For many Jon Stewart fans, Trevor Noah hasn’t quite lived up to the high expectations that are associated with “The Daily Show.”
However on Wednesday, the South African comedian might have finally had his "Jon Stewart moment" with the appearance of conservative blowhard Tomi Lahren for an extended 25-minute interview.
The Ann Coulter wannabe is an anchor for Glen Beck’s multimedia platform, The Blaze. She made a name for herself for criticizing President Barack Obama following the Chattanooga, Tenn., terrorist attack that killed five U.S. servicemen. She caused another media firestorm when she slammed Beyoncé for her politically-charged performance at Super Bowl 50.
Recently, Lahren’s incendiary rants about Black Lives Matter and her condemnation of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who has protested social injustice buy refusing to stand during the national anthem before NFL games — have garnered biting rebukes.
Lahren obviously knew that she was walking into a liberal "lion’s den," but it’s doubtful that she was prepared for what Noah had in mind.
“Why are you so angry?" Noah asked the Dallas-based host.
Lahren’s response was as tone-deaf as her usual vitriol as she insisted that she wasn't angry, which was glaringly contrary to clips of her viral “Final Thoughts” rants.
In one clip, she calls anti-Trump protesters "crybabies with nothing better to do than meander around the streets with their participation trophies and false sense of purpose."
Later in the interview, Noah pointed out that, “For somebody who is not racist, you have to spend a lot of time saying ‘I am not racist.’”
The conservative commentator said that she criticizes Black Lives Matter because of the “rioting” and “looting” that occurs at some of the protests, insisting that the entire movement ascribes to an aggressive anti-police narrative.
Noah responded by saying, “You’re the same person who argued on your show that just because Donald Trump has supporters from the KKK doesn’t mean he’s in the KKK.”
He argued that Lahren was guilty of a double standard because, by her own logic, all police would be considered racist because some officers discriminate against black people.
Typically, she evaded the question and instead resorted to pulling out a dubious statistic that black men are “18.5 times more likely to shoot a police officer than a police officer is to shoot a black man.”
“Those are the statistics no one wants to talk about,” Lahren said while arguing that she’s not racist because she “doesn’t see color.”
Noah’s answer was quick and biting as he quipped, “So what do you do at a traffic light?”
Turning to Lahren’s criticism of Kaepernick, Noah asked her about how black people in America should meaningfully assert their First Amendment rights if, in her opinion, peaceful protests and marches are inappropriate.
"Here's a black man in America who says, 'I don't know how to get a message across. If I march in the streets, people say I'm a thug. If I go out and I protest people say it's a riot.' What's the right way for a black person to get attention in America?" Noah asked.
Lahren didn’t have a cogent answer to the question.
For the past year, Noah has found it difficult to capture the aura left by Stewart. Interviews have not been Noah's forte. He’s been quick to soften the mood with light jokes if things get heated.
Noah turned the corner with his interview with Lahren. He was clear and incisive in his responses. He pressed her about her controversial and incendiary views, yet at the same time looked to find common ground wherever he could.
Often when Stewart manned the desk, we wished that mainstream news outlets would conduct their interviews with the same adversarial spirit as he did. Noah’s interview with Lahren recalled that sentiment.
After a little more than a year since taking over “The Daily Show,” Noah may have finally found his voice; unfortunately for Lahren, it came at her expense.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Flickr, Gage Skidmore