We’ve spent last week revisiting “The Godfather” after a prankster called CNN’s Christopher Cuomo “Fredo” in public. John Cazale’s character in the epic gangster film served as the lesser brother in the Corleone clan.
In short, it’s hardly a compliment.
Cuomo overreacted, threatening violence against the fellow who, it should be said, pulled his stunt in front of the anchor’s wife and child.
CNN rallied around its partisan player, as did some unlikely suspects (Sean Hannity, included). It’s clear the stranger struck a nerve, though. He weaponized both pop culture and humor against a reliably unreliable journalist.
And it left a mark while launching endless memes.
So it’s no surprise Cuomo behaved as poorly as he did. It’s part of a larger issue among the progressive left, though, one that exposes a key weakness President Donald Trump routinely exploits.
Mockery matters, and liberals have a glass jaw when it comes to jokes lobbed in their direction.
Consider the case of The Babylon Bee. The conservative answer to The Onion serves up blistering political and Christian satire. Here are two giddy examples:
The latter faux headline arrives with a purpose. Snopes.com, a site dedicated to fact-checking media reportage, can’t stop dinging the Bee … an openly satirical news site. It’s like The Washington Post shredding a “Saturday Night Live” sketch line by line.
It’s … absurd.
So why bother? Snopes.com has taken a leftward lurch in recent times, soft pedaling fibs by progressives in the process. So fact-checking Bee stories comes off as both partisan and petty. It’s more than that, though.
Snopes once teamed with Facebook to make sure Fake News stories didn’t go viral. That put Bee articles, which can catch fire on social media, in a tough spot. If they got booted from the platform the site would lose a vital source of revenue.
It’s why the humor site is taking its war with Snopes.com seriously.
National Review spotted a key reason for the Snopes/Bee kerfuffle. If you peruse Snopes’s many, many Babylon Bee fact-checks, you’ll find it’s quite diligent in policing hits on progressive politicians and far less concerned about the Bee’s many satirical swipes at Trump.
Liberals fear comedy could make their progressive heroes look foolish. It’s why the far-left Jezebel piled on, calling the Bee a “humor” web site.
The Jezebel scribe picked one of the Bee’s best recent stories and declared it a dud. Here’s the Bee headline in question:
The headline mocks the Democrat whose claims of verbal abuse evaporated in real time.
Now, here’s the “response” from Jezebel: “The blog was unfunny to the point where it was not easily identifiable as satire, or anything remotely resembling comedy.”
This isn’t the only time left-leaning souls sought to squelch conservative satire. Last year, CRTV’s Allie Stuckey conducted an obviously fake interview with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by some simple splice and dice editing. You didn’t need a journalism degree to spot the satire. Late night shows routinely share similar shtick.
And nary a soul complains about it.
Still, a gaggle of journalists rushed to declare the AOC “interview” fake news. Why? It made Ocasio-Cortez look ridiculous. That’s what the best satire does.
Conservative comic Michael Loftus knows the game all too well. He once tried to pitch a more ideologically balanced late night comedy show around Hollywood. The concept fell on a deaf ears, with suits telling him they didn’t want to appear friendly to the Right.
For now, the Left holds a near-stranglehold on pop culture and, by extension, political humor. The next late night host to tackle Ocasio-Cortez with a withering put down will likely be the first.
These hosts would rather weaponize their monologues against conservatives, hoping to draw rhetorical blood.
It’s one reason the Left loathes Trump with such a passion. He’s uniquely adept at poking fun at his ideological foes. One day he calls potential rival, Vice President Joe Biden, “Sleepy Joe.” The next he might illustrate the folly of Red Flag legislation by saying someone like Cuomo isn’t stable enough to own a firearm.
It drives the political left to distraction, all the more reason for them to stop attempts at conservative comedy in its tracks.
Christian Toto is the editor of the Colorado-based HollywoodInToto.com.