The Problem With Jon Stewart - London Edition: Satire in the Age of Murdoch and Trump

Episode Date: March 8, 2023

Bloody hell! Jon is in London to talk about populism. Turns out it’s not unique to America! Jon is joined by Ian Hislop, editor of the satirical current affairs publication Private Eye Maga...zine, to discuss the reign of Rupert Murdoch, the economic consequences of a government run by lunatics, and the explicitly corrupt yet unbeatable right-wing propaganda machine. Season 2 is now streaming on Apple TV+. CREDITSHosted by: Jon Stewart Featuring, in order of appearance: Ian Hislop Executive Produced by Jon Stewart, Brinda Adhikari, James Dixon, Chris McShane, and Richard PleplerLead Producer: Sophie EricksonProducers: Zach Goldbaum, Caity Gray Assoc. Producer: Andrea BetanzosSound Engineer: Miguel Carrascal Senior Digital Producer: Freddie Morgan Digital Producer: Cassie Murdoch Digital Coordinator: Norma Hernandez Supervising Producer: Lorrie Baranek Head Writer: Kris Acimovic Elements Producer: Kenneth HullClearances Producer: Daniella Philipson Senior Talent Producer: Brittany Mehmedovic Talent Manager: Marjorie McCurryTalent Coordinator: Lukas ThimmSenior Research Producer: Susan Helvenston Theme Music by: Gary Clark Jr.The Problem With Jon Stewart podcast is an Apple TV+ podcast, produced by Busboy Productions.

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Normally I do this from my house and it's yeah, I have my computer Yeah, and so the fact that we have cameras here. Yeah, no, no, I was bored about the cameras. All right. Here you go You'll have to excuse me. I have a bit of jet lag I was supposed to take melatonin and I think it might have been opium. So if the brain isn't Working to the same extent just Sync up the album dark side of the moon put on your headphones and all of this will make sense I Hello
Starting point is 00:00:51 Welcome to the podcast. It's the problem with me Jon Stewart We're excited the Apple TV plus show is back. Our first episode was last week it was guns and crime and Oh, did I mention we're in London? I mean, we're in London right now. This is a special podcast We're doing it from the offices of the esteemed satirical magazine private eye and So I am not in my usual
Starting point is 00:01:19 Super weird-looking office. We are gonna be talking to Ian Hizlop today About his running of private eye magazine British politics. So it's gonna be it's gonna be an exciting podcast For all of us and we'll be running down everything from Brexit to Murdoch and we'll probably just stop there Because that could take up some time. Welcome. Thank you. This is thrilling. First of all for me It's thrilling to be here. We're in the offices of private, which is legendary a legendary satirical magazine Don't I see the look on your face the look on Ian Hizlop's face is one that says please sir
Starting point is 00:01:59 Do not praise me. Yeah, where I shall not accept your praise but accept it you my friend It's such an honor to me. You such a pleasure to me. You comedian satirist Cultural commentator prize fighter, which I was surprised to find out middleweight champion of the world Didn't realize that was in there brain surgeon first violinist What? Thank you for yeah, that's better. I prefer the job. Yes, and I apologize to you because my brain is not quite functioning fluent last night and Do you do you take melatonin to sleep ever? No
Starting point is 00:02:40 How do you what do you take? I usually legal action What's the treat? Speaking of legal action, sir, I Know that Rupert Murdoch has tried desperately to ruin your country And he's ruining ours. Yeah at present How do we? Legally stop him and I mean legally. Yeah, I don't think you can I mean there are monopoly laws, which I don't know whether they work in the US. They didn't really work here
Starting point is 00:03:18 We tried a bit of that. There was cross-party support It didn't really work under our Prime Minister Tony Blair In the end he decided it was better to suck with the devil. So he went and met Murdoch and He ended up in a compromise. I Think it's up to the rest of us just to challenge it I mean Murdoch is trying to set up at the moment He has a new television station in Britain, which is meant to be like Fox news really. Yeah
Starting point is 00:03:47 Which is called I think it's called talk TV and it stars and again, you can stars is the word Piers Morgan No, I'm not familiar with that name. No and nor with the the the use of the word star So He's the lead on this but I mean happily for all of us here. It's terrific flop and no one's watching So that's that's how they start but as a little bit of background. So there was a scandal in 2011 where and it's it's hard to even fathom sort of the depths of human depravity that they went to but ultimately it was the news of the world and they
Starting point is 00:04:26 Hacked into the phones of people who yeah had died. Yeah, and The revelation that came out of it was obviously the closeness of Rupert Murdoch to conservative MPs into the yeah the Tories The same thing is is happening again with are you familiar with this Dominion lawsuit? Yeah Yeah, I mean from our point of view. This is a continuation of the Trump assault on reality Which is essentially things that are quite obviously true You say aren't true and things that are quite obviously not true. You say are true. I mean, it is an attempt to Stop people Having any connection to the real world, right and when we watch from here
Starting point is 00:05:08 Fox News or I mean you know mainstream news with those people on it It's difficult to believe and often in Britain. We feel we're about five years behind the States So you got Trump. Okay, then we got Boris Johnson. Yes, you know, it's a diminished version But it's the same playbook and we get worried that we will end up in a world where it doesn't matter if you're found out Literally where you can come on and Boris Johnson has him. I mean he he has been found out He was removed from office, which is very good news, but they got they got Capone on taxes I mean he was removed from office from having parties, you know for for having wasn't actually he again This is part of the narrative everyone must remember
Starting point is 00:05:52 He was he was removed from office because all his government resigned after he appointed a man who was a known groper of young male assistants And he appointed him to a post in government right and then he sent out his ministers to say no No, I had no idea about him But actually he did he did his name was Pinscher and he called him Pinscher by name Pinscher by nature. You see that's knowledge. He did know about him and he appointed him So everybody in his cabinet, you know more or less from the top downwards apart from the lunatics sent letters saying I Can't work with you
Starting point is 00:06:28 You don't tell the truth. You have no moral compass. You have no ethics. Yeah, that's that's never been but can I tell you What a pleasure it is That British corruption is still so clever I mean Pinscher by name Pinscher by nature at least it's a joke at least it's you have to respect the Witticisms of the corruption. Yeah, I mean trouble is about Boris Johnson. We lost our sense of humor a while back It's no longer the the wild hair and the zip lining and getting stuck in the middle That doesn't doesn't thrill in the way that it used to know it's him coming up and saying look I told you you couldn't visit your grandmother in the care home when she's dying, but me I was pissed as a party
Starting point is 00:07:11 It's great. You do what I say, but me I don't have to do it. I don't apply to me That's right. We've got we've got the same thing working in the States with you know when they were doing the lockdowns You know that the sort of famous one is yeah, and there's some going to French Laundry Which is this beautiful restaurant the middle of everything? Yeah, and it gets people really angry people are still angry here Right if you we've got a scandal blowing up the the moment the then health secretary Was he literally was caught on a CCTV camera in his office? Snogging his assistant. He was married obviously Conservative you know traditionally this guy. No, he was snogging his assistant and in fact groping her bum
Starting point is 00:07:52 He was caught on CCTV. This is when we were meant to be observing social distancing six foot like he wasn't six foot away He had his tongue down a thread now and he'd appointed this woman I hate to interrupt you, but I just you know, I'm on a roll He appointed please this woman because he fancied her when they were at college And she never thought he was a bit of a geek, but when he became in the government He appointed her to his own team and then got off with it and the rest of us are thinking We're wondering whether we can go outside and have a cup of tea or whether we have to say we're exercising Whether the police will move us on and you're just groping people in your office. Yes
Starting point is 00:08:28 Now it does get you quite annoyed but to be fair I don't want to be fair in the in the early days of COVID that was how they tested Before they could swab yeah, you had to use your tongue Yeah, it was an oral test their head. That's it. That's exactly right And so they would just look if you could collect from the back of the tonsil. Yeah Through the tongue everyone was learning as they went to log I want to ask you about this because as somebody who's who's fought this yeah for your adult life this this idea of Public piety and private perversity and corruption and all these different
Starting point is 00:09:06 Elements I think the most difficult thing for me to understand as someone who got into the business of comedy The idea was always the fable of the Emperor has no clothes Yeah, and you always thought you know what to be that child Who sees things that are obvious that the grown-ups are pretending isn't there and to call it out. Yeah And you always imagine in the calling out That the crowd says my god The veil has been lifted. Yeah, and what you never thought is That you would call it out. So then everyone would just continue the farce naked the Emperor has no clothes and they go like
Starting point is 00:09:48 Yeah, but Yeah, it's so worse half the crowd say no, he's got clothes on he's got clothes on I can see the clothes or He's got clothes on and you're a pedophile. Yeah, you know, it's now conspiracy I mean if if you knew what I knew if you'd sat in your bedroom and read this blog, which isn't true You would know what I know as a person who sits in his bedroom and reads drivel on the internet You would know that he has actually got clothes on But he hasn't he really hasn't got clothes on that's the worst bit of getting to this stage is Small boy you me childish sense of humor thinking he's got no clothes on I'll point him out
Starting point is 00:10:27 The Emperor in the fable Realizes that he's made a fool of himself and he doesn't have any clothes on nowadays the Emperor's Trump the Emperor is Boris He says no, I have got clothes on and these machines That you're seeing through have made the the clothes invalid. I mean, it's just it is mad It's mad and and the only thing that seems to work and it worked here was repetition Tenacious as as that side if you say it often enough right at a certain point for us Boris Johnson He'd always been a liar, but he became a liability and at that point his own party thought
Starting point is 00:11:07 No, we've had enough of you now. Mm-hmm. I think There was a moment when there was elements in the Republican Party that began to think we might do better with someone else Now I don't know if someone else is gonna be worse, right, but you can tell me That but at least there is got some bad news. Okay How many years behind us? Are you about five? So you got about three and a half more years left and then it all is gonna fall through You know Trump is such an outsized figure. Yeah, but the groundwork for For Trump is really been laid in our country for the past 40 or 50 years. Yeah, and it is that
Starting point is 00:11:48 the right wing very explicitly Decided and this is in the 70s and 80s after Nixon was taken down and Roger Ailes Who ran Fox News for a long time was Nixon's advisor? They explicitly stated we need to control the narrative so that what happened to Nixon Could never happen again to another Republican and they built parallel structures of authority in news in
Starting point is 00:12:19 Institutions like universities in think tanks almost to shift To this other track this kind of Potemkin Village the facade that they could build on the side But you don't have that here. No They're their attempts to set it up, but we don't have a yet. We do have a very right-wing press at the moment I mean more so they have shifted
Starting point is 00:12:44 To the right and they become less representative. I think of the electorate But more representative of this rump of a conservative party, which we have left, right But we do have the BBC which obviously our government hates. I mean all governments hate the BBC The BBC is a sort of national broadcaster. It's Independent but funded by the license fee so all governments say the BBC is biased against us Which they aren't but they are critical of them right and criticism as you know, it's gum and stone on that No, it's a terrible thing and again following the Trumpian model, you know They have done it fairly explicitly have said we must get rid of the BBC because it's a not it's not allowing you real news
Starting point is 00:13:27 Right and by real they mean fake obviously, right? They're not allowing us to peddle a narrative which isn't true and it was certainly true during lockdown and There are a number of you know, they the anti-vaxxers were out There's a sort of group of of lunatic conspiracy theories which used to be on the fringe of the party that's right and then now in the middle of the party and The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph in particular have taken up a very extreme position Which is new for us, right?
Starting point is 00:14:01 So the the controlling of the sensible narrative is getting more difficult and they're just they're just indications that with the GB news which is Another attempt to be Fox News and they've employed most of the people who were thrown out of the last government So you've got Jacob Rees-Mogg on there and Nadine Dorris. There's names may not mean that you're beginning now that cycle of Government to media yeah, and that revolving door where they go into government to ruin everybody's lives and then get a pretty nice payday at a Media Institute or a media network and then they go live on television and say I was right all along, right? And you're thinking no, I do remember the bit where you weren't right at all
Starting point is 00:14:45 We're gonna show it to you. Yeah, and that's still not going to do it No, the difficulty sometimes is that the the legacy media or the mainstream media as they recall don't do themselves any favors By also falling prey to sensationalism what happened in the United States was the media finally met an entity as Narcissistic as they are and that's Trump and so they found in him this natural enemy and they took the bait and So their behavior during the Trump years Really was one of Okay, we are your enemy and we are your foe and we're going to behave in that manner and they lost some perspective Which gives fuel to those yeah, you say you got it here. Yeah
Starting point is 00:15:34 Because all you need is a little bit of a window opening. Yeah. Yeah, I mean and and that is the time to be cautious and I think Trump's gift was he managed to suggest that criticizing him was criticizing the general public Was criticizing ordinary Americans. Yes, and in this country, it's it's for people like myself to say Well, you would think that because you're very badly educated and you haven't thought about it as much as I have I mean that won't do we know that you don't you you don't defeat populist arguments by telling people they're stupid and We had this particularly over Brexit which is Britain leaving the EU which I
Starting point is 00:16:15 thought at the time and still think and Now opinion polls have come around to our point you that that was a terrible terrible error It was an outbreak of sort of Trumpian nationalism of little Englander Isolationism of the type that right, you know is pretty current throughout the world at the moment And we thought we were above that and we found we weren't It it came and you know it hit Britain in just the same way as it hit elsewhere And this was sort of people thinking You don't care about us. You don't care about the working class. You're extremely elite and the mainstream media is in league with you
Starting point is 00:16:56 Now I've made a number of documentaries about fake news and what interests me is the first person to use the phrase mainstream media Was Joseph Goebbels? That's not so it is so no and he in one of his propaganda sheets said It's very important that you don't read the mainstream media because they'll tell you lies You must read the truth. Are he the ramblings of? his boss and his associated work and you do have to watch this This is a very very well established technique of fascists is to tell you don't read this stuff Right our stuff. It's it's such a complicated mix because this move to populism
Starting point is 00:17:41 Which is so now taken hold in and you see it now in in France and Italy and in all these other places in Some ways it's hard not to connect it to the actions of the United States and the destabilizing first of all of globalization and corporations sort of Manufacturing bases moving out of Britain in the United States and moving to places where they could pay people nothing and it's sort of a Colonialism light where we try and establish supply lines without having to use the army. Yeah, and the destabilization of the Middle East and and sort of driving that refugee migration and all that and Have we in our Desire to spread democracy and light. I don't know if you know this but the United States is a shining city on a hill
Starting point is 00:18:30 Yeah, yeah, no, no, I didn't read that somewhere You notice there's a beacon of the world and we remain by the way Desire us to believe that But we're aware of right. It's it's foreign policy faults as well as our own But there is I think, you know, the United States may well want to beat itself up But Europe can equally do the same there was a failure in in ten twenty years of globalization and internationalism of failing to consider
Starting point is 00:18:59 The worst off sections of your own population, right? So everything looked great. This is good We all believe in the ideas ever greater union all our problems Need to be solved collectively and I was gonna solve, you know, global warming through nationalism It's it isn't gonna happen, right, you know smaller the nation, but it's in the pursuit of cheap t-shirts Yeah, all of this but also in pursuit of a sort of an Attempt to get some sort of control over the little bits of your life left So in Britain the entire Brexit movement was let's get back control Mm-hmm a nostalgia whatever that means, right? I mean it was a desire to control make Britain great again
Starting point is 00:19:37 Yeah, I mean again, we didn't go that far because we can't really face that sort of overstatement We leave that to America, right, but it the humble nature of your country It's it's humble in its desire to be, you know the most modest nation on earth We're very proud of our humbleness But yes, I accept there is a responsibility for this outbreak of populism, but when it arrives To merely go with it and not to resist it seems to me after a double failing So for the elite say, oh, we just it's all it's asses terrible, right? We should have we should have done this earlier Well, you got to do it now
Starting point is 00:20:18 Are you seeing it now as the results of it are not the blossoming of The what they remembered to be the time of greatness is that what has taken some of the steam out of it What's taken the steam out of brexit is it was a terrible idea? Executed badly. No, and it's not an idea you can execute. Well, it's very simple, right? And Rishi Sunak hasn't he now fixed it I was under the impression that the new prime minister and by the way the idea to just rotate them every three months I think is something that will catch on
Starting point is 00:20:55 Everywhere else. Yeah, as long as during the three months where they're in charge. They don't lose you 30 billion pounds No, no, we've tried out the total free market lunatic. Yeah, that didn't go so well I thought that was my my favorite thing ever was when Liz trust came in and said I believe inflation is terrible. So we're gonna go with austerity and we're going to cut taxes Yeah, for the rich. I thought well, that's like it's like taking ambient and cocaine and thinking It's gonna get all gonna even out, right? This will be fine. I mean, and it was a case of literally I mean, this is why it was a very good moment for us and you haven't had them state So I think we might be ahead of you here. Yes, we had someone who literally did student politics and
Starting point is 00:21:40 Got into power sacked everyone. She sacked the civil servants at the Treasury who normally the adults who say you really can't do this This will be ten guardrails were gone Yeah, everything gone and she did it and then she said I was defeated by the left-wing Economic establishment now. I don't know if you've met any left-wing hedge funders or deeply socialist Equity traders. We don't have any in this country. Yes The financial markets the people she loved the people that the Conservative Party worship said you're mad We're gonna back crump the country and literally the Treasury ended up saying We can't borrow any money because no one will lend it to us
Starting point is 00:22:21 I don't know if anyone's ever said this to you that governments have to borrow money from other people Russian oligarchs are for Yeah, won't they come in and say how about we do this? We'll just buy up Porta Bola Road Yeah, and That should give you enough. Yeah, to get you through the next three months. No, it just even the oligarchs When they didn't even want to invest in it if people think you're run by lunatics, they won't lend you any money Right, and that becomes a problem Anyway, who knows what happens to interest rates. Yeah. Well, anyway, I mean she was removed within, you know We have a newspaper here called the Daily Star which had a wonderful they bought a lettuce and they said will the lettuce last longer?
Starting point is 00:23:03 That Liz trust Which was a very very good joke and the lettuce was fine. She was ended up being okay. Yeah, the lettuce is private Anyway, so we got we got we got an adult who immediately, you know reversed everything that she'd done right and then The market stabilized and then we started back where we were but minus 30 billion quid Which is quite a lot of money. Well, they've even said I think we're we're looking at the IMF said that the Economy in Britain will contract or perform worse than Russia even this year. Yeah, and so Have you thought about invading anybody? Have you thought about? Anybody who you've got your eye on
Starting point is 00:23:50 Cornwall No, I tell you where we're short of options. We really are that's that's the end of it. It's I Wonder if You know, you've spent your whole life Looking at the difference between what these public figures say and what's going on in the back room. Yeah And now we're starting to see From this Dominion lawsuit in the United States the emails from the back room and it is explicitly Exactly what you thought it was in the way that you probably found during the news of the world
Starting point is 00:24:23 Yeah, and also, I mean recently we we are having a cache of WhatsApp group messages Exchange during government has been made public Oh, there's been a leak of the health secretary and the then Prime Minister during lockdown and private eye about what they were doing Yeah, literally there they're their WhatsApp group why they were taking certain measures what they were saying about each other There's there's yeah, I mean there's literally a WhatsApp group where various aides are saying to each other This story about the Prime Minister that he's putting out. It's got some holes in it Literally, they're saying it's got some holes in it and you're thinking That means he's lying, which is what we said a lot, right?
Starting point is 00:25:04 But private I every week we run a fake WhatsApp group And I've been looking at it recently thinking we didn't go far enough, right, you know, we just literally didn't push the jokes Because they're worse than you think Boris Johnson Well, it's enough his chief scientific advisor is trying to explain to him the difference between a percentage and the probability This is this is during a COVID outbreak and Boris he doesn't get it. I mean, you know, he read classics But basic maths is good I think With your leader it can be useful. It can be at certain times But it is
Starting point is 00:25:46 when you when you are confronted with the idea that it is as explicitly corrupt as What you thought yeah, is there any accountability? I think what what's so lacking in certainly in American life Yeah, is the sense that when there is that corruption that's so explicit that there is some measure of accountability that can be taken Yeah, which is what's been so difficult to get a handle on yeah Well, I think it's still better here. I mean we do we had a public inquiry We've got another one coming up right the prime minister was censored. He was removed
Starting point is 00:26:21 We've got another standards committee coming up. There's still some mechanisms I mean the appalling corruption over the contracts of PPE equipment, which I don't know if that was equally big in America But who got the contracts and how useless this stuff was We're really good at glossing over Corruption stories and moving on it's it's the you know the dog from up It's always squirrel and somebody moves to the next distraction, but America always seems to us to have so many lawyers You just think what what are they doing? We are surely they should all be seeing each other furious. We are a lawyer based economy and with the dominion scandal
Starting point is 00:27:01 I mean is that is that a defamation? I mean to say right so that's why this stuff's coming out That's right. It's the only reason why it's coming Yeah, and it's the only reason why and they were so comfortable with the idea that none of their private communications Would ever come out, which is why it's so explicit to the point of saying These people are crazy with the stolen election narrative in the ways that they think it's stolen. They're crazy But if we say that we'll lose our audience. It's a fascinating look at At at just sort of like you know the Ouroboros we call it the snake sucking its own dick like America has become a snake sucking its own. Yeah, and it's they create through am talk radio
Starting point is 00:27:46 Which is just populism and nativism Drilled at the earliest age into people a news network that's reinforcing that that's selecting stories that only Reinforce their fear of the other or you know black or trans or anything that might be considered different Yeah, they revved them up to that point and then it becomes impermeable Yeah, and they were aware of that. Yeah, and they felt that they couldn't The Frankenstein that they created they could no longer say like fires actually not that bad. Yeah, yeah be okay Just is there not a point where and this is what we Despair when it doesn't happen here is when the shame kick in if you're a national broadcasting figure
Starting point is 00:28:36 And you have you've lied to your audience. You've told them things are true that are not true deliberately and This is exposed at what point do you go home and think I? Should resign I should go the shamelessness is and this is something I'm curious what you think about It's why I think so many on the right are aligning themselves with Russia over Ukraine Because nobody can look at those two countries and say one is you know a shining beacon of democracy fighting against autocracy. Yeah, but I Think that Putin represents to them in some ways this Western civilization that they would like to also protect. It's not very democratic. It's anti-gay
Starting point is 00:29:21 It's mostly singular in terms of its ethnicity and so They see that actually as political alignment that the right in America and maybe even the right in Britain Don't actually view Putin as a foe but as an ally Ideologically yeah, but this is real Echo chamber nonsense isn't it really I mean any Any basic look at Russian history Would suggest but that's that this isn't true, but don't you what I'm saying is
Starting point is 00:29:59 shame kick in because they've got a larger Ideal that they're pursuing. Yeah by any means necessary to get back to that Sort of more authoritarian ideal of what the country was yeah, but it wasn't and Right the authoritarian It was in Russia because you know, it's got a fairly straightforward history of authoritarianism, right? But it isn't for them a natural ally. It is You know as we know after the wall came down it is a country which has reverted to a czarist model
Starting point is 00:30:34 Right, it's it's dropped the ideology from the the communist days and kept the repression Putin is essentially Stalin who you know, he admires and reveres without any of the belief and whether you think Stalin believed even 1% of it and what was just a Georgian Thargo took over, you know, you can read the history books But essentially Putin doesn't believe any of this stuff and he does it anyway And you know, the latest thing is Putin has just been rumbled putting vast amounts of property into Companies that represent the The woman the the gymnast who he has had the children with, you know, so there is nothing there is nothing admirable There's nothing ideological. There is no
Starting point is 00:31:16 Crusade, I mean, I imagine that the religious right in America would perhaps they should have a look at the Russian Orthodox Church And see whether they're natural allies. Are they? It's none of it makes sense But if you look at the alliances so we have this group in America called CPAC and it's these conferences of Conservatives and it's very political and Trump just spoke at it and all that they held their last conference in Hungary Yeah, and Orban is Held up as a figure of this is where Democracies should be going and he's just one degree of difficulty removed from a Putin type figure
Starting point is 00:31:54 But this is they're all aligning in a way that says and we don't have shame because we don't care How we get it done. Hmm. We're gonna get it done Yeah, I think that's very generous and forage and all those guys. Yeah, they're all aligned. Yeah, but all of them I think are cynical and without any ideology and without any morals. Yes, and the morality is a fig leaf I'm still a little boy saying The reason you are saying this phrase In order to defend democracy we must ally ourselves with a lot of people who are tyrants now That seems to be right, you know what we used to call
Starting point is 00:32:36 Nonsense but how they flip that here because what they're doing now in America is the real tyranny is woke Right, is the tyranny. In fact, if you listen to Putin's speeches, you know, he started to take that phraseology Yeah, what they're suggesting is no, no, no diversity is tyranny Democracy they've taken to saying in America, you know, we're not a democracy We're actually a constitutional Republic and you want to say which I don't know if you read it lays out a representative democracy But that's yeah another day Is that you?
Starting point is 00:33:14 Has that sort of explicit kind of repudiation of Democracy or or to use diversity as the real tyranny has that taken on here? No Because we're not at a position where we're saying we don't believe in democracy yet, right? And also we had a good five years. Oh, give it but we did we did have a good public shaming over our Sort of middle-class and our professional classes taking vast amounts of Russian money
Starting point is 00:33:45 lawyers bankers whatever and Britain Became for about ten years. There's a very very good book called the butler of the world. We essentially Went around the rest of the world Falling saying any services we can offer you sir. We do very good libel actions We do marvelous. We're starting golf tournaments with the Saudis. I don't know what we're doing I mean, and this it's been a terrible time and the Chinese again Britain has Entirely woken up to the fact that your fridge is now reporting back
Starting point is 00:34:20 If you happen to mention you or not pre-key every Tiktok dance we do Gives another piece of information, but you know Britain had literally said we must get the Chinese to build our nuclear actors That's a good idea That's a really good idea put them in charge of them the nuclear material at the heart of the act I mean we took some unbelievably naive decisions as a country because we were sucking up to anybody who had any money And that was the Russians that was the Chinese come in London in particular come in we're an enormous washing machine Shave your money and the EU was your you know the the single market and all that was the thing that everybody resented
Starting point is 00:35:01 But nobody resented the money from autocracies No, and they said that the EU was a tyranny because it involved that's the flip that's been happening Pooling sovereignty it involved small amounts of co-operation and anybody who looks at the world and doesn't Spend their time fighting culture wars on the you know in their bedroom on their laptop Would think these are quite big problems and most of them have to be solved by Compromised negotiation Coordinated effort. I mean none of this is is rocket science They're not going to be solved by saying the big problem about climate change is it's woke
Starting point is 00:35:42 But that is it it is that is that is the argument it is Sadly it is in right now. You would think that Pronouns have taken over and are bombing Ukraine. Yeah Any of this stuff any of this cultural stuff. I would say is an attempted diversion. It's cynicism Yeah, I mean it's it's worse than that right. I mean, they're practical problems and dealing with you know For people that are dealing with it's not easy, right? Do you want to mean there's so many problems right that the idea that the concerned body is saying we will win the election It's like saying we will we will devote ourselves as politicians to things that aren't politics
Starting point is 00:36:24 We're gonna join in some other do you think ultimately they actually care or they just view it as a path to power No, I don't think they care at all I mean you look at someone like Russia, you know, which has a sort of residual empire by Zara's days full of non diverse people Correct and say in a place like Chechnya. It didn't go so well for them being non diverse so the idea that the Russia is somehow this sort of Defender of Western civilization. Yeah, it isn't and Pete in was pre-trump in Pete in literally appointed a man who was a sort of theatrical impresario To say to him, how do I present? What isn't true as true, right?
Starting point is 00:37:10 It's explicit. Yeah, and what's so interesting to me is the explicit nature of that kind of propaganda in an authoritarian regime Yeah, is revealed in the emails Of the Dominion lawsuit because what you see Rupert Murdoch Says in the emails to the head of Fox News We must do whatever we can to help get right wing Republican control of the Senate Now this is explicit. Yeah, and so what you realize is This has nothing to do with a point of view. It has nothing to do with Perhaps a slightly different worldview and everything to do with an organization that has been built
Starting point is 00:37:56 Explicitly as a propaganda arm for a political movement Yeah, and you think if you want to be in politics go into politics doing it behind the scenes is just corrupt That that's exactly right. You know if you want to test yourself Stand say you're a party the idea that you behind the scenes Influence what is happening? Without at any point being tested just through the power of money Is that a family that can be shamed is that is is he a man now and I'm under no illusion that if it wasn't Murdoch It would be somebody else because you know power will find a way to exercise itself. He's been very
Starting point is 00:38:34 Canny about it in a lot of continents including ours Over the years, so it's not entirely accidental. It is Murdoch. I mean he is an evil genius In terms of what about the dynasty of that family is is is his his will his heirs carry on the work Of there or will there be in in any way when he passes and I think Definitely within the next 50 years You're such an optimist 50 to 60. I'm giving it a window. I think I Have him marrying another model around 2045. He's got a lot of wides left
Starting point is 00:39:14 It's got a lot of wives left in him. He's barely started and succession needs another couple of series What do you think they'll ever be a reckoning where they say, you know, I actually think oh, we're destroying The very thing we we like right, you know, part of me would love to be there saying I told you so Another part of me which is mildly human as opposed to You just love the comedy of it. That's what you're going for I mean with the Murdoch Empire I mean what he's funny about it is the boys are obviously useless And he won't give it to the girl because he's Murdoch No, so that's no good
Starting point is 00:39:54 So we were at the Brooks will ultimately Be be granted. She will be Charlie in the chocolate factory She will find the golden ticket and we'll be given the elevator that flies everywhere. Yes, and again I mean Rebecca Brooks who there's a picture of her. I love it. It's a Halloween special Oh, it says which costume withdrawn from shops. I mean, that's not funny No, I'm very sir at long last have you no decency. No, it was the first day of her trial I'll see there was a suggestion that this this cover was taken into the court and They're embarrassed to say this is contempt of court private eye is is trying to influence this action
Starting point is 00:40:40 You are the real tyranny sir. How dare you? Yeah, but fortunately, I'm very very wise judge who got very cross and said but no Yeah, it is the libel laws here are much more difficult than they are in the United States and people sue you Yeah, well, we don't have what you have you you have to prove Malice, yeah here. It's taking this right Here they just have to prove you're being mean. Yeah. Yeah, and again, I mean we finally woken up I'm the oligarch spent a good 10 years I mean, can you believe that the head of
Starting point is 00:41:18 Vagina group the group of mercenaries who recruit convicts and go in he was suing Journalists for suggesting that I don't know mercenaries operating in the middle of the war aren't very nice anyway We've had a lot of trouble with those sorts of deformations But again, I think you know I am more of an optimist and I I feel we're we're waking up a bit here in the proper sense of wake As to what this looks like right and and starting to maybe turn a corner Yeah, I mean certainly trying to trying to feel that there isn't only one narrative We don't have to go the same way, right? I mean there was a headline our ex-prime minister Boris Johnson has just
Starting point is 00:42:03 There's an interim report about his behavior during COVID and the parties and the interim report makes absolutely clear He knew what was going on and he's guilty. He went on television and said I've been vindicated No classic classic classic move classic move But one of the newspapers just said he's gone full-trump and I thought that's right And if he's gone full-trump, then that may be the end of him So I was feeling I was feeling it was possible It was possible that we don't have to entirely follow your model. You're welcome I think it's it's absolutely your your optimism is well taken
Starting point is 00:42:45 Uh, I love the work that you do and you've been doing for so long and and you're right You can never stop trying to expose that the emperor has no clothes because Because when you do then it's just we've given up then we've just yeah Tilted over the king and said It's over. You know, I'm always reminded of in the United States In the 1920s, I don't know if you know this but we've had some racial issues
Starting point is 00:43:14 No, I missed that. Yeah, it started. I don't want to get into it but the group the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s got really powerful and big and what What took them down or it would at least shrunk them was not necessarily a reckoning with racist ideology Or the past of a country. It was an expose On the peculiarities of their initiations And how silly they were. Yeah, and the exposure of that took away
Starting point is 00:43:49 All of their mystique and it's what I love so much about the work that you do I think this is true of everyone and the the best satirists but even in the in the worst countries, you know, the russian ones what they They try and make peter not merely scary but ridiculous Because that is the thing that on the whole tyrants and dictators can't bear I mean we had it came into this office during the the balkans war There was two very very brilliant young Croatians and they set up a satirical magazine during the war um, uh, and They came in and I said to them. I said look, I think you guys are really really brave
Starting point is 00:44:31 And they looked at me and they said, um, I don't care if you think I'm brave. Am I funny? And I said, yeah, you're funny and that's that's how to do it I think well, then I can I can give you both compliments I can I can say both Ian Hizla. Thank you so much for for joining us and sitting down. No, thank you. Real pleasure Thank you That's that's it Ian has left the building. That's right here in this country. He is considered their Elvis And so whenever he leaves a building people always say Ian Hizla
Starting point is 00:45:11 Has left the building the legendary peter cook Started this we sat in the room where peter cook would come in and and and do his work and it was really uh, just an incredible pleasure to be here in the office and to speak with Ian and to sort of walk around and and soak up the history of just one of uh, the greatest satirical and enjoyable reads and and and people that we've had a chance to sit down with our show On apple tv plus. I think our defense episode the military industrial complex episode is coming out this week We have an interview with David Petraeus where he
Starting point is 00:45:50 utterly comes clean He he stands up and he says We are we are and have been wrong and he comes out as a pacifist and says that Muhammad Ali was right to refuse the draft in vietnam. He says all of this It's fucking weird to be honest with you. I was uncomfortable the whole time. I hope you watch it. Okay. Bye. Bye All right Problema john stewart podcast is an apple tv plus podcast and a joint busboy production

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