Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Oliver and other comedians like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee offered respite to millions of Americans from an especially fraught political season.
President-elect Trump, however, doesn’t seem to be a fan of political satire. He recently tweeted that Alec Baldwin’s bombastic, puffy-lipped impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live was “unwatchable,” and that Vanity Fair’s editor has “no talent” after the magazine published a comedic review of Trump Grill calling the restaurant – and its owner – “a cheap version of rich.”
So, while you may think it's going to be a long 4 years for you. It's going to be a long 4 years for Trump, too.
He has threatened to “open up” libel laws during his campaign, criticized leading publications for publishing content he disagrees with, and has yet to hold a press conference since his victory in November.
Yeah, good luck with "opening up" the libel laws. Man up, Twitter King.
“We need satire when we don’t have good journalism,” adds Baym. “They fill the same function of information and critique. ‘Speaking truth to power’ is a cliche but there is great power to it – it’s why free speech is the First Amendment. A democracy needs this open expression.”
And an outside voice holding Trump accountable is especially necessary now, says Amber Day, an expert on political satire at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
“There is the danger of reporting on President Trump the way that the press reports,” says Dr. Day. “It would normalize his policies in a way they should not be normalized. Satirists point out things that aren’t normal.”
Any chance we could have the satire and good journalism?
Baym agrees. And, he adds, the more Trump tries to suppress criticism, the more satirists will do their job and send barbs his direction.
Let the slings and arrows fly!