News

10 Ways Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Will Handle The Next Four Years

Executive Producer Jo Miller Talks About Sticking Up For Journalists And Calling Out Propaganda

by | February 8, 2017 | Comments

The producers of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee were devastated when Donald Trump won the election. It’s no secret that the producers of the comedy news show were Hillary Clinton supporters, but this year they’ve gone back to work satirizing the first steps of the new administration and prepping for the next four years.

Jo Miller was a writer for The Daily Show from 2009 to 2015 and now writes and produces Full Frontal. It didn’t take long for Full Frontal to join the ranks of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver as one of the go-to sources for a laugh about otherwise depressing news. Many of their segments go viral with YouTube clips after they air.

Miller spoke to Rotten Tomatoes after a Full Frontal panel for the Television Critics Association. Still sporting her “Nasty Woman” T-shirt, Miller had a lot of opinions about the new President and how best her show could help resist what she considers damaging policies. Here are 10 ways Miller feels Full Frontal and the media at large can fight for democracy.


1. STOP MAKING PLANS

Since Full Frontal is weekly instead of daily, they thought they’d have more time to plan each show. They’ve learned to be ready to drop everything on Tuesday night if big news happens before their next show.

“We found that when we formulate a plan, reality intervenes,” Miller said. “We plan a show every week and something happens the night before.”


2. MORE EXPERTS LIKE MASHA GESSEN

Bee interviewed Gessen, a Russian journalist who moved to the U.S. in 1981, then back to Moscow in 1991. Gessen warned Bee that Trump could ban newspapers from the White House and implore American citizens to turn in immigrants. She said most resistance to authoritarians is unsuccessful, but encouraged Bee to keep panicking and define the lines she would not cross.

“If this does turn out to be a successfully authoritarian government, if the Republican House doesn’t get really tired of these shenanigans and take him out in a few months, then we need help from other people who have lived under repressive regimes to know what our role is and how to function,” Miller said. “Masha gave us a preview of what the process for debasing language was like. We saw it with terms like ‘fake news.’”


3. STOP CALLING COMEDY FAKE NEWS

Jon Stewart used to self-deprecatingly call The Daily Show “fake news,” but the 2016 election uncovered actual outlets creating stories to misinform the public, like the Pizzagate child sex ring. So Miller redefined shows like The Daily Show and Full Frontal as commentary rather than fake news.

“We’re just commentary with jokes,” Miller said. “We rely on journalists. Very occasionally we will go and investigate news ourselves if nobody else has. We are piggybacking on the work of journalists, so we’re not news. I think ‘fake news’ for The Daily Show was a holdover from the 1990s when Lizz [Winstead] created the show. It was a parody of news. It hadn’t been fake news under Jon’s hand for a decade anyway. It’s commentary.”


4. PAY FOR JOURNALISTS’ LEGAL FEES

When Meryl Streep spoke about protecting the press in her Golden Globes speech, Miller had a reality check. “How the hell is she supposed to do that?,” Miller asked. “I mean, she could pay for defense lawyers. What does it mean for a movie star to protect the press?”

During the campaign, Trump spoke about suing journalists for libel. Even a frivolous lawsuit would cost a lot to defend, and the billionaire President has more money than any working reporter. So it will fall on wealthy benefactors to step in and defend the press.

“Have deep pockets,” Miller said. “I think [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos is going to defend the press because he can pay their defense lawyers.”


5. REPORTERS NEED TO STICK TOGETHER

Reporters may work for competing news outlets, but they should agree on the principles of a free press. So when a reporter like CNN’s Jim Acosta is singled out by Trump, who refused to answer his question, Miller thinks journalists should stick together. Fox News anchor Shep Smith defended CNN against Trump’s claims that they are “fake news.” Miller had further suggestions.

“In the White House press pool, if someone is treated like Trump treated Acosta, I think the questions should stop,” Miller said. “There should be some solidarity. Until he answers Acosta’s questions, we’re not going to ask you any more questions. Which is really hard because you’re in competition with each other.”

On the other hand, if reporters stopped asking questions, Trump might be happy to end the press conference without answering any. Miller thinks reporters could call his bluff. “How long can he do that for?” Miller said. “How long can we get all of our news from his stupid tweets? That doesn’t make him look good. It makes him look weak.”


6. BRING BACK “PEOPLE ARE SAYING”

“People Are Saying” is a recurring Full Frontal segment where Bee puts forth theories based on anecdotal evidence. Miller said the show can always use “People Are Saying” to discuss rumors, and satirize the reporting of rumors in itself.

“We had so much fun with that with ‘Trump Can’t Read,’” Miller said. “So when we’re covering rumors or commenting on the fact that rumors are news, we will bring back ‘People Are Saying’ quite a bit.”


7. BRING BACK PAPERWEIGHTS

In their first season, Full Frontal began a segment called “Elected Paperweight of the Month.” One such “Paperweight” was Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, who chastised the legislature for missing sessions but neglected to note official session hours. Miller is considering expanding the Paperweight segment.

“One of my writers texted me and asked if a city could be a Paperweight after Biloxi decided it was ‘Great Americans Day,’” Miller said.


8. KEEP CALLING OUT WHITE PLIGHT AND OTHER ISSUES

As long as there are white men in the majority claiming oppression for mild offenses, Full Frontal will mock them. The debut “White Plight” segment featured singer Bo Bice’s complaint about being called a “white boy” in a Popeye’s Chicken. Miller likes the idea of recurring segments for persistent issues.

“I have a feeling that white people are going to be fragile again,” Miller said. “I think we are going to approach themes like the exclusion of women from the public sphere. We’re going to wind up with some themed recurring bits to explore the attacks on the press, for instance.”


9. REJECT THE BUBBLE

A common narrative during the 2016 election season was that liberal elites lived in a bubble and didn’t understand the America that was voting for Trump. Miller is here to say they’re not in a bubble. Rather, they’ve made a very determined decision to avoid people who have terrorized them their entire lives.

“There are a lot of us certainly in New York and L.A. who fled to the bubble because these people hated us,” Miller said. “They were mean to us in high school. They beat us up because we read books or we were gay. We know them already. We grew up with them. We know them rather well, some of us. We’re not all Lena Dunham.”


10. COVER MORE RURAL STORIES

Miller wants to see broader regional coverage in the news media. She concedes that the media tends to focus more on big city stories, but that doesn’t automatically make rural voters “real Americans.”

“Yes, I agree that rural matters aren’t covered,” Miller said. “Did you ever read Methland [by Nick Reding]? It’s a great book about the meth epidemic in America and the fact that it was just dumb luck that it didn’t touch New York. It was a rural thing. So we utterly failed to cover it. It was a secret epidemic that the media didn’t cover because it wasn’t happening in the media’s backyard. That is true. We need to cover them better, but to elevate them and label them as real Americans versus fake Americans, that’s really awful and I won’t have it. I will not have it that anybody who’s not white is an asterisk American.”


Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs Wednesday nights at 10:30 on TBS

Tag Cloud

Mary poppins what to watch chucky Marvel Studios Lifetime Christmas movies E! hollywood Martial Arts archives MSNBC American Society of Cinematographers football crime drama rotten movies we love NBA CBS Apple TV Plus Exclusive Video fresh Trivia sports children's TV Oscars Photos book adaptation New York Comic Con Rocketman critics saw razzies ratings kids godzilla nature Cartoon Network TCA 2017 LGBTQ blaxploitation WarnerMedia political drama Acorn TV FX on Hulu DC Comics WGN TCM SXSW sequels National Geographic Rock halloween tv series BBC America politics RT History Wes Anderson Discovery Channel Creative Arts Emmys CMT Epix book Trophy Talk BBC One worst Sony Pictures 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards television harry potter HBO Go GIFs toy story french Tarantino PlayStation crime thriller Alien directors Disney+ Disney Plus universal monsters TLC suspense joker Baby Yoda jurassic park Reality Chernobyl Kids & Family comiccon E3 Drama Set visit Pride Month Holidays richard e. Grant composers award winner transformers Opinion Comedy Central wonder woman 93rd Oscars TCA BBC FX 72 Emmy Awards Ovation Horror supernatural The Purge Pirates TV movies 1990s Summer international deadpool rotten cancelled television natural history LGBT sequel space 4/20 GLAAD scene in color reviews A&E MTV japanese biography comic Comedy technology vampires binge Stephen King 2021 doctor who streaming IFC Films Nat Geo APB stop motion Apple Extras psychological thriller animated TCA Awards Song of Ice and Fire obituary satire Holiday new zealand parents Winter TV First Reviews VH1 Writers Guild of America Musicals Binge Guide The CW Superheroe prank green book Year in Review Lifetime new york science fiction Tumblr elevated horror psycho Amazon Studios reboot Image Comics NYCC Country Red Carpet See It Skip It Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt pirates of the caribbean USA Network Paramount USA marvel cinematic universe Western zero dark thirty king kong nbcuniversal boxoffice screen actors guild Podcast historical drama Teen screenings golden globe awards stoner Endgame Box Office DirecTV canceled SundanceTV Sundance worst movies comic books Heroines a nightmare on elm street Anna Paquin strong female leads dc adaptation Cannes Sundance TV Walt Disney Pictures Biopics The Witch Paramount Plus Netflix 2020 casting video die hard Black History Month Video Games Hulu cars trailers Cosplay dragons Spectrum Originals hidden camera witnail legend asian-american PBS target know your critic Election Toys aapi telelvision discovery quibi game show cops twilight Comic Book BET indiana jones game of thrones Apple TV+ Fantasy Star Trek Valentine's Day A24 scary movies Dark Horse Comics Pacific Islander Fox News Winners rt archives Film Mystery 90s Action aliens FOX laika olympics TNT Crackle Super Bowl italian Spike CNN mockumentary halloween Logo SDCC Quiz Marathons kaiju miniseries Pop TV anime 99% rom-coms Mudbound Classic Film Schedule ViacomCBS Superheroes docudrama Starz Syfy Watching Series TBS child's play mutant versus Disney streaming service singing competition spanish language spain tv talk ABC breaking bad Comic-Con@Home 2021 The Academy dramedy San Diego Comic-Con Spring TV Mindy Kaling festivals TCA Winter 2020 MCU 45 Countdown Infographic independent OneApp TV renewals DGA sag awards YouTube Red OWN finale social media boxing cooking fast and furious History Nickelodeon black Turner toronto Comics on TV Turner Classic Movies crime free movies king arthur Awards Tour travel foreign YouTube Premium Amazon Prime Video superman YA NBC medical drama ITV monster movies Disney Channel james bond President Columbia Pictures ABC Family Musical HBO Max zombies RT21 dark Tokyo Olympics nfl Travel Channel X-Men sitcom revenge Marvel Television based on movie GoT 2019 First Look Television Academy justice league Pet Sematary Best and Worst Trailer Ellie Kemper comics Music Disney Plus Captain marvel The Walt Disney Company spinoff blockbuster unscripted Paramount Network Academy Awards indie facebook Bravo Legendary BET Awards Awards Tubi venice The Arrangement Film Festival concert Funimation australia Ghostbusters spy thriller Character Guide Black Mirror spider-man ESPN south america Shudder japan Grammys VICE DC streaming service remakes romance zombie 2015 2017 TruTV Pixar Hallmark comedies video on demand Food Network Disney Women's History Month name the review Emmys PaleyFest jamie lee curtis documentary all-time Premiere Dates new star wars movies Mary Poppins Returns franchise Vudu Mary Tyler Moore Fall TV BAFTA basketball Marvel TV TIFF YouTube Thanksgiving Lionsgate 007 Avengers movies AMC The Walking Dead classics adenture Amazon Prime CW Seed Shondaland cancelled TV shows werewolf cancelled Lucasfilm Calendar crossover 21st Century Fox Interview Netflix Christmas movies talk show Emmy Nominations Sundance Now Showtime Warner Bros. docuseries renewed TV shows ABC Signature cancelled TV series Certified Fresh 71st Emmy Awards documentaries 2016 cats Masterpiece Polls and Games 20th Century Fox Crunchyroll Freeform El Rey popular Fox Searchlight dceu blockbusters streaming movies HBO Christmas slashers disaster Britbox Amazon festival cinemax dogs Reality Competition best anthology Broadway Rom-Com Peacock Esquire theme song FXX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina period drama live action DC Universe romantic comedy criterion Pop thriller hist films news Animation Elton John Star Wars Hallmark Christmas movies robots Universal Arrowverse mission: impossible batman Tomatazos war TV Land superhero hispanic TV One 2018 Nominations teaser police drama true crime Brie Larson diversity Family high school adventure Sneak Peek IFC spanish lord of the rings Rocky movie cartoon Sci-Fi stand-up comedy 24 frames christmas movies CBS All Access Television Critics Association cults heist movie serial killer ID women ghosts emmy awards Hear Us Out kong canceled TV shows Adult Swim VOD golden globes latino scorecard