Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne attempts to redefine the "real America" as the new headquarters of liberal chic, and picks the fake-newscasters of Comedy Central as the trendiest of left-wing gunslingers:
When the right seemed headed to dominance in the early 1990s, the hot political media trend was talk radio and the star was Rush Limbaugh, a smart entrepreneur who spawned imitators around the country and all across the AM dial.
Now the chic medium is televised political comedy and the cool commentators are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Their brilliant ridicule of the Bush administration and conservative bloviators satisfies a political craving at least as great as the one Limbaugh once fed. Stewart and Colbert speak especially to young Americans who rely on their sensible take on the madness that surrounds us. The young helped drive their popularity, and the Droll Duo in turn shaped a new, anti-conservative skepticism.
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
The success of the left-wing Jon Stewart at capturing the young news viewer hasn't gone unnoticed in the television business. Fox News Channel is prepping a show with a similar format, and with a non-liberal perspective, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program
with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January,
with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel.
The half-hour show is executive produced by "24's"
Joel Surnow and Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote
for "Politically Incorrect" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson"
through This Just In Prods. It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the
sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other
"It's a satirical news format that would play more to
the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It
would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."
The show was pitched as "This Just In" when it first
got life as a 20-minute pilot presentation for Fox Broadcasting Co.'s
late-night division. But when that network passed, Surnow said it
attracted the attention of Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes.
"I showed it to Roger, and he really liked it and
thought it could work on Fox News if we could make it conform to some
of the restraints" of a cable news channel. Fox News Channel confirmed
that talks were going on.
As the guest on Wednesday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, Ted Koppel ribbed host Jon Stewart for not ridiculing President George W. Bush over his trip to Vietnam and then Koppel offered his own sharp-edged joke about it. Koppel scolded Stewart, "I'll tell you what I have been thinking: I can't believe you haven't done anything on George Bush in Vietnam." Koppel then delivered his wisecrack: “Thirty-five years ago, he joined the Texas Air National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. And now, he's going to Vietnam to stay out of Washington.” That generated loud applause and laughter from the audience in the Manhattan studio, as well as hearty laughter from Stewart, and Koppel chuckled at his own one-liner.
Seconds earlier, Koppel delivered another politically-loaded quip: "Remember the joke before -- it wasn't that much of a joke -- before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we used to say in Washington, 'we know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, we still have the receipts.'" That prompted Stewart to express bafflement with why Koppel's news agenda isn't shared more widely: "This is the thing that always befuddles me and you and I have this conversation all the time: Why isn't that joke the lead of every news story about Iraq? You know, the context that we sold them all those weapons, why isn't that more prominent in all this?" (Partial transcript follows)
Once gain, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann seems entertained by the thought of conservatives being shot. Less than five months after depicting the image of Rush Limbaugh as the target of gunfire during his Countdown show, on Wednesday's show Olbermann included a joke about shooting Dick Cheney during the regular "Top Three Sound Bites" segment of the show. One of the featured clips was from the Tuesday November 14 Daily Show with Jon Stewart in which Stewart asked his guest, former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, whom he would have "accidentally shot in the face" if he had been elected Vice President, to which Edwards responded "Dick Cheney." Notably, just one night earlier, Olbermann had spent an entire segment discussing whether conservative commentators had inspired a man to mail fake Anthrax letters to public figures, and to make other threats, a la King Henry's declaration "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest," referring to Archbishop Thomas Becket. (Transcript follows)
Liberal comedian Jon Stewart regularly analyzes and criticizes the cable and broadcast news programs. When someone tries to do the same to his "Daily Show," however, the Stewart says he's just a comedian doing "fake news."
That used to be true back in the day when "Daily" was primarily comprised of spoof reports and fake interviews. But since Iraq war started, "Daily" has largely turned into a nightly bash-Republicans program, with the news of the day as the cudgel. In so doing, Stewart has evolved his show into a news program, despite his protestations to the contrary.
Here at NB, we've long thought that "Daily" should be treated as a news show, even if its host is too timorous to want that kind of scrutiny. Now, a new study has come out confirming our point of view:
Jon Stewart, during a September 26 interview with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, discussed Middle East policy and used the opportunity to trot out his standard, "Bush-the-Moron" material. Sitting across from a valuable American ally, the "Daily Show" host couldn’t resist making this unflattering comparison:
Stewart: "Let’s say, if there were an election held in Pakistan today...And we put up two candidates, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, be truthful, who would win a popular vote in Pakistan?"
It’s one thing to acknowledge that, in some extremist areas, bin Laden may have greater popularity, but Stewart appeared to state this concept with glee. He also attempted to goad Musharraf into criticizing the effort in Iraq:
Jon Stewart: "Welcome back, we’re here with President Pervez Musharraf. In your book, it's an incredible autobiography of a life, a very interesting life. There's no mention of Iraq. Is that because you felt like it was such a smart move and has gone so well that to mention it would be gloating?"
On "The Daily Show" Thursday night, host Jon Stewart interviewed filmmaker C.C. Goldwater about her HBO documentary "Mr. Conservative," about her grandfather, Barry Goldwater. Stewart praised the film, and asked about the surprising liberal tilt of the talking heads in the film. (There were a few more conservatives in there than advertised, including Richard Viguerie and Morton Blackwell.) But the granddaughter clearly has a very chilly feeling about the present-day conservative movement:
Stewart: “Barry Goldwater, what’s an interesting story in the film, a lot of the people that are talking are considered the leading voices of the Democrats or the liberal side. Hillary Clinton -- ”
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, well known for slamming conservatives, talked last night with former President Clinton and proceeded to offer him non-stop softball questions. The ex-President plugged his new Clinton Global Initiative program to fight poverty, global warming and support racial reconciliation. (Stewart did not press as to what specifically the project will do.) The tenor of the comedian’s questions can be summed up in this query on what makes Clinton happy:
Stewart: "All right, so what, in your mind, you’ve worked, you’ve worked in government for most of your career. Now you are out and doing private initiatives, these types of things. What’s more effective? What are you having more fun doing and what do you think is more effective?"
Yes, that’s right. Jon Stewart asked the former President what he found "fun," political or private life? It became clear, very early in the program, just how the talk show host differentiated between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Stewart: "We got a fine program for you tonight Former president Bill Clinton will be sitting down with us today. And uh, I'll ask him probably questions about the political climate and the complex issues, and he will be like [high pitched, hysterical voice], duh, I don't know. Oh, no, wait. That's, uh, oh, right, no, this is President Clinton."
On Monday's edition of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central -- the same edition rolling out the red carpet for Bill Clinton promoting his latest Global Initiative talk-a-thon -- Jon Stewart opened his show by trashing conservative columnist Robert Novak over his C-SPAN critique of Stewart as a self-righteous comedian with airs of grandeur. Admitting he's "mean" and "sophomoric," Stewart described Novak as a heartless "vampire demon," a "terrible person," and even an "enemy of American democracy."
"Daily Show" fake news anchor Jon Stewart appeared live over the weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, just north of DC. Monday's Washington Post reported the crowd gleefully greeted the Bush and Cheney mockery:
Stewart was perhaps at his best when skewering both sides of the political aisle, at which point -- as the comic urged both sides to just "be reasonable!" -- the event felt like one big ideological love-in. And when the William and Mary grad quickly slid into his impersonations of Bush and Cheney (the latter evoking the "Batman" villain the Penguin), "Daily Show" die-hards -- like music concertgoers hearing the first few bars or beats of a song -- erupted with gleeful recognition.
On Friday's C-SPAN morning show "Washington Journal," host Brian Lamb interviewed columnist Robert Novak in the hour of 9 to 10 AM Eastern time on his column on the unraveling of the Plamegate scandal. (Novak was in Urbana, Illinois, at his alma mater, the University of Illinois.) Perhaps the most entertaining parts were his harsh takes on Chris Matthews and Jon Stewart, whom he called "a self-righteous comedian taking on airs of grandeur."
After a supportive call mentioning Matthews, Novak said "Hardball" was unwatchable:
"Well, thank you. My problem here, sir, is that I never watch Chris Matthews' program because I don't feel that I can possibly learn anything from all that shouting and blathering and interrupting people. So I haven't watched his program in years. I don’t know if he said much about this and I don’t care. I can imagine that Mr. Matthews believes that being mistaken in journalism means never having to say you’re sorry. So I don’t think he’ll say much of anything."
Ricks, The Washington Post’s Pentagon
correspondent, appeared on the August 14 edition of "The Daily
Show." Ricks, the author of the caustic new book "Fiasco:
The American Military Adventure in Iraq," told host
Jon Stewart that journalists report the situation in Iraq far too
"I actually think the media probably has been too easy on the
situation. I think it’s probably worse then the media says
Stewart helpfully demonstrated the media’s hopeful
tone when he replied, "You maybe believe this to be, maybe
the greatest debacle in the history of American foreign policy?" As
the MRC’s Tim Graham previously wondered,
shouldn’t Washington Post readers
question if Ricks’s daily coverage of Iraq will be colored by
extremely negative outlook? In the segment, which aired at 11:20PM, he
stated the following about Fiasco’s
Our own Michelle Humphrey noticed that NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared Tuesday on "The Daily Show," and in the midst of all the chummy banter, Jon Stewart was still cracking wise, in the face of the evidence, that the federal government has/had no presence in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro transcribed it:
"You just came back from Lebanon. In the Lebanon or in New Orleans, which do you think had the stronger U.S. Government presence?" [Laughter]
Brian Williams only paused, and said with a smirk: "Somebody came to play."
P.S.: You might find the mention of Reutergate interesting, especially how Williams said (joked?) the fighting in Lebanon is "too real" for Hezbollah media manipulation:
The "Conservatives Without Conscience" tour continued last night on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart last night. Like Keith Olbermann, Stewart honored Bush-hating author John Dean and his thesis, with softball questions like this: "This book though is almost a scientific approach to where, in some respects, where conservatism is going. Talk about that aspect of it." Stewart spun his thesis that conservatives are ignorant, not evil:
"Do you believe it's a conscious effort on their part? When you say without conscience, that almost suggests that they are willfully ignoring the humanity of people. I sense with this government it's not that. It's more 'we have convinced ourselves of this certainty and rightness of this position and we will not deviate from that even if everything within our five senses tells us that everything we've done is wrong.' [Whoops, applause.] My point is that it's not evil in the sense of without conscience. It's ignorant in the sense of [in sort of a hillbilly voice] 'I did that?' You know, that kind of thing."
"Legendary" liberal White House reporter (now Hearst columnist) Helen Thomas appeared on Comedy Central's "Daily Show" on Tuesday night to promote her new book attacking the rolling-over-for-Dubya-like-puppies press corps, titled "Watchdogs of Democracy?" The exchange displayed typical, hard-left Helen, laughing at the idea that President Bush has accomplished anything and asserting that we should be spreading democracy through blue jeans and rap music. (I kid you not.) Host Jon Stewart began by asking about how long she's been in the White House -- since 1961.
As most of you will read this first thing in the morning, I not only suggest you not have a coffee cup near your computer, but also highly recommend that you remove all fragile objects from the room.
Yes, this is that hysterical, for Wednesday evening, comedian and faux-scientist Al Gore was Jon Stewart’s guest on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” In reality, this was the perfect venue for Dr. Gore to discuss his absurd ideas if you think about it, for as the subject was Gore’s new romantic comedy, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the yucks were aplenty.
As this was a long segment, I will highlight only a few of the finer moments, and then encourage you to watch the video(courtesy of Expose the Left) for the full effect, as this one doesn’t disappoint.
The primary goal of the Daily Show is, of course, to entertain, but it's safe to say that Jon Stewart and company also would like to push (or is it pull?) American politics to the left.
A new study, however, indicates that the program may in that sense be at odds with itself. Specifically, it suggests that the mocking, condescending tone of the Daily Show may result in diminished voter turnout among its viewers -- almost all of whom, as you probably assumed, are non-conservatives.
Richard Morin, in today's Washington Post, reports:
Two political scientists [have] found that young people who watch Stewart's faux news program...develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.
Fox News Channel is currently thinking about a new show that is supposed to be a conservative version of the very liberal "Daily Show," seen on Comedy Central.
I've long thought conservatives should take a stab at televised political parody. The last time it was really done was during Rush Limbaugh's short-lived syndicated show which was doomed by niche audiences and unsympathetic programming. In the cable age, though, this type of show really has potential. I was pleased to see FNC has apparently chosen just the person I had in mind for such a show, radio host Laura Ingraham.
TV Newser has more details, noting that the show may never happen since it's only a pilot.
Related: Study says "Daily Show" creates negative perceptions among viewers about politics. The post has an unrelated but interesting item about how Democrats believe the federal government should give more aid to white victims of Hurricane Katrina than black victims. See James Taranto's discussion for more.
Rachel Sklar, formerly of Mediabistro's FishbowlNY blog and now the "Eat the Press" specialist at the Huffington Post (no "Green Acres" accents required), reports on what she calls a "cheap but hilarious" shot at congressional Republicans on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." It's apparently funny to blame Republican softball players for the floods in New Orleans, as fake-reporter Dan Bakkedahl put it:
The Daily Show's Dan Bakkedahl reported last night on the crisis gripping Congressional-league softball in D.C. this season after the Republican players split off into their own league in response to more inclusive regulations proposed by Democrats. According to the Wall Street Journal (and The Daily Show), the Republicans "seceded" from the league after the Democratic commissioner, Gary Caruso, permitted below-average teams to compete in the playoffs. The WSJ and Daily Show cited several emails accusing the league of being "all about Softball Welfare" and accusing Caruso of "punishing success and rewarding failure - He's a Democrat. Waddya' expect?"
"Here's the big difference between us (the Democrats) and the right-wing bill that passed the House with the President's support: This is a President who can't find a six-foot-four Saudi terrorist. How's he gonna find 12 million undocumented people and send them all back across the border? That's what he wants to do."
The truth, as Bill pointed out in his "Ridiculous Item of the Day" tonight (Tue. May 16, 2006), is that President Bush has never advocated finding and "sending back" illegal immigrants by the millions. The President made this perfectly clear in his address last night:
I told her the Gingrich revolution was a fraud. Arianna had signed on for the part of the revolution that wanted to unravel the social safety net and replace it with faith-based programs. She took the mission very seriously but soon discovered that the Gingrich Republicans did not. "Effective compassion" was just a fig leaf for closing down the Department of Education, cutting Medicare and getting rid of the Environmental Protection Agency.
John Cusack is a fabulous actor. I’ve been a huge fan since “Sixteen Candles,” which, depressingly, is 21 years old. Yet, the opinions he expressed yesterday at the Huffington Post blog are going to make it very difficult for his work to be viewed objectively in the future:
“Bush 2. How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually is...how low the moral bar has been lowered...and (though I know I'm capable of intellectually lazy notions of collective guilt) how complicit our silence as citizens is...Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and future.”
In the days and weeks following the disaster in New Orleans, many in the media suggested that the federal government’s “slow” response to Hurricane Katrina was caused by the race and economic condition of those impacted. President Bush had to regularly answer the questions of reporters concerning this, while media members opined at will.
Most famous of such assertions was reported by NewsBusters when rapper Kanye West said during a televised Katrina relief fundraiser that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Earlier that day, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said, “Almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black.” And, as also reported by NewsBusters, CBS News’s Nancy Giles said: “[Bush] has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."