Friday, March 13, 2009

God Bless Jon Stewart

If I could be a woman for a day, after doing other various fun things, I would devote an hour to doing everything within my power to have Jon Stewart’s babies. The man is pure genius.

I’m a frequent watcher of his program The Daily Show and over the past few weeks he’s been engaged in a war of words with CNBC, stemming from the now YouTube famous rant by Rick Santelli about homeowners who need bailout money being “losers.”

While Santelli, who was supposed to be on the show, wound up cancelling, the Daily Show and the various anchors on CNBC shows have been going at it and Stewart, in his typical irreverent style, has been bashing the entire network. One of those who took particular offense was Jim Cramer the host of a show called Mad Money.

While Santelli seemingly didn’t have the testicular fortitude to come on the Daily Show and back up his opinions, I have to give Cramer credit for at least manning up and coming onto the program. Though in hindsight, he may realize it was a huge mistake.

Stewart slammed him like a five-dollar Guatemalan hooker.

He devoted almost the entire program to the interview, which actually turned out to be more of a scolding. It had the feel of a student in the principal’s office, a bug and a windshield, a ho and her pimp—it was an old fashioned ass whoopin.

Cramer had no ground to stand on. He had no reply to Stewart’s accusations. He was subjected to a 30-minute chastising.

I’ve watched Stewart interview people he doesn’t agree with before. He has a philosophical difference of opinion from Bill O’Reilly, and he’s tough on him in interviews, but you can always sense a genuine respect between the two—while they may not agree, or even respect each other’s opinions, they do at least respect the other’s right to that opinion and the way they express it.

None of that was evident last night. The humor was at an all-time low on the Daily Show. It wasn’t “fake news” as Stewart likes to call it, last night. Last night it was real news, real reporting, real interviewing and a very real critique of the way CNBC has handled itself preceding and now during this financial crisis.

In Cramer’s defense, it was a bit of an ambush, with clip after clip pointing out his own hypocrisy, but that’s the price you pay for being a hypocrite.

I know Stewart leans left in his politics, and I normally lean right, but I’ve always appreciated the fact that Stewart is fair-minded and equally tough on both sides on his show. He ripped President Obama on his very first day because so much of his inaugural speech was made of up phrases that President Bush had been uttering for the past 8 years. It’s just sad that in this day and age, we have to depend on a guy who does a “fake news” show to really go after people like the CNBC network.

The “real” media is making it out to be some kind of battle of the blowhards and largely only reporting on the drama of it all. Facts don’t sell. Drama does. Me? I’ll take my facts peppered with punch lines any day, as long as I get some fair, balanced reporting and a media outlet that pursues the truth. It’s sad that I have to find it on Comedy Central.

But Comedy Central is the home to the Daily Show, which has become the only source of news some people get. Somewhere along the way, the integrity of the media was swept under a rug and forgotten. Every news show you see now has an agenda of some sort. It’s on a left leaning network, it’s on the far right network, instead of news, we get spin. Even in the arena of the written news, you have to read at least four or five articles on any given topic, from different publications just to be assured that you actually do have the facts.

Cramer may have best pointed out the problem yesterday when he said that CNBC had 17 hours of live television to do every day. The news channels are no different. With all day to fill, the facts just cease to be enough. Editorial on the subjects at hand are necessary. The problem is that there is no line between the reporters and the editorialists. They are one and the same.

The media’s job used to be to get us the facts so that we could make our own minds up. Today’s media is in the business of telling us lies so we’ll think what they want us to think. It’s not like they’re trying to be manipulative about it though. You can watch any news channel for 2 minutes and know where their loyalties lie. Same as you can tell by reading one article from any newspaper.

And then there is Comedy Central--Comedy Central where Stewart and his Daily Show make their home. Comedy Central who bashed corporate big wigs and banks without blinking an eye, even though many of the advertisers on the show were the same companies at which Stewart was taking shots.
Apparently, comedians are the only people who can still tell the truth. The jester’s hat the only one that allows a person to unabashedly report what’s going on in the world. It’s sad. But thank God for Jon Stewart. I’ll take my news from that jester like him any day. I just wish the “real news” people could take his example and serve us, instead of themselves.


Kate said...

i miss john...

Beverly said...

I finally watched this on Saturday and it was truly a joy. Thanks for inspiring me to do so!

I watched some of the clips leading up to it also, for context.