If you’re old enough to remember the days when satire site The Onion wasn’t a clanging mess of wokeness that’s become a satire of a satirical site, one can assume you associate that era with the startup chimes of Windows 95 and the screeching of a dial-up modem. Try explaining any of this to your children and they’ll likely stare at you like you were explaining how your first car had to be hand-cranked to start.
For the rest of you, let me explain: Back in the day, The Onion was a fairly ecumenical satire site. While it skewed liberal, it made fun of everybody. It was one-stop parody shopping. Then, the George W. Bush administration came around and things took a turn. By the time Barack Obama was in the White House, The Onion couldn’t have been more in the tank for the Democratic Party.
In the last few years, the Babylon Bee has emerged as a Christian, conservative alternative to The Onion. However, the rise of the Babylon Bee has unnerved the media, which has dedicated an unusual amount of resources to fact-checking its stories — resources which were never spent on The Onion, despite the fact it was far more ubiquitous during its heyday than the Babylon Bee is now. (The Western Journal has chronicled the double standard — and will continue to call the media out on their hypocrisy. You can help us by subscribing.)
Nowhere was the left’s double standard on satire more evident than over the past week, where the Babylon Bee was suspended from its Twitter account for calling a man a man while The Onion called a sitting U.S. senator a “pedophile” and, as of Wednesday morning, has faced no punitive action because of it.
On Sunday night, the Babylon Bee’s CEO, Seth Dillon, announced that the publication had been locked out of its account for “hateful conduct” over a story in which the publication called Health and Human Services assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine its “Man of the Year.”
“Rachel’s original name is Richard Levine, but he changed it to Rachel for some strange reason a few years ago. Who cares? Who says a dude as accomplished as this can’t be named ‘Rachel?’” the article read.
“This king doesn’t care what people think about him! He often wears a dress, which some people think is weird — but he doesn’t care one bit. Come on! Men in India wear dress-type garments, don’t they?”
The publication had been spoofing USA Today, which put Levine — a transgender man who spent most of his life as Richard Levine — on its “Women of the Year” list.
Dillon said that Twitter had told the Babylon Bee that it would remain suspended for 12 hours after it deleted the tweet — which they refused to do.
The publication’s last public tweet was this one on Sunday evening:
Nation Wishes There Were Some Way They Could Have Known About The Hunter Biden Laptop Story Before The Electionhttps://t.co/XeV22kuqDh
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) March 20, 2022
There’s a sad irony there, given that story was a spoof on Twitter’s decision to lock the New York Post out of its account for reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election, along with the media’s reluctance to report on it.
Then on Tuesday, Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley was making headlines for his questioning of President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In particular, Hawley had zeroed in on a child pornography offender she sentenced to just three months in prison despite sentencing guidelines that called for 10 years behind bars, according to The Daily Caller.
Not only that, Hawley said she Jackson had gone so far as to say she was sorry for him.
“Didn’t you apologize to him? And I just got to tell you, I can’t quite figure this out,” Hawley asked Jackson.
“You said to him, ‘This is a truly difficult situation. I appreciate that your family’s in the audience. I feel so sorry for them, and for you and the anguish this has caused all of you. I feel terrible about the collateral consequences of this conviction.’ And then you go on to say ‘sex offenders are truly shunned in our society.’ I’m just trying to figure out, judge, is he the victim here?”
Jackson responded she considered the case “to be unusual” because the offender was “a very young man, [who] just graduated from high school.”
Here was The Onion’s take on that:
— The Onion (@TheOnion) March 22, 2022
Some Twitterers noted this seemed problematic:
That looks like slander rather than parody to me.
— Rosehedge (@RosehedgeCap) March 22, 2022
What happened to @TheOnion?
— M (@LostinPNW) March 22, 2022
If the Babylon Bee wrote this they would be locked out of Twitter. But the DNC humor is allowed.
— Life Explorer 🐶🍺🌍 (@LeoNYC) March 22, 2022
And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t get any better when you click the link.
“‘There should be no room for leniency when it comes to sentencing depraved child sex offenders like me,’ said Hawley, who grilled the judge for failing to lock him securely behind bars in a super-maximum security prison where ‘dangerous freaks’ like him belonged,” the article read.
A quote from “Hawley” from the story: “This country isn’t safe with people like me roaming around out there. Frankly, it’s sickening that I’m even allowed in this room, let alone public office. I’m literally looking at child porn on my phone right now, and what’s she doing? Just sitting there.”
Leaving aside the noxious nature of the Hawley story, it’s also not funny. Yes, I get it, it’s the old canard about social conservatives being secretly aroused by whatever licentiousness they were condemning. Hee-larious, but that doesn’t quite work when you’re satirically accusing someone of pedophilia.
The bigger picture, however, is more disturbing. We’ve now gotten to the point where Twitter’s terms of service are such that joking that a man is a man will get a publication banned. Meanwhile, joking that a senator is a pedophile when he isn’t will lead to no repercussions — assuming, of course, that senator is a Republican.
If you aren’t disturbed yet, you aren’t paying attention.
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