Wishful Thinking by Newsweek: Jon Stewart's Mock Rally on 10/30 Will 'Absolutely' 'Gain Traction'

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have announced dueling D.C. rallies on October 30 aimed at satirizing the August 28 "Restoring Honor" rally held by rival network Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck.

Newsweek's Daniel Stone is apparently stoked about it, predicting that the gimmick will "absolutely" be a success (emphasis mine):

You’ve got to hand it to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, social critics that they are, for keeping us attuned to the absurdity in our political discourse these days....

[N]either man has gone after anyone quite so ferociously as Glenn Beck, the weepy Fox pundit who’s demonstrated he can amass quite a following. Last month, Beck hosted a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, urging America to “Restore Honor”—an amorphous plea to support the troops, find God, and honor thy neighbor. About 100,000 people showed up and agreed.

But do those people speak for the rest of the country? Stewart and Colbert say no (or should it be Colbert and Stewart? More on that in a moment). Neither thinks that the loudest voices should be the only ones who are heard. And, in a move that is part social critique and part hilarious satire, both men are hosting rallies next month to counter, or maybe simply mock, the Beck rally.

That’s right, they’re hosting rallies. Plural. Stewart and Colbert (who, of course, was birthed by Stewart) have an antagonistic relationship made for TV. Neither wants to play second fiddle to the other, so each is having his own rally on the same day in the same location. Stewart's rally is to "Restore Sanity." Colbert’s is to "Keep Fear Alive."

[...]

Will it gain traction? Odds are, absolutely. The district has a bustling community of 20- and 30-somethings, who are Stewart and Colbert’s most loyal demographic. Plus any folks around the country who would come to D.C. to support the Comedy Central duo. Or maybe just to oppose Glenn Beck. One of the two.

He cannot be serious, can he? Does Stone think that the age demographic most apathetic, historically speaking, about voting is going to travel on Halloween weekend to stand on the Mall to hear Jon Stewart crack a few jokes about Glenn Beck? 

What's more, isn't the whole ethos of the Daily Show and Colbert Report that American politics is fundamentally absurd, thoroughly lame, and ultimately not worth caring too much about. While Tea Parties and the Glenn Beck rally have drawn hundreds of thousands who are fired up to vote and passionate about their views on the country's direction, this rally purports to appeal to people who don't really give a damn one way or the other and hence aren't really the sort of folks to show up en masse for any cause.

Does Stone really think Stewart and Colbert's audiences have nothing better to do than drop a thousand dollars or so on airfare and lodging to come to D.C. for a non-rally rally just to spite a conservative cable news host?!

If he really thinks that, whatever Stone's smoking may be of more interest to Stewart's target audience than the so-called Rally to Restore Sanity.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters