After a month-long hiatus rife with free booze for the recently canceled Nightly Show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee returned with a vengeance Monday night. Bee and her team dove deep into the moldy recesses of the “Latinos for Trump” campaign, but the comedian’s loudest, and most insightful segment came in the form of a resounding critique of Matt Lauer’s panned interview with Donald Trump. Sure, NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum happened a week ago, but that wasn’t enough time for Bee to forget. Not by a long shot.
The Daily Show and the New York Times editorial board devoted plenty of airtime and ink on paper to the matter. Both outlets honed in on Lauer’s (and NBC’s) apparent inability or unwillingness to fact-check Trump’s many false claims, albeit with comedy and polite suggestions respectively. Bee and Full Frontal, however, took a different approach by responding to CNN’s Barbara Starr, who seemingly asked viewers to define “war crimes” on their own in a past clip:
“You heard her, average American. In your plentiful spare time, when you’re not working your two jobs or watching your screaming kids, why not spend 20 or 30 hours studying the Geneva Conventions so you know whether or not it’s okay to steal another country’s oil? That’s so much easier than asking reporters and moderators to do their f*cking jobs.”
Bee followed up this rather vitriolic request with a series of clips featuring Fox News’ Chris Wallace, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, CNN’s particularly snarky chyron writers, and — say it ain’t so! — Anderson Cooper. In all instances (except the chyron), they disputed the role fact-checking plays in their work and tried to move past any criticism to the contrary. The general argument? Fact-checking often results in an opinion, and the news isn’t supposed to be opinionated.
But as the media’s ongoing, if uneven scrutiny of Clinton’s email scandal proves, per Bee, fact-checking is absolutely essential. Especially since its coverage is so often opinionated — if not outright biased — for or against certain political parties, policies or people.
For the record, the open of Bee’s show is worth watching as well.