Posts Tagged ‘Jon Stewart’

What He Said

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

This is the best expression I’ve seen of the frustration most Obama supporters feel after Obama’s no-show at the debate last week. If you want the humor first, start with this one.

Credit Where Credit Is Due Part II

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Iraq: Over $1 trillion
Over 4,500 US casualties
Libya: Less than $2 billion
Zero US casualties

Here’s Lawrence O’Donnell with the news and the lengths Republicans have gone to deny the president credit for the foreign policy victory. Jon Stewart actually has an even better take on the Republican reaction, but I’m trying not to make every post just another Daily Show clip.

Fear and Pandering in Las Vegas

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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And the winner of the Republican Presidential Debate is….

Barack Obama.

Jon Stewart breaks it down.

Never Pick a Fight With A Comedian

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

I actually wrote this a while back, but it seemed a little off key with the whole Republicans-holding-the-United-States-economy-hostage-in-order-to-get-their-way-in-a-political fight, crisis. Now that the memories are fading slightly, here you go…

Thought this recent skirmish between Jon Stewart and Fox News was interesting.

On June 2oth, Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday for an interview with Chris Wallace. The interview featured some mild fireworks as Wallace ran a number of clips from the Daily Show and attempted to tar Stewart as a hypocrite for having his own biases while criticizing Fox.

Wallace is usually sited as the best example of a legitimate newsman at a network full of partisan hacks, but I was somewhat surprised at how much Wallace appeared to have drank the Fox Kool Aid, actually making the argument that Fox’s overt partisan agenda is in the same league as the more subtle biases of other news organizations. As Stewart noted, MSNBC may have attempted to follow Fox’s model, but it is not even close to Fox as an effective propaganda tool of the left.

Wallace’s biggest mistake in the interview was this attempt to create some equivalence between Fox News and The Daily Show. Fox is a partisan organization that tries to pawn itself off as a ”fair and balanced” news outlet, while The Daily Show is a comedy show that has no obligation or pretense of being a fair arbiter of the news.  Right off the bat, Wallace begins the fight with a disadvantage.

The coverage of the interview on the left mostly focused on the fact that Fox edited out Stewart’s comments about Bill Sammon, a Fox News exec whose released e-mails show him encouraging Fox News employees to deliberately distort the news in order to score partisan points for conservatives.

Stewart also got dinged by the Right for saying that Fox viewers were “consistently” the least informed of all news viewers. Politifact checked this statement and found that, while a number of studies had shown this, others had not, so Jon Stewart’s statement had to be considered “false.” Fair enough, but later that week, Stewart hit back on his show (see above), with a scathing scroll of the most eggregious false statements by Fox over the past few years, including Politifact’s “biggest lie of the year” for both 2009 and 2010 (can they get the trifecta this year? Stay tuned…).

The Fox propaganda machine went into high gear. Over a period of just a few days, they went on the attack against Stewart over a piece that he had done on presidential candidate Herman Cain’s (hopefully tongue in cheek) statement that he would only approve bills that were 3 pages or shorter. The party line on Stewart for the week was that Stewart was racist, refused to admit his political bias and that a conservative wouldn’t have been able to get away with those jokes.

But once again, Fox undermined their own point. First of all, by releasing a clearly coordinated attack on Stewart, they provided yet aother example of how manipulated their “news” coverage is. Second, arguing that Jon Stewart is racist is laughable, and finally, of course there’s a double standard: One is a comedian whose show airs right after South Park and a show that features puppets having sex. The other is desperately trying to portray itself as a “fair and balanced” news organization despite all evidence to the country.

Stewart’s response, makes the point well.

The lesson for Chris Wallace:

Never pick a fight with a comedian. You’ll lose every time.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

One of the weirder aspects of the death of Osama bin Laden is the degree to which Republicans do not want to credit Obama for his success in bringing bin Laden to justice.

The week after bin Laden was killed, my uncle (after an initially magnanimous response) wrote to me that Obama deserved the credit for “authorizing the raid,” but that Democrats should “quit slapping yourselves on the back,” since we wouldn’t have known anything about bin Laden if we didn’t torture people and “if you guys had your way” there would be no SEAL Team to get bin Laden. He then proceeded to list his oft-repeated parade of horribles (of course all Barack Obama’s fault) that the country should now be focusing on.

Of course, that’s not factually correct, nor does it reflect the position of  Democrats. But more importantly, the death of bin Laden is probably the best news for the US (with the possible exception of Barack Obama’s election) in the past 10 years. It makes sense to spend some time celebrating it before we go back to bemoaning how f-ed up things are and blaming them all on Obama.

In addition, Obama deserves more than just “credit for authorizing the raid.”  Of course little clues gathered here and there throughout the years helped, but the bulk of this operation was conducted during Obama’s time as president and with his team running it. Not only did he “give the final go ahead,” (as another of my conservative sparring partners said) but he devoted more resources to the hunt for bin Laden than were previously devoted to him; his team presided over the surveillance of the house he was in; they built mock ups of the building and planned down to the smallest detail, and (practice makes perfect) executed it without a single American casualty.

Instead of just flying a drone over and bombing the location, Obama decided (in the face of a divided counsel) to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and send these guys in commando style without informing Pakistan. This (by the way) is exactly what he said he would do during the campaign and everyone of his political opponents (from Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton to John McCain) criticized him for it. Furthermore, he insisted that the force be larger than initially planned for so that it could return fire if the Pakistani’s attacked the SEALS. This is the reason that another helicopter was on hand to blow up the one that crashed. Instead of risking more lives (and causing even more headaches for us) he gave the approval to kill bin Laden instead of capture him.

Obama Adminisitration counterterrorism advisor John Brennan called the decision to authorize the raid “one of the gutsiest calls by any president in recent memory” In case you thought that Brennan was an just administration shill, Bob Gates (Bush I CIA Director, Bush II Defense Secretary) put it in even stronger terms on 60 Minutes:  

I worked for a lot of these guys and this is one of the most courageous calls — decisions — that I think I’ve ever seen a president make.

I’m thrilled for the country that we got bin Laden, but I am also happy that Obama was the one to get him. To me, it validates the type of operations that Obama’s team has focused on: targeted, surgical strikes that are lethal, but don’t involve large scale invasions of other countries in parts of the world that doesn’t like us very much.

As Jon Stewart points out, listening to Republicans like Andy Card say that “I think (Obama) has pounded his chest a little too much,” is laughable. Andy Card was the Chief of Staff to George W Bush when he landed a plane on an aircraft in a flight suit in order to celebrate the end of a war that we are still fighting 8 years later.

In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that happened.

Like I said (and the Obama Administration has stated many times) these things don’t happen overnight. Certainly the Bush Administration’s work contributed to the death of bin Laden. But the army of Bush Administration Officials who took to the airwaves to claim credit for accomplishing this mission just aren’t credible. As Stewart notes, “they’re like the Winklevoss Twins of getting bin Laden: If you were the guys who were gonna kill bin Laden… You woulda killed bin Laden.”

Stewart vs. O’ Reilly on “Commongate”

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Not to give anymore creedence to this totally bogus issue, but I can’t resist watching Jon Stewart calling Fox out on their shit, on Fox.

and Part Two

Jon Stewart Explains the Ryan Plan

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

The Daily Show – Ryan’s Private Savings – Path to Prosperity
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If you have more than a few minutes, here is the intro.

How Jon Stewart & Shep Smith Got the 9-11 First Responders Bill Passed

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Another story I didn’t get to during the holidays:

The role of Jon Stewart and Shepard Smith in getting the Zadroga bill passed.

The Zadroga bill funds health care and other benefits for 9-11 first responders and others who helped clean up the Ground Zero site in the aftermath of 9-11. You would think that, as much as the Republican’s used 9-11 as a political cudgel against the Democrats for the past 9 years, they would wholehaertedly support the idea of taking care of the America’s heroes…and if they didn’t support it, that they would easily be shamed by the Democrats to support the bill.

But if you thought those things, you would be wrong. The bill was brought up in the House in July but didn’t pass due to partisan manuvering on both sides. It finally did pass the House in September, but the Senate had not taken it up before the election and the Democrats wanted to pass it during the lame duck session. In an amazing display of party unity (not to mention chutzpah), the Republicans sucessfully filibustered aid to 9-11 first responders, so that they could get tax cut extentions for the top 2% of earners.

After they got those tax cuts passed, they then said that they didn’t have time for the bill and that it would have to be put off until the new Congress was sworn in (which would make it significantly more difficult for passage). With the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal and the START treaty also on the docket, many pundits declared the Zadroga bill dead.

Jon Stewart had actually been on this issue early in the process, covering the partisan bickering that caused it to fail in the house initially, but with the prospects for passage becoming increasingly dim, Stewart featured it in December. His initial piece included a parade of Republican politicians who had invoked their sacrifice of 9/11 first responders to score political points, but refused to support a fund to help them deal with terminal illnesses they developed while inhaling that toxic air. The hypocrisy was stunning. Before he signed off for the year, Stewart dedicated his entire last show to the bill.

The show started with an into that explained the situation, focusing specifically on the almost complete lack of media coverage, but especially Fox, who had cranked up their 9-11 outrage machine so many times before to support Republican political goals.  

Then, in some of the most powerful television I have ever seen, Stewart interviewed a panel of  four 9-11 first responders who were terminally ill.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster
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Stewart asked them to respond to clips of Senator Mitch McConnel sheding tears about the retirement of fellow senator, Judd Gregg, and Senator Jon Kyl saying that Harry Reid holding the Senate in session after the Christmas holiday would be disrespectful to Christmas itself. Watching these terminally ill guys respond to those clips with their dry New York City wit and their calm dignity was devastatng.

Poor Mike Huckabee didn’t even get a chance to plug his children’s book, as Stewart grilled him about why Fox hadn’t cranked up their 9-11 outrage machine on this issue.

The next day, Shep Smith at Fox News took up the torch for Jon Stewart, speaking passionately to Mike Wallace about how outrageous it was that help for the heroes of 9-11 was being blocked so that “we could give tax cuts to Warren Buffett.”

The next Monday, Shep was at it again, pointing out that, since his show is on Fox, they are able to get call backs from Republican legislators, and then proceeding to name every single senator who had refused to come on his show to discuss this.

On Tuesday, New York Senator’s Kirsten Gilibrand and Chuck Schumer announced that they had the votes to block a filibuster and would pass it during the lame duck session. Later in that day Senator Tom Coburn announced that he had put an anonomous block on the legislation in an attempt to run out the clock on the lame session and kill the bill (Coburn had claimed that this was being passed without any hearings, but as Rachel Maddow pointed out, the hearings actually took place in Coburn’s Committee.)

Shep Smith called out Senator Coburn directly, saying:

this is the picture of Senator Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma… he is the man who is trying to slow this down or block it, so that the necessary  funding for the ilnesses of the first responders who made it to Ground Zero to try to save lives on the day that America changed, remember? This is the senator who is vowing to block it, so that it doesn’t make it through: Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma.

Apparently, the Republicans got the message and realized that, if they couldn’t get Fox News to support them, they were really on the wrong side of this issue.

The bill (with $2 billion less in it and some changes in the funding) passed the Senate the next day by voice vote.

After the holiday, Stewart had Kirsten Gillibrand on his show and she thanked him for his advocacy on the issue. Stewart demurred, saying that he just did the obvious thing, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that this bill probably would not have passed if not for the work that both Jon Stewart and Shep Smith did to put pressure on the Republicans.

Glenn Beck: The Puppetmaster

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This is brilliant.

Check this out first.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
George Soros Plans to Overthrow America
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Then this.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Manchurian Lunatic
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Rally to Restore Sanity

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Jon Stewart announced his Rally to Restore Sanity a few weeks ago, a  sort of Million Moderate March scheduled for the weekend before the election on the National Mall. According to Stewart, the rally is for “the other 70%” who aren’t crazy “Obama is a Socialist” Tea Baggers or ”Bush is Hitler” Iraq War Protesters. According to Stewart, the purpose is to spread the timeless message: “Take it Down a Notch for America”

More on the significance later. In the meantime, you can check out the official website, or the announcement from the Daily Show for more information.