The Controversy Around Brittney Griner's Return

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Steven Rinella

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Steven Rinella is an outdoorsman, conservationist, writer, and host of "MeatEater." Watch season 11 now at www.themeateater.com.

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International politics scares the shit out of me. Mm-hmm. With this, uh, Brittany Griner trade for that arms dealer scares the shit out of me. Man, you know what's funny? Oh. So, I had one pass- I had one pass of under- I had like one understanding of it. Where I'm like, oh. So she broke a rule. The rule seems like not that big of a deal. It's nothing. But, you know. As my friend Chris recently said, rules is rules. So she breaks a rule. And I'm like, holy shit. They're really like using her as a political pawn. Yeah. And then they get her back with an arms dealer. Trade an arms dealer. And you wonder about whether that's an asymmetrical- somehow an asymmetrical trade. But I don't know. I don't even know what's going on. And then you- and then you just- it's kind of like, oh, go ahead. Go ahead. She's back. And then you- and then talk about the outrage machine. Then you read like a narrative that'd be like, we traded a international arms dealer. What's his nickname? Doctor Death or some shit. Merchant of Death. Merchant of Death for a dope smoker. We didn't get the Marine back. The person didn't want the national anthem played at their games. Right? And you go like, oh. There's a narrative that I- you know what I mean? There's like a well-crafted narrative that I didn't put together. Have you ever seen Russia's take on it? No. Oh my god. It's kind of crazy. Because it turned out that they offered one or the other. They offered either Paul Whelan- Oh, really? Who was the Marine. Yeah. Or the- That's what they're saying. Yeah. Well, that's what NBC was saying as well. Really? And then they redacted it and changed their story. But yeah, that's- Oh. Supposedly, it was a one versus one. And then they picked which one. And in Russia, there's this political show. Sort of like a Fox News type show. Where they're making- see if you can find it, Jamie. I'll send it to you if you do- do you know what it is? Yeah, I'm trying to pull it up. It's just not the length. So the- in this thing, they're just completely mocking. Like, well, he's the one- you know, she- Here's one thing going against him. He is a man. And also, you know, he is white. Like here, meanwhile in Russia, top state propagandists revealed the narrative they'll be pushing to harm Biden and enrage Americans about the exchange of Britney Griner for a victor bout by falsely claiming that it wasn't Russia's decision to oppose Whelan's release as opposed to Griner. So it's hard to say. This person who's saying this is saying that it was Russia's decision to oppose Whelan's release, who they think was spying. I don't know if he was or wasn't. He may have been arrested for espionage. But see if you can find the video because it's- It's gonna be in Russian, so. They don't have it- no, but it's- you see the translation. Well, people are listening now. Yeah, well, we'll translate it. He's got a great point, Joe. Yeah, he does. So of course, I was very amused but not surprised that bout was exchanged for Griner and not Whelan. First of all, I can graduate bout and his entire family. For many years, we have been in touch with his family and with him personally to the extent it was possible. We communicated with him to the extent that we could. Of course, this is a huge joy and relief for all of us. I can't even imagine- I can't say any more, Jimmy. You touched it. Just go full screen. But he was not exchanged for the heroic spy because he is a spy. Whelan is a spy. He was apprehended while receiving information on a flash drive. He said he was supposed to get photos of churches and Sergey Pausad on a flash drive. You send the church photos to WhatsApp, right? That's where we get them. Look where I've been. Quality would be decent, no worse than on a flash drive. He is a spy, therefore, to them, he is a hero. He is a hero decorated marine covered in medals. He only has one, no two, no three problems. His first problem is he is white. Second problem is he is a man. Third problem, he is a heterosexual. And they're laughing. This is not something that can be forgiven today. It's just a catastrophe. Yet here, Grindr beats him in every aspect. American voters were given a choice. A hero who suffered while serving his fatherland. A medal covered hero who suffered during his service. To his fatherland, the United States. Or a black lesbian hooked on drugs. Oh, Jesus. Who suffered for a vape with hashish. And well known for the sake of PR. American voters are choosing the obvious. I think for us, it's one more piece of good news. First good news is about his return. The second good news is that a nation that spits on its heroes to the extent that it considers it significantly more important to free a rightly charged, well known athlete. She didn't suffer because she served her motherland, but because she couldn't live for 10 hours without her hashish, instead of freeing that person in prison for two years for serving his motherland, this says a lot about the state of this society. So this is just like basically Fox News in Russia. It's obviously a very propaganda driven show. But you have to, that's the thing about Russia. You can't have a show that shits all over the government in Russia. You could never have, like what an MSNBC was mocking, openly mocking Trump, and CNN was constantly talking about Trump, and it was jacking up the ratings. That's like not even possible in Russia. You can't have a show like that. The Bruce Keys be all over your ass. Oh yeah. Yeah, well you couldn't have a society like this. This is what people don't understand when they try to impose censorship. It goes all the way through. You will eventually get to a point where it's only state sanctioned information that's allowed to be distributed if you allow censorship. Because they've already shown that the government is deeply embedded in social media. And this is one of the things that's most disturbing about these revelations about whether it's the FBI or whatever intelligence agencies were behind censoring certain people off of Twitter and removing certain people off of Twitter and removing certain narratives and certain stories like the Hunter Biden laptop story. If you support that because it fits with your ideology, ultimately you support government control over a narrative. And that is, it's going to go the other way if a Republican gets in office. Then you're going to deal with a similar problem. Imagine if there's, imagine if instead of Hunter Biden's laptop, it was Donald Trump Jr.'s laptop. And Donald Trump Jr.'s laptop, he's getting foot jobs by prostitutes and smoking street crack. Dude, they would have had. Do you think they would have censored that off of Twitter? Holy shit man. Do you think they would have censored that off of Twitter? And said we can't verify the information. We don't know whether or not it's true. No. It has all the earmarks of Russian disinformation. There's not a fucking chance in hell. That's the problem. Like, the truth dies with censorship.