In the age of unlimited options where the public is bracketed by information overload, the surest way to capture ratings these days is to cater to the emotions of the zealots on the fringes. During the time of “the big three” networks, the incentive was to present a broad scope in order to gain market share. Now that consumers have choices in abundance, executives at various newsrooms decided the best bet was to gain market share is by speaking to a narrow audience. We, the consumers, play a part in this zeitgeist as we shop around for news that is in line with our ideology instead of consuming news that actually edifies us.
Yet, in this paradigm of panderers and carnival barkers, once in a while you encounter someone who actually seeks truth without regard to partisan constraints and ideological blinders. This is the thought that occurred to me when I was on set last week for a taping of Lee Camp’s show Redacted Tonight. In the interest of transparency, let me say from the outset that I was invited to the show because Lee was introduced to my writing by a friend and has since been a big supporter of the work that I do at the Ghion Journal. However, I’m not writing this article as a means of passing back the kindness; I authentically have been amazed by the work that Lee and his staff have been conducting at RT for quite some time.
Molly Ivins once said that satire was a weapon of the powerless against the powerful. Yet to call Lee’s work satire is to miss the brilliance behind his show. Although Lee is a comedian by trade and Redacted Tonight is tapped with an audience laughing to the zingers that Lee intersperses within the news segments he narrates, he finds a way to unmask media narratives and exposes the hypocrisy that is prevalent on all sides. Unlike his counterparts at Comedy Central who have turned news into an ideological form of entertainment, Lee takes a hammer to the wall of lies coming from news rooms and DC alike without reverting to political sectarianism.
In last week’s show, Lee discussed the duplicity of both Republicans and Democrats in ways rarely found at MSNBC, CNN, or Fox News. He did not curry favors with either side; in the process he showed how situational morality and astounding hypocrisy on all sides is leading us into the gutter as a society. The intellectually lazy thing to do these days from left leaning publications is to blame the ills of the world on Trump as if we were living in Utopia before January 20th, 2017. Outlets on the right do the polar opposite as they run interference for Trump and counter the “news” that is being peddled by the other side. Both sides are codependent; their business model is predicated on knocking down the straw men that other side keep manufacturing.
In one of the more memorable news segments I’ve heard in a while, Lee discussed how both Republicans and Democrats are pillaging our nation as they pretend that they are the defenders of justice and virtue. However, he noted that he expects the perniciousness of Republicans because they make no attempt to hide the fact that their primary concern is for the wealthiest among us. Lee then pivoted and rightfully pointed out the mendacity of the Democrats by using comedic genius to highlight the sheer insidious nature of the liberal establishment in DC. He compared the Democrats to a blind date where you think you are going out on an evening get together with Janelle Monae only to show up and be greeted with Chumlee from Pawn Stars. We laugh hardest at those things which are painfully the truest.
Lee is one of the few voices who is speaking against this nexus of disinformation and duplicity that the mainstream media outlets from left to right are engaging in. Our attention spans are short; too many of us flip our positions on a dime in order to fit news into our preconceived dogmas. Not too long ago, the left loved RT when they were standing up to Bush and the right used to vilify them. Now that the political winds have changed, the left is getting all neo-McCarthy with it as the right were not too long ago comparing Putin to their political deity Reagan. Lee, using wit and cutting satire, exposed the insincerity that is twisting partisans on all sides into human pretzels [read Pretzels Everybody].
It is imperative that we stop letting ideologues and demagogues from these two equally pernicious parties and the establishment punditry drive us into the ghettos of antipathy and separable grievances. The people you see in the media presenting injustice through an partisan prism are getting paid handsomely to act the part of shills. As they get rewarded with fortunes, the rest of us keep getting mired in more and more economic anxieties. Instead of listening to those who speak to our anger, it is best that we rebuke those who have hidden agendas and turn to those who don’t have political angles. Instead of peddling drivel to the zealots on the fringes, it is possible to speak to the disgruntled masses in the middle who don’t sleep, eat and drink partisan talking points.
Lee shows that one can speak up for truth and justice while retaining a sense of levity and without reverting to hackery. In all honesty, I have been following Lee’s work on RT for the last couple of years so it was an honor for him to invite me to the show and an even greater honor seeing how humble and down to earth he is. He and his whole staff interacted with the audience instead of making us feel like we were just stage props. Let Lee serve as a reminder that you can fight injustice with a smile and do so while retaining fidelity to humanity instead of loyalty to ideology. #AuthenticLEE
“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” ~ Peter Ustinov
If you appreciated this write up and you too appreciate those who speak truth to power without ideological or politcal blinders on, share this article on social media using #AuthenticLEE and follow Lee Camp on Twitter @LeeCamp and his show @RedactedTonight
Make sure to LIKE Lee’s page on Facebook and remember, seek media that does not speak to your emotions but actually nourishes your intellect. Click HERE or on the picture below to visit Lee’s page.
What is the Ghion Journal and the Ghion Cast about? Find out as I explain more about our mission, purpose and determination to reclaim free press.
This is what Ghion Cast and Ghion Journal bring to the table and why we value the work that Lee is doing, there are more of us out there speaking these truths instead of catering to the antipathy of people.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.