On Monday, late-night comedian Samantha Bee tore into the media for its coziness with Donald Trump, and on Wednesday, Samantha Bee doubled down on her criticism, blasting what she called the “gossamer-light” interviews with Trump, especially by NBC.
“I feel like the process just needed to be called out,” TBS’ Full Frontal host Samantha Bee told reporters in a conference call. “I just feel like they’ve allowed him to amplify his message in a way that feels safe and comfortable for so long, and I’m not sure why.”
Earlier this week, Bee took to her TBS show to rip into NBC following Trump’s most recent appearance on the network’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon had conducted a very friendly, jokey interview with Trump in which he messed up his hair and lobbed soft questions. While Fallon and his supporters have pointed out that the affable comedian doesn’t conduct hard hitting interviews, Bee criticized Fallon (and NBC) for presenting a cuddly image of a man who is “playing footsie with fringe hate groups.” (Fortune has written about Donald Trump’s social media ties to white supremacists.)
In the call on Wednesday, Bee stressed she is a fan of Fallon and that her criticism was aimed more at NBC than her late-night colleague. “Coming right on the heels of that Matt Lauer interview, I think we were just done [with] these gossamer-light interviews of this person and the continued normalization of deplorable,” Bee said, referring to the Today Show host’s recent, much-criticized interview of Trump and Clinton.
Bee called Lauer’s performance “a disaster and such a missed opportunity” and she also criticized NBC for offering Trump a platform going back several years to when he hosted The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice while also pushing a “birther” agenda, spreading the falsehood that Obama was born outside the U.S.
On her show Monday, she was explicit: “Why do so many Americans think playing footsie with fringe hate groups isn’t a disqualifier from polite society, much less the presidency? Maybe because that’s the message they get from entertainment giants like NBC, which gladly nurtured Trump’s celebrity for all the years he was running around” promoting the birther lie, she said. “By ignoring that… NBC tacitly condoned a race-baiting demagogue.”
Bee noted that although NBC said it severed ties with Trump after he made derogatory statements about Mexican immigrants, the network has since welcomed him back, including as a host of Saturday Night Live last fall. “He said that Mexicans are rapists and then they had him on SNL,” Bee said on Wednesday.
Bee said it has been frustrating for her to watch members of the media treating Trump as equivalent to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “They can’t really be compared,” Bee said. “They’re not apples and oranges. They’re apples and a frisbee.”
Bee also responded to the criticism leveled against her and many of her fellow late-night hosts in a New York Times op-ed published earlier on Wednesday. In that column, Ross Douthat argued that far left-leaning comedians like Bee, HBO’s John Oliver, and NBC’s Seth Meyers, among others, are pushing extremely liberal ideas into the cultural mainstream. He argued that’s a problem for Democratic candidates, because “the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion” for some voters.
Bee responded by joking, “It’s so good to know that we’re the problem, and not racism.”
Bee is currently preparing to host a special edition of Full Frontal next Wednesday (it normally airs on Mondays), where she will respond to the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton that will be held two days earlier. In a crowded late-night landscape, Bee is clearly doing what she can to stand out.
In Wednesday’s call, she said she has high hopes for the debate’s moderator, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, who works for the very network she’s spent much of this week criticizing. “I’m sure he’s studying up. Fingers crossed. We can do this,” she said.
Bee added that she doesn’t envy the position Holt is in leading up to the debate: “I feel a little bad for Lester Holt right now. I would not want to be in his shoes right now, but I’m sure he’s handling it.”
Fortune reached out to NBC for comment and will update this post if we receive a response.