Jon Stewart is My Hero

Did you see Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire last night?

Sweet Jesus, it was something else. He took advantage of the live show to hijack the program and call out Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala for just playing the partisan he-said she-said gotcha game, instead of really trying to dig for the truth. Media Matters has the video if you want to see it for yourself.

The meta-irony is that Carlson actually tries to play the gotcha game on Stewart while he’s doing this! And Stewart shoots him down in flames. At least Begala has the sense to hang back and let Carlson hang himself.

Highlights (taken from the official transcript):

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.
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.
CARLSON: But in its defense…
STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say…
STEWART: Here’s just what I wanted to tell you guys.
STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

CARLSON: Kerry won’t come on this show. He will come on your show.
CARLSON: Let me suggest why he wants to come on your show.
STEWART: Well, we have civilized discourse.
CARLSON: Well, here’s an example of the civilized discourse.
Here are three of the questions you asked John Kerry.
CARLSON: You have a chance to interview the Democratic nominee. You asked him questions such as — quote — “How are you holding up? Is it hard not to take the attacks personally?”
CARLSON: “Have you ever flip-flopped?” et cetera, et cetera.
CARLSON: Didn’t you feel like — you got the chance to interview the guy. Why not ask him a real question, instead of just suck up to him?
STEWART: Yes. “How are you holding up?” is a real suck-up. And I actually giving him a hot stone massage as we were doing it.
CARLSON: It sounded that way. It did.
STEWART: You know, it’s interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility.
CARLSON: I felt the sparks between you.
STEWART: I didn’t realize that — and maybe this explains quite a bit.
CARLSON: No, the opportunity to…
STEWART: … is that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity.

CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I’m sorry. I think you’re a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.
CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.
STEWART: Now, this is theater. It’s obvious. How old are you?
CARLSON: Thirty-five.
STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.
CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.
STEWART: So this is…
CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You’re a…
STEWART: So this is theater.

Stewart has been on the record as hating these types of shows for a long time — see, for example, this interview of him from last year on PBS’s Now with Bill Moyers, where he made his opinion pretty clear:

MOYERS: Which is funnier? CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL?
STEWART: CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL? Which is funnier? Which is more soul-crushing, do you mean? Both are equally dispiriting in their… you know, the whole idea that political discourse has degenerated into shows that have to be entitled CROSSFIRE and HARDBALL. And you know, “I’m Gonna Beat Your Ass” or whatever they’re calling them these days is mind-boggling.
CROSSFIRE, especially, is completely an apropos name. It’s what innocent bystanders are caught in when gangs are fighting. And it just boggles my mind that that’s given a half hour, an hour a day to… I don’t understand how issues can be dissected from the left and from the right as though… even cartoon characters have more than left and right. They have up and down.
I mean, how… it’s so two-dimensional to think that any analysis can come from, “It’s the left and it’s the right and well, we’ve had that discussion and that’s done.”

But for him to take his critique into the belly of the beast, on live TV… amazing. A serious must-watch.


Off-topic Erin

October 19, 2004
10:36 am

I don’t know about any Jon Stewart on Crossfire, but Ridley Scott absolutely should’ve put that alien lair scene back into Alien. He should’ve cut back on the footage of various folks looking for the cat at various times when you knew what was coming. That’s why the audience was restless, including myself. Cut back on that and don’t show Harry Dean Stanton’s demise that you saw coming a mile away anyway. Just show the lair scene. UGH! SO horrifying.
That’s all,
Off-topic Erin


October 20, 2004
9:53 pm

Go Jon!! As frustrating as this had to be for Jon Stewart to go through, his point was made. We all saw it too. They never once addressed his question throughout the entire show.