Who would you turn to for advice on civility and our divided culture? If you said Samantha Bee, the same person who vomited out attacks on “lying ghoul,” Nazi, “cunt” conservatives, you have the same thinking as CBS This Morning. On Tuesday, the hosts conducted a friendly interview with the liberal Full Frontal host. They never one asked Bee about infamously trashing Ivanka Trump as a “feckless cunt.”
Instead, co-host Gayle King touted the comedian’s upcoming hosting of an alternative White House Correspondent’s Dinner. The journalist worried, “Don’t we need fun, too, Samantha? The country is so divided and so nasty and so mean.” She added, “So, how do you navigate those waters? How do you know how far you can go to the line without crossing it?”
How do you navigate the line without crossing it? Again, this is the woman who compared Fox News viewers to Nazis and racists. She snarled at Kirstjen Nielsen, calling the Department of Homeland Security Secretary a “lying ghoul.” So maybe Bee isn’t the best person to ask about reforming our “mean” culture?
Instead, co-host John Dickerson asked if there were any topics Bee wouldn’t approach:
There are definitely things that are too serious to joke about. We don't joke about those things. We find the line as we get to it. You know what I mean? We don't have an agenda on the show that is like “This feels off topic for us.” We take every story that feels important to us and figure out if there's a path through it that we can make on the show. If there is no path, we leave it to Frontline.
It’s not as though Bee was trying to hide her status as an angry Democratic hack. Asked about the party’s infighting, she explained, “There's always infighting within the Democratic Party. That's what we are good at.” Note the emphasis on “we.”
But the journalists at CBS didn’t notice. To them, Bee’s just another media expert on civility and a self-described independent.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
[Clip of Samantha Bee]
JOHN DICKERSON: That That is comedian Samantha hosting the Not the White House Correspondent's Dinner for the first time. It was her alternative to the official event honoring political reporters. Although political reporters don’t think they do it to honor themselves. The real White House Correspondent's Dinner is Saturday in Washington. Once again, President Trump will not attend. Instead of a comedian, Historian Ron Chrenow will be the featured speaker. So, for the second time, the host of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee will host her own dinner to air at the same time. Samantha, good morning.
SAMANTHA BEE: Thank you so much for having me.
DICKERSON: So, after you did the first one, you said “I'm not going to do this again.”
BEE: I didn't think it would be necessary. But, it turns out, now that we are not having a comedian at the dinner, it felt like it was time to —
DICKERSON: You are answering a national call.
BEE: It's a national call, really. Doing the Lord's work here. Yes.
DICKERSON: So, what can we expect? A long list of celebrities.
BEE: A long list of special guests. We are doing some great music. Ultimately, we are honoring journalists. Journalism is under siege for sure. So, we want to highlight that and have a fun night. We want to provide an alternative event that is joyful and celebratery and ridiculous. And all the things that go into it.
GAYLE KING: Don’t we need fun, too, Samantha? The country is so divided and so nasty and so mean.
KING: So, how do you navigate those waters? How do you know how far you can go to the line without crossing it?
BEE: As you know, Gayle, big believer in the grand old First Amendment. We push limits on our show, for sure. But, we work our way through very difficult material. We try to highlight things that are important to us. We bring humor to it, too. I feel like it's a way for people to get to understand or process the things that are happening right now, which can be very devastating. I think, through the lens of humor is a way for people too.
NORAH O’DONNELL: How long have you been doing political humor?
BEE: I’ve been doing it so long.
O’DONNELL: It says in the notes 16 years.
BEE: 16 years. Yeah.
O’DONNELL: How do you think it's changed in that time that you have done it and how has it changed under this President?
BEE: It’s changed a lot under this President. The volume of news we are handling is, it feels insurmountable.
O’DONNELL: It’s like sipping water from a fire hose.
BEE: It is like a fire hose of news. We are not spending the amount of time that we used to. When I worked at the Daily Show, we would process the stories.
O’DONNELL: I think we are missing the depth.
BEE: It's difficult to when things keep coming at you.
DICKERSON: Is the challenge creating good comedy, not swinging at every single pitch?
BEE: You can't. We are lucky because we are only on once a week, so we get to sit back and kind of process, take it all in.
KING: Take the best pitches.
BEE: The best pitches and do, sit back and do a little more analysis. So, I feel lucky to not have to do it every day. Sorry, guys.
KING: How are you handling the Mueller report, Samantha Bee? How did you do that?
BEE: It's difficult. That’s difficult. I feel like — it's a difficult one. I'm not sure that people -- I mean, people have been really groomed. People are really being groomed in this administration to not take things seriously and not let stories sit with them and not let things stick. I find that very distressing. It’s incredibly distressing.
KING: We hear people want to know about it. Then we hear people are tired of it, too. So I wonder how you navigate that?
BEE: I don't know how you navigate it. You just have to keep bringing these things. We have to keep presenting them and hoping that —
DICKERSON: There are 20 Democrats running for President. A new one may have been announced since I started this sentence.
BEE: Most likely.
DICKERSON: Is that a gift?
BEE: It will be a very interesting year and a half. It's already so exhausting. I do feel like people should want to be president if they want to run for president. I feel like we have an accidental president, somewhat. I think if you are going to run for it, you should want to do the actual job, not just sell a book. That's my standard.
O’DONNELL: You have Senator Warren for the first time saying they should take steps toward potentially impeaching the president of the United States.
O’DONNELL: Whereas Speaker Pelosi has sort of put the breaks on. What do you think of the divide within the Democratic Party?
BEE: There's always infighting within the Democratic Party. That's what we are good at. So we’ll see how it shakes out. But I feel like people need to take this report seriously and sit with the implications of it. And I’m not sure we are capable of doing that these days.
DICKERSON: Do you think this — not the Mueller report or anything else — is too serious to joke about?
BEE: Oh, of course. There are definitely things that are too serious to joke about. We don't joke about those things. We find the line as we get to it. You know what I mean? We don't have an agenda on the show that is like “This feels off topic for us.” We take every story that feels important to us and figure out if there's a path through it that we can make on the show. If there is no path, we leave it to Frontline.
KING: Don’t you feel that you will never run out of material? That you will always have a job?
BEE: We will literally never run out of material. Democratic president, Republican president.