The SanityPrompt

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Monday, October 25, 2004

A New Hero For America

Saturday night I was up late watching TV and like a total geek I found myself watching CSpan. Now I don't usually make a habit of watching this station but I was flipping through the channels and they had an appearance by comedian and The Daily Show host Jon Stewart. He was speaking in New York at either the New Yorker festival or some event sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse and was interviewed by Ken Auletta. He was by turns hilarious, inspiring, and invigorating as he skewered both Bush-Cheney '04 and the press for their failure to do their job. Stewart's contention is that the media allow themselves to be manipulated by both sides and fail in their duty to serve as an arbiter and referee over the arguments both sides make. He doesn't believe that all media fail, just the most important players, particularly the TV media. He recently was a guest on CNN's Crossfire and lambasted both Belgala and Carlson for their efforts. Here is a telling exchange from the show.

STEWART: ...I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. (LAUGHTER)
BEGALA: We have noticed.
STEWART: And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. (LAUGHTER)
CARLSON: But in its defense...(CROSSTALK)
STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say... (CROSSTALK)
STEWART: Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.
CARLSON: Yes.
STEWART: Stop. (LAUGHTER)
STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

While most commentators on the Left and the Right concern themselves with charges of media bias, Stewart is less concerned with this than that major media pretend to be news but are in fact in the entertainment business. He feels they fail in their obligations to present us with anything more substantive than the horse-race and covering the campaigns as spectacle's.

STEWART: But the thing is that this -- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.
BEGALA: We do, do... (CROSSTALK)
STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
STEWART: Absolutely.
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you... (CROSSTALK)
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. (LAUGHTER)
STEWART: What is wrong with you?

I urge you to read the full transcript of his appearance on Crossfire and you can watch the CSpan appearance (both of which are quite funny) here. An article discussing his call for change in our media is reviewed here. If you want to see someone call Tucker Carlson a part of the male anatomy to his face, it is priceless to read the CNN transcript.

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