do a hatchet job…
Of course Oliver isn’t interested in the truth: he’s interested in making people laugh and in keeping his job. His show is a little better than some of his competitors because HBO doesn’t have to answer to advertisers, but it is owned by a company that answers to advertisers and lobbies the government. Of course corporate media forwards the goals of corporate media: it’s impossible for any sufficiently large corporation to pursue goals outside of growth and profit, because every decision is scrutinized by understandably penny-conscious shareholders. Oliver is a consumer-facing, front-line product from a Time/Warner company, and he fits into some larger strategy they have for growth and profit. To expect otherwise from a comedy show is misguided.
And this is the real problem. These comedy shows, like The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight, lampoon the news, and in doing so, replace the news for people that prefer to actually enjoy their television experience. I think the problems Stein should really be pointing out is that Oliver gets to market himself as news without needing to uphold journalistic standards, like supplements get to pose as medicine without upholding standards of safety and efficacy, and that the news has become so intolerable with the 24 hours news cycle that it’s difficult for me to believe anyone voluntary watches it (Their ratings must be falsely inflated by TVs in airports whose remote control has been misplaced.)
I’m considering voting for Stein come election day, Oliver’s piece made me laugh heartily, and it made no change to my convictions. When you decide to watch controversial, political, or lewd comedy, it’s just stupid to get offended when you, your ideology, or your identity is made fun. What did you expect? That only things you dislike would be mocked? To try to suppress this would be an affront to free speech, one of our most important freedoms. Not only is this stupid, but you cede power to the comedian when you do this, and you’ll often make the joke funnier for the target audience. If you want an example of how to handle being made fun of, and it’s uncomfortable for me to praise a group I have so many problems with, look no further than how the Mormon Church handled “The Book of Mormon”:
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.
Let me rephrase that for you Jill Stein:
Jon Oliver may attempt to entertain viewers for an 20 minutes or so, but the ideology of the Green Party is designed to benefit the general population of the United States, unlike the corporatist duopoly.