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Cancel Culture is Real, But Trump Does It Most of All

Cancel Culture is Real, But Trump Does It Most of All

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During his Monday return to the anchor chair, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart brought up the topic of the so-called cancel culture that is allegedly plaguing the political right. He concluded that while mostly these pundits claim the woke left are coming to get them, the true cancel culture of today only occurs when a Republican speaks ill of former president Donald Trump

Following some light jabs and gags around Trump’s current criminal trial in New York — one which had Stewart comparing the former president to the cartoon character Mr. Magoo (‘He’s just stumbling around, quid pro quo and metal beams falling all around, gets out completely unscathed”), the host brought up the hot topic of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. The religious pro-athlete gave a commencement speech at Benedictine College last week where he condemned abortion, euthanasia, IVF, surrogacy and the LGBTQ community — and then denounced the “diabolical lies told to women,” suggesting the benefits of enforcing traditional gender roles.

Stewart noted that, if you happen to tune into more conservative media, a major scandal is indeed rocking the NFL players.

“The left seeks to destroy an outspoken NFL Catholic” … “He’s been doxxed. He’s been slammed. He’s calling for him to be canceled,” are some quotes from a supercut that Stewart aired on Monday’s show. In the final soundbite, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said: “They will try to denigrate you, isolate you, cancel you, and ultimately silence you completely. But, be not afraid.”

This, Stewart argues, shows how right-wing media figures can mischaracterize criticism as attempts to silence another right-wing figure. Stewart emphasized that being held accountable is not the same as being censored. And he noted the irony of those who decry cancel culture while often engaging in it themselves.

In 2024, the host said we are “surrounded by and inundated with more speech than has ever existed in the history of communication” and then we find it “weaponized by professional outrage hunters of all stripes, scouring the globe for graduation speech snippets, offhand comments during promotional tours, out of context, comedy bits, lame marketing ideas or any words and phrases they believe they can latch onto to generate monetized clicks.” 

Stewart then borrowed a classic childhood phrase to describe threats of canceling: “They who smelt it, dealt it.” As in, the accuser of cancelation is typically the one going on the attack, while shutting down someone’s speech about which they disagree.

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“Anyone who dares speak out against him, or refuses to buy into Trump’s stolen election claims, you’ll lose your job like Liz Cheney or countless others,” Stewart said. “In fact, everything the right says cancel culture does to them is actually being done by MAGA.” 

Trump, as Stewart showed, is defended — vigorously and with many factual errors by one MAGA Nation fan — when he has gaffes worse than any President Joe Biden flub or stumble (the GOP leader is shown confusing Nancy Pelosi and Nikki Haley in a speech).

“Because on the right, you can say whatever you want about gay people and trans people,” the host said, referring to speech from conservative pundits. “From TikTok to Patreon, you can decry DEI for a podcast, even the Governor’s Office of Florida, and chances are, not only will you be fine — you’ll get a raise. But if you ever dare speak out one iota against Donald Trump… be yes, afraid.”

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