"We're considering the question of whether or not the future will include comedy, whether we're allowed to make jokes anymore. That's one of the questions that we have to ask ourselves at the Babylon Bee," Dillon said on Monday. "The left is attacking comedy, killing comedy, trying to stifle it, trying to suppress. In particular, of course, comedy they don't like that makes jokes that they don't want you to be allowed to make."
Dillon, who participated in "The American Future" panel at the National Conservatism conference in Orlando, said the left has "turned the world into a parody of itself and made reality so absurd that it's difficult to satirize, pointing to an article from Healthline that asks "Can men get pregnant?" which it answers "yes, it's possible," a study that was done by Stanford University that showed student cyclists are more likely to wear masks than helmets and the recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal about the Biden administration policy proposal of offering illegal immigrants who were separated from their families under the Trump administration $450,000.
He also referenced the Babylon Bee's "fulfilled prophecies" where the site published satirical reports that ended up becoming real, one being a 2019 report that joked President Trump declaring "I Have done more for Christianity than Jesus" and his recent remarks saying "Nobody has done more for Christianity or for evangelicals or for religion itself than I have."
"I don't want to complain about how hard our job is, but honestly, think about it," Dillon told the audience. "The project of satire should be as simple as looking at what's happening, what's the truth, what's going on in the world, what's reality doing. And then exaggerate that to make a point find something in it that you can criticize that you can ridicule, you can mock because of its absurdity, its hypocrisy, etc. But we wake up every morning to headlines that are so crazy, we looked at each other, we're like, 'we couldn't make this up if we wanted to.'"
Dillon dismissed criticism of the Babylon Bee as "trying to mislead people" since their satirical articles are "believable."
"Have you guys ever heard the saying there's a grain of truth in every joke, or it's funny because it's true?" Dillon asked the audience. "Comedy rides on the back of the truth and the direction the truth is pointing right? When one of our jokes is believable, and you think that it's possible that CNN might praise the Taliban for wearing masks, who is that an indictment of: the satirist who made the joke or CNN? If that's believable, that's an indictment of CNN, right?… So the problem isn't satire being too close to reality. The problem is reality has become satirical, ultimately."
The Babylon Bee CEO pivoted to the uproar over Dave Chappelle's Netflix special for his remarks about trans people, saying the left is trying to "put you in a box" and try to "punish you" if you don't abide by their rules.
"They accused him of ‘punching down’… what they're accusing of him of is hate speech under the guise of comedy," Dillon said. "Now, what's interesting about the whole ‘punching down’ thing is it actually reinforces the very ideas that they're supposedly against. I'm not allowed to joke about women. Why? Because that wouldn't be punching down. Why is that punching down? Are women beneath me? Could you imagine thinking to yourself, 'You know what, I can't joke about that group of people. They're beneath me.' How condescending is that?"
"Is it making fun of someone who's beneath me on this hierarchical structure that the left is going to try to punish me for? Am I going to joke about somebody who claims, who identifies as marginalized even though they're most powerful people in society? Because if I make fun of them, I might lose my career or I might lose my job. You now have to consider those things when you're making jokes," Dillon continued. "If we're all created equal, I believe that we are and should we be allowed to joke about each other indiscriminately and not have to apply different standards to different people? I think so."
Dillon railed against social media censorship of the Babylon Bee and so-called "fact-checkers," which he said was "speech suppression" that's "under the guise of trying to protect people," calling it "one of the most ridiculous things we encounter."
"We wrote a piece about how the Ninth Circuit Court had overturned the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What does that even mean in practical terms to overturn somebody's death? Is that a resurrection?" Dillon asked, sparking chuckles from the audience. "So the USA Today did a fact check of this- they called it a claim or satirical claim. They rated it false and they cited 15 sources… They were calling people. They were checking the Ninth Circuit Court's website."
"Now interestingly, if you scroll to the bottom of them and this is on USA Today, if you scroll to the bottom of it, it says this fact check was paid for in part by Facebook. It was grants from Facebook, Facebook's paying fact-checkers to go out there and rate jokes ‘false’ and then going back to the people who told the jokes and telling him, 'If you keep spreading false information, we're gonna remove you from our platform.' This is a very circular thing. It all goes right back to them. They're trying to control what you think, what you believe," he continued.
Dillon went on the slam the "politically-motivated viewpoint discrimination," which he said was "always projections from the Bee's critics on the left.
"When the New York Times accused us of spreading misinformation under the guise of satire, what were they doing? Spreading misinformation, right? They're doing that what they accuse you of every single time, every single time. So we have to hold them to account for that," Dillon said.
Dillon told the crowd that Chappelle was "winning" the battle against the woke left, saying the comedian's benefiting from "The Streisand Effect" due to all the media attention his Netflix special has received.
He urged the audience to not be discouraged by the left's censorship efforts and fight for their "right" to stay on tech platforms.
"We should be asserting our right to be on these platforms because we do have a right to be on them. These are not typical private companies. They are the modern public square. Even the Supreme Court has described them as the modern public square, the Digital Public Square of the modern age," Dillon said. "Ultimately, we do need to be pushing back on this stuff. We need to be fighting. I don't think we should go hide in the corner, run to alternatives… When you censor yourself, you're doing the tyrant's work for him. Do not do the tyrant's work for him. Keep saying things you're not supposed to say. Keep making the jokes you're not supposed to make. You will only have your voice amplified, not suppressed, when you do that."