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Daily Show’s Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Did any one happen to catch this?

Stewart has been critical of shows such as Crossfire, which he says has done more to hurt America than help it. Therefore, when he came on the show yesterday he didn’t hesitate to engage in serious debate about the media. This seemed to catch hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson off guard, who I think were expecting a more jovial — and less confrontational — conversation.

Though Stewart displayed some of his usual, whimsical self, he delivered some honest and unrestrained opinion on the show and its hosts. It’s amusing to watch Carlson and Begala scramble as they realize the audience is on Stewarts side, and they try to cut to commercial breaks and attempt to swing Stewart onto other topics such as Bill O’Reilly. The result made for some really good television, perhaps the most interesting of recent history.

Just watch it and see for yourself. It’s very refreshing.

  1. Timothy says:

    Damn that Blog!

  2. Olly says:

    So we (you, me, Jon Stewart) all agree that they should be doing something different, we’re just not sure what. Whatever it is, though, it should serve as a shining beacon of democracy. It should ask the tough questions of politicans, but do so without all the arguing. And they should stop being dicks.

    Glad we got that cleared up.

    Sho, I liked the damn puppet movie a great deal. We should have got a thread going, but Brandon beat us to it…

  3. BrianJ says:

    What I took from the Stewart interview is that with this partisan bickering its the little guy who suffers.
    We always know what side Rush Limbaugh and Al Frankin are going to take – the party line.
    Unfortunately the world we live in does not fit into the black and white, two party box, world suggested earlier.
    There are a lot of inconsistencies within the platform of both parties, but as long as the focus is kept on the other guy then the party is ok.
    I mean where does religious liberty (Rep party platform), defined as: the freedom and power to act in a manner of ones own choosing, fit in with a constitutional admendment prohibiting someones right to choose who they want to marry.
    I could go on and on for both parties but I’m not paid to keep these parties in line.
    I know know what side the guys on crossfire will take and they can argue till there blue – but the politicians are not held accountable.
    Which is the job of the media is it not?
    I think Stewart is right.
    The media is all we have left keeping these guys accountable.

  4. Andy D says:

    ” CNN editors were busy this weekend cleaning up a transcript from Stewart’s Friday appearance on CROSSFIRE. One CNN executive called Stewart’s performace ‘belligerent.'”
    During the live program, Stewart slammed host Tucker Carlson: “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

    The awkward exchange came at the end of an 8 minute segment between Stewart, Carlson and co-host Paul Begala.

  5. Sho says:

    The soundtrack was genius, especially the song about how much Pearl Harbor sucked.

  6. Danimal says:

    Team America? FUCK YEAH!

  7. Sho says:

    Maybe it is the predictability. I’m probably just getting tired of the media and its superficiality. For example, instead of reporters focusing on the issues from the last debate, they latch on to what Kerry said about Cheney’s lesbian daughter. Same with the the liberal and conservative blogosphere RE: Bush’s Natl. Guard memos and Bush’s bulge/communication device. It seems like everyone gets caught up in the sideshows, and don’t pay attention to what’s going on in the middle of the ring.

    Anyway, thanks for the hat tip Olly. What’d you think of Team America? Not quite a South Park movie, but it had its moments.

  8. Olly says:

    Sho: Props for this, by the way.

  9. Olly says:

    Perhaps the reason I’m going on about this one is that I’m not sure exactly what you’d have Crossfire become. “Catalyst for democratic action and change” is a great phrase, but what would it actually sound like? I also don’t think the show as is is uninformative or uncritical – rather, all their political guests will either get softballs from Begala and right hooks from Carlson, or vice versa, in utterly predictable fashion. Maybe the numbing predictability is the problem. The interesting bits on shows like Scarborough’s and O’Reilly’s tend to come when they feint towards considering a new position.

  10. Sho says:

    You’re right that Crossfire has no responsibility to be different than how it is currently.

    However, I think Stewart’s point is that these shows have the potential to be a catalyst for democratic action and change, to be very critical of politicians and other important people. Instead, they devolve into a form of entertainment rather than information; a platform for the same rhetoric and the same towing of the party line.

    If that’s what the viewers want, then so be it. I could change the channel, but the problem is that I’ll see the same thing wherever I look.

  11. Olly says:

    Sho: they duck his criticisms because his criticisms are neither here nor there. Look, Crossfire is a show about people yelling at each other. It’s “left vs. right, black vs. white, paper vs. plastic, Red Sox against the Yankees.” I find it completely unwatchable. But as Stewart is quick to point out in the case of his own show, just because the media – en masse – has to serve as a watchdog on politicans doesn’t mean that a commentary show can’t adopt whatever tone it wants. Just because Crossfire is on CNN doesn’t mean it has to be Walter Cronkite – in fact, one semi-valuable point it makes (over and over again) is that absolutely every issue can be made incredibly contentious.

    As for TV stations hurting Americans by “giving [them] what they think [they] want to see” – well, we can’t have that. I would respectfully recommend changing the channel.

  12. Sho says:

    SJP: You probably put it better than I could have.

    Olly: Though I think Stewart’s importance is overblown at times, he’s right to not let the Crossfire people off the hook. Instead of responding to Stewart’s criticisms directly, Carlson resorts to ad hominem attacks and Begala tries in vain to change the subject.

    Stewart doesn’t deny that his show doesn’t help its guests’ agendas. But it’s shows like Crossfire that are supposed to challenge politicians, and apparently it doesn’t (I admit I’m not a regular viewer of Crossfire so I can’t make a strong judgment on that, but seeing how the hosts respond to Stewart is enough to fuel my opinion for now).

  13. sjp says:

    I didn’t see the show, regretably, but I did read the transcript. I think Jon’s absolutely right about Crossfire being hurtful to America. It’s the media’s job to be the check-and-balance of the gov’t. The Daily Show doesn’t proclaim itself to be a hard-hitting news analysis show, it’s on Comedy Central for crying out loud! Shows like Crossfire, and there are many, hurt Americans by giving us what they think we want to see and not what we need to know to make informed, educated decisions about the people we elect and issues that truly affect us. I don’t think getting two people from opposite view points spinning their party’s rhetoric helps voters at all. We need someone to put pressure on the politicians and policy makers, not just regurgitate the same BS. When I turn on The Daily Show, I don’t expect Jon Stewart to ask hard-hitting questions of John Kerry. I do, however, expect the people working at CNN to.

  14. Olly says:

    Like I’ve said, I think the Daily Show is a victim of its own success. Stewart is a great, assured presence, and a magnificently funny guy, but the charm that comes from his self-deprecating “fake newsman” bit starts to look a little tarnished when he’s telling Begala/Carlson that they’re “hurting America”. Please. If someone said the same to him, he’d respond “you know, the show right before us features puppets making prank calls”, roll his eyes, and move on. But when Begala/Carlson make their version of the same answer – “well, we try to ask pointed questions” – he won’t let them off the hook. They are, we learn, “helping the politicans and corporations.” They are “part of their [guests’] strategies”. Whereas the Daily Show isn’t?

    Mind you, Crossfire does suck quite hard, so credit to him on that score.

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