…and stupid, too.
I used to really like watching The Daily Show. Jon Stewart (and the rest of the “reporters”, too) was always really witty and identifying with his cynicism was really easy for me. His critique, which was usually directed towards the media was always really sharp, and right on target.
Many remember his appearance on Crossfire, the late CNN show. His criticism of Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala is has become, by now, legendary. If you haven’t seen it – watch it now, at the very least the stupidity of the audience is amusing, as stupid people tend to be (until they run your country, but that’s a topic for another post).
Now, Jon Stewart has never hid his political views. He is an unabashed liberal, and most of his jokes were at the expense of Republicans. All of that didn’t used to bother me – after all, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are usually, to put it lightly, easy targets (see: Larry Craig, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales, just to name a few – and those are all within the last three years…) But I always felt (perhaps mistakenly) that he was still somewhere within the range of “fair” when dealing with US national politics.
Over the last few weeks, however, it being election season and all, the Daily Show has been covering, well, the campaigns. So far, so good. I also think both sides are getting pretty much the same amount of coverage by the Daily Show. My impression, though, is that Stewart is idolizing Obama and can’t get enough of making fun of McCain. Not that you can’t make fun of McCain (and Palin…) and his policies enough – but Obama (and BIDEN!) are not exactly gaffe-free. Stewart is just playing into middle America’s claim that the liberal establishment (of which Stewart is definitely a member) are elitists and look down their nose at the average American.
And this has nothing to do with who I support. The Daily Show has turned into a comedy news show – real news. It has long since been a fake news show. Yes, the reporters aren’t always really “reporting”, and it’s not exactly NBC Nightly News (not that I consider that to be the hallmark of broadcast journalism), but it’s a news show, and during this election season, it’s basically become a 30 minute nightly poltical attack ad against McCain. I do identify with a lot of the jokes, but as often as not, I see easy openings for making fun of Obama and Co. – and I’m not the professional comedian. So even if you consider the Daily Show to be pure comedy and not news, Jon Stewart is shirking his professional responsibility as a comedian (or a news anchor…)
The point is, if Jon Stewart can go on CNN and criticize pundits for “partisan hackery”, he should at least make an attempt to appear as if he is above that. Instead, he might as well be just funnier, more successful version of Bill O’Reilly.
This post has gotten pretty long so I will get to Jon Stewart’s stupidity another time.