The media are acting shocked and surprised about the civil unrest happening in Baltimore, but Jon Stewart is more shocked that people don’t understand why it keeps happening time and time again.
In a Daily Show segment, Stewart broke down coverage of the riots by news outlets such as CNN — Wolf Blitzer got a particularly bad trouncing for his feigned ignorance — and detailed why communities like Baltimore are like piles of dry tinder just waiting for a match.
“You know your city’s f***ed up when its last, most successful employment program was casting extras for a show about how f***ed up your city was,” he said, referring to the brutal TV drama The Wire. He also pointed out that the city has had to pay out almost $6 million in settlements in police brutality cases between 2011 and 2014.
And, he wants to know, how are we so surprised that something like this happened when the same thing just happened in Ferguson, Missouri?
“Elvis leading a herd of orthodox Jewish unicorns through a city street — that would be hard to believe,” Stewart said. “This shit happens all the time. Ferguson was just a few months ago, and you were talking about it.”
“These cyclical eruptions appear like tragedy cicadas,” he said. “Depressing in their similarity, predictability and intractability.”
“It’s not sustainable. Maybe a more nuanced alert system could allow for more productive intervention beyond, ‘You have 10 seconds to disperse,'” Stewart said. “Or, we could agree to keep ignoring the roots of how systemically, historically disenfranchised many African-American communities still are, only paying attention to them when we fear their periodic fiery ball of anger threatens to enter our airspace, like some kind of Alex Haley’s comet. And once again breathing a blissful sigh of forgetful relief when it’s another near-miss.”
Watch Jon Stewart break down Baltimore