Aaaand last night it was Samantha Bee’s turn to say farewell to pre-2016-election coverage, as late night hosts have been doing one by one. One of Bee’s segments on Full Frontal last night took time to remind those watching — one day before voting (though it’s quite doubtful many watching Samantha Bee would have been on the fence) — of Trump’s disturbing threat to freedom of the press, and about how what he’s said of his potential presidency has a lot in common with none other than (surprise!) Putin’s suppression of criticism.
They share a similar enemy, Bee notes: “facts and the people who report them.” Bee travelled to Russia and held some interviews “to see what life would be like in a Utopian society where ‘lamestream media’ bias doesn’t exist” — a statement she made, juxtaposed with Trump’s own assertions that if he “becomes[s] President, oh does [the media] have problems” through his desire to “open up libel laws” and, as he loves to threaten, “sue them and win lots of money.” It seems he’d want to serially Hulk Hogan the mediascape.
While still in the States, pondering what to expect from her visit oversees, she speaks with Russian American author Masha Gessen (who wrote The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot and Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories and has been blacklisted on Russian TV for 16 years), who warns, “Just imagine a White House that blacklists critical journalists.” And once in Russia, Bee talks with journalist and pro-democracy leader Vladimir Kara-Murza, who speaks of being surveilled constantly…and having been poisoned and nearly killed. “In fact, since Putin took office in 2000, at least 54 journalists and activists critical of the Kremlin have been murdered,” says Bee.
It’s all summed up in one big question: could Bee go on Russian television and call Putin “a crotch fondling slab of rancid meatloaf” — as she did with Donald Trump? Kara-Murza responds, “I can’t even answer what would happen to you if you said those things on TV because you would not be able to say those things on TV full stop.”
“It’s cause for concern, because he wants be Putin,” says Gessen.
“I’m screwed,” concludes Bee.