The Daily Show – A Seminal Moment

Posted by | October 16, 2004 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Political apathy is evident everywhere nowadays. There’s discussion on the cause, but most agree that the media are guilty of marginalising the power of the vote. I just thought it was this country – but The Daily Show, hosted by the razor-witted, sharp-tongued, Emmy award winning Jon Stewart, shows that it’s alive and kicking in America too.
The Daily Show started as a comedic look at the days’ political events in America. Now, it’s the only show which gives it to you straight, in a humourous way that really sticks in your mind. Jon Stewart, in my opinion, is the funniest political comedian I have ever seen, and his show appears to outclass all other “news” shows in America.
So, why am I telling you this now? Well, Jon was invited yesterday onto “Crossfire”, a popular political show on CNN, to discuss his new book. But, instead of promoting, he accused the mainstream media – and his hosts in particular – of being soft and failing to do their duty as journalists to keep politicians and the political process honest.
It was one of the most powerful televised exchanges in recent history. Instead of pushing the tome, Stewart used his time to verbally slap the network and the media for being “dishonest” and “doing a disservice” to the American public. After co-host Tucker Carlson suggested that Stewart went easy on Senator John Kerry when the candidate was a guest on “The Daily Show,” Stewart unloaded on “Crossfire,” calling hosts Carlson and Paul Begala “partisan hacks” and chiding them for not raising the level of discourse on their show beyond sloganeering.
“What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery,” Stewart said. “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably. I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It’s so painful to watch.”
It takes balls of steel to do something this large. As one of the commenters on Metafilter put it, “Not only is our most honest news program not really a news program, but the only guy on TV who wants to be serious about living up to journalistic responsibility isn’t even a journalist.”
Good luck in the elections, America…
LINKS (because you really have to watch this):
More on the event: Jon Stewart Bitchslaps CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Show – MTV
Clips from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show: herehere
The Crossfire showdown: BitTorrentQuicktime videoAnother Quicktime videoWindows Media Player (WMP) videoAnother WMP videoTranscript and videos
Comments/articles on the broadcast: MetafilterMTVSalon.com

2 Comments

  • Jon Hunt says:

    That is AMAZING. It’s a clip I’ll never forget.

  • dafyd says:

    I saw the clips on iFilm (there’s one from Crossfire, and then one from the next Daily Show that he did…), and Mr Hunt is quite right that it is “AMAZING” … if only we really had political commentators who felt able to do that in this country. In fact, it would help if there were programmes where political commentators COULD do that in this country…

    Oh well. I’ll just make do with Have I Got News For You and Bremner, Bird and Fortune. Not quite the same though, is it?

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