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Why Are Trevor Noah and Power 105’s Charlamagne tha God Defending Right-Wing TV Pundit Tomi Lahren?

Last week, Trevor Noah invited Blaze host Tomi Lahren to a Daily Show interview in which he smartly deconstructed the rhetoric she’s built her career off of. Noah has been criticized for consistently playing it soft with controversial subjects, so this moment felt like he was finally picking up on Jon Stewart’s legacy. He pressed her on her I’m not racist because I don’t see color defense against claims she’s racist (“You don’t see color? So what do you do at a traffic light?”) and her condescension towards black people’s right to protest (“What is the right way for a black person to get attention in America?”). It was satisfying, even if you could’ve criticized him for elevating Lahren to a new platform.

However, Noah somehow immediately fucked whatever good will he had earned from fans soon after. TMZ spotted him grabbing drinks with Lahren right after the show’s taping—a cute mea culpa between millionaires. (Lahren would later post an Instagram picture claiming that Noah sent her a cupcake, though TMZ reported that the cupcakes and card weren’t directly from Noah, but his staff.)

Shortly thereafter, Power 105.1 and MTV host Charlamagne tha God got caught up Lahren’s black outreach tour, sharing an aggravatingly posed Instagram photo:

Do you see color???? @tomilahren 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

A photo posted by Charlamagne Thagod (@cthagod) on

Radio rival Peter Rosenberg, who isn’t without his politically charged commentary, called out Charlamange, saying he’s not a man for “the culture”e (“the Culture”).

Charlamagne, however, decided to tweet through it:

Lahren, of course, is an employee for a known media entity, not a started-from-the-bottom bootstrapper. We don’t know what Charlamagne’s media consumption is like, but despite the circumstances giving few positions at established publications to women of color, there are plenty doing great work on wide-reaching platforms.

Charlamagne and Noah’s insistence on giving Lahren a platform to talk reflects the tired idea that the key to advancing racial relations is conversing with white supremacy apologists, that progress rests within the empathy of the disdained. Noah infamously warned protesters “if you’re not careful you’ll become the hate that you’re protesting against,” and then doubled down on that sentiment in a recent New York Times op-ed. When TMZ caught Charlamange walking with Lahren, the personality defended himself by saying, “You have to have discourse with people you don’t necessarily agree with.”

But Lahren often defends her positions using ad hominem rhetoric, claiming real issues are symptoms of some nefarious leftist agenda. She also uses Herculean leaps in logic to make a point. Even her sarcastic invocation of “I hung out with not one but two black people” during a new Blaze segment misses the point about why people don’t like her perspective. It isn’t because she doesn’t have more black friends, but because she’s complicit in media structures that willfully ignore how the system’s been built to exclude minorities. Either she’s ignorant, or she doesn’t give a fuck. Empathy only works when the recipient returns the courtesy, and Lahren has never shown she’s capable of doing so. Charlamagne and Noah get to make like they’re noble, but they’re letting down whatever side they’re fighting for.