Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren made the mistake of going head-to-head on “The Daily Show” with late night host Trevor Noah Wednesday night, and liberals ate it up. But Noah didn’t exactly “eviscerate” her — he merely controlled the laugh tracks. One of the major reasons why liberals think Noah destroyed Lahren came in a few quick seconds, when she asked, “What did the KKK do?”
Out of context, that quote seems to betray ignorance — can 24-year-old Tomi Lahren really not know what the KKK did?! But in context, her quote is actually a solid argument against Black Lives Matter. Here is the context:
Noah: Do you really believe you’re criticizing and you’re not malintentioned when you say things like “Black Lives Matter is the new KKK?” … [You] really minimize what the KKK did and what they stand for, that is not the same thing. Surely you understand the incendiary feeling of your comments.
Lahren: When the Black Lives Matter movement is going out with signs saying “Fry them like bacon,” “F the police,” when they’re going out saying if you see a white person, target them — that is happening, Trevor. That happened in Milwaukee not too long ago. — when that now becomes the narrative and you’re starting to loot, burn, and riot, what did the KKK do? …
When there are people in the streets saying if you see a white person, “beat their a**,” does that not sound reminiscent of the KKK or their motives to you?
“What did the KKK do?” was a rhetorical question. Lahren was not asking out of ignorance, she was asking to make a point — the Klu Klux Klan is known for attacking black people due to the color of their skin. Some angry Black Lives Matter protesters reverse the formula, attacking white people due to the color of their skin. (This is not to say Black Lives Matter is equivalent to the KKK, but even today’s KKK does not perform the unspeakable racist acts the group is known for.)
Naturally, however, Lahren’s real mistake was going on the show with Noah to begin with. While she was making a solid point, Noah reacted incredulously: “Did you say what did the KKK do?!” Rather than treat her like a competent conversation partner and play along with her rhetorical question, he seized it as a way to mock her, and the laugh track sounded accordingly.
Next Page: This tactic should have been clear from the beginning.
This tactic should have been clear from the beginning. Earlier in the interview, Lahren explained that she thinks diversity of color is less important than diversity of thought. She insisted that she’d “never looked down on a person because of their skin color.” Then she went on to make the statement, “I don’t see color.”
The context of her statement was obvious — she doesn’t judge people on the color of their skin but on the content of their character, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. famously declared — but Noah immediately seized on the end of her statement, turning it into a punch line. “You don’t see color? So what do you do at a traffic light?”
Then Noah went on to express the very same idea that Lahren was defending. “There’s nothing wrong with seeing color, it’s how you treat color that’s more important,” he lectured her. Lahren’s immediate agreement (“you’re right, it is”) should have revealed this cheap shot for what it was, but Noah rushed to another issue.
Throughout the interview, Noah had the high ground, and the laughs and boos clearly favored his perspective, even drowning Lahren out from time to time. That’s not to say that Lahren was a perfect advocate for conservatism — she conceded far too many points to Noah, like solely blaming Republicans in Congress for Washington’s gridlock — but she started with a huge disadvantage.
I, for one, would love to see Noah and Lahren go at it again, but on neutral ground where they have equal footing. Conservatives should not cede ground on important issues, and they should not go on late-night liberal shows which will take every opportunity to turn them into a laughing stock. Tactics like this drove the anger at media which propelled Trump’s success, but conservatives need to be smart about how they navigate the airwaves.
Check out the video on the next page.