No country for old menches.
To achieve his highest purpose (From the NYT):
In ‘Daily Show’ Role on 9/11 Bill, Echoes of Murrow
By BILL CARTER and BRIAN STELTER
Published: December 26, 2010
Though the scale of the impact of Mr. Stewart’s telecast on public policy may not measure up to the roles that Mr. Murrow and Mr. Cronkite played, Mr. Thompson said, the comparison is legitimate because the law almost surely would not have moved forward without him. “He so pithily articulated the argument that once it was made, it was really hard to do anything else,” Mr. Thompson said.
The Dec. 16 show focused on two targets. One was the Republicans who were blocking the bill; Mr. Stewart, in a clear effort to shame them for hypocrisy, accused them of belonging to “the party that turned 9/11 into a catchphrase.” The other was the broadcast networks (one of them being CBS, the former home of Mr. Murrow and Mr. Cronkite), which, he charged, had not reported on the bill for more than two months.
“Though, to be fair,” Mr. Stewart said, “it’s not every day that Beatles songs come to iTunes.” (Each of the network newscasts had covered the story of the deal between the Beatles and Apple for their music catalog.) Each network subsequently covered the progress of the bill, sometimes citing Mr. Stewart by name. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, credited Mr. Stewart with raising awareness of the Republican blockade.
Eric Ortner, a former ABC News senior producer who worked as a medic at the World Trade Center site on 9/11, expressed dismay that Mr. Stewart had been virtually alone in expressing outrage early on.
“In just nine months’ time, my skilled colleagues will be jockeying to outdo one another on 10th anniversary coverage” of the attacks, Mr. Ortner wrote in an e-mail. “It’s when the press was needed most, when sunlight truly could disinfect,” he said, that the news networks were not there.
Jon Stewart had to put one of his core principles out of its misery like a Downer cow (from Salon)
As Stewart persuasively argued, "We've all bought into the idea that the conflict in the country is left and right, Republicans and Democrats." Furthermore, an insidious, attention-grabbing news media "amplifies a division that I don’t think is the right fight ... [because] both sides have their way of shutting down debate."
"It's become tribal," he declared, and the major culprits aren't Tea Partying loons -- they're the CNNs and Foxes and, yes, MSNBCs of the world. "The problem with a 24-hour news cycle is it's built for a particular thing -- 9/11," he explained, noting sagely that "O.J.'s not going to kill someone every day." Meanwhile, "The real conflict is corruption vs. non-corruption, extremists vs. non-extremists."
The Maddow interview was a stunning example of the increasing greatness of Stewart, a man who, unlike every faux or ostensibly real cable news pontificator out there not named Anderson Cooper, is distinguished by his compassion-rich lack of objectivity. Other pundits may have opinions and stances galore, but few possess Stewart's fearless embrace of that oft-overlooked essential quality -- empathy.
He was at times maddeningly indulgent, granting reasonable doubt to George Bush for our ongoing nightmare in Iraq and Afghanistan by asking, "What is their intention? Is it to save American lives?" He questioned how helpful it is "if the place you start is 'he’s an evil man who lied to us' ... I do think he believes Sadaam was dangerous." And he told liberal America, to its intense discomfort, "You have to examine your own orthodoxy."
Jon's problem is that, for all of his formidable comedic and observational skills, he is still in an almost catatonic denial about the country in which he lives. He obviously, deeply wants us to be something more than we are. Something better than we are. A place where people with different but sincere and well-reasoned beliefs can fight hard, come together afterward to figure out a good-enough compromise, and then move on to the next thing.
You know who else wants that? Every fucking Liberal I know.
But this simply is not that country: not some feisty middle-brow Camelot with a couple of equally wacky, equally flawed and equally honorable political philosophies contending in an arena with rules and referees. Instead, this is a country where one political party is ruled by loathesome men with grotesque motives on behalf of a tiny clique of plutocrats and bulwarked by an electoral army which is kept constantly tweaked to the point of near-riot by a carefully-cultivated media cocktail of rage, ignorance, bigotry and God.
What Jon cannot face is that he will never have the country he wants -- that we all want -- by clevering and cajoling and joking and reasoning it into existence.
We've tried that for the last 30 years.
Facts bounce off these people.
Reason. Does. Not. Work.
What Jon Stewart seems unwilling to face squarely is the simple fact that this nation cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free. And that for the nation he wants-us-to-be to stand any chance of rising up out of the rubble of what-we-are, the Right as it is constituted today will have to be electorally and culturally destroyed, root and branch.
In the face of the absolute depravity of the Right and the absolute cowardice of the Villager Center, Jon Stewart showed remarkable courage by the simple act of telling the truth on teevee.
But that's the problem, Jon.
The world you want will never, ever come until you take on Capone.
And that means taking sides.