Friday, November 12, 2010

Jon Stewart Roasts Maddow, MSNBC for "Teabagger" Remarks

I really, really hate to say it, but I generally like Jon Stewart. I think he's a funny dude. I appreciate his sense of humor for what it is. I'm well aware that he's a liberal, and that many of his bits on "The Daily Show" take aim at conservatives, but he is equally capable of pointing out the absolutely moonbattery that takes place on his side of the aisle, and has done so frequently since Barack Obama took office.

As such, he was not afraid to challenge Rachel Maddow on her and MSNBC's conduct regarding the "Teabagger" remarks that fly around the failing news network so frequently and without reverence. The best part?
He did so while a guest on her show.



(emphasis my own) 
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: The caricature of the Left being as vociferous as the right is something that… 
JON STEWART: I don't think that's the caricature of the Left. I really don't. I think the caricature of the Left is one that is slightly that -- that – they use as a cudgel. Didn't you hate when the Republicans used to use the phrase DemocRat. DemocRat. 
MADDOW: The DemocRat Party. Has the word rat in it. 
STEWART: It seemed dickish. DemocRat Party. Or when you spoke out against the war, there was a subtle undertone of you're un-American, you don't want to win the war on terror. Well, I think that what also comes out sometimes from the other side is teabagger. Now that’s I think derogatory. And I don't think anybody would mistake it for that, for anything other than that. And it's been used on this network quite frequently, by hosts, by guests 
MADDOW: You don't think it was funny that they were calling them, they were saying tea bag the White House before the White House tea bags you? 
STEWART: I thought it was funny for a day. I thought it was funny for a day. 
MADDOW: Funny enough to play the John Waters clip of the teabagging thing on a bar? 
STEWART: For a day. Probably wouldn't have run with it with guests and things for months. 
MADDOW: I didn't run it for months. 
STEWART: No, but your part… 
MADDOW: But I got criticized for it for months. 
STEWART: Well, because you kind of made hay of it. You made more hay of it than maybe that, you know, that… 
MADDOW: Took the joke too far.
Maddow seems so desperate for Stewart to side with her, like someone trying to be liked by "the cool kid." It's quite, quite sad.

The truth is, though, that even Stewart can't side with her. MSNBC has overplayed the "Teabagger" angle, along with every other derogatory Tea Party/Republican/Conservative reference one can think of. Worse yet, they've done this to the point that their snark and incivility has been 100%, complete overkill - a far cry from the light-hearted, "Those silly Republicans...and occasionally, Liberals" attitude that allows Stewart to be so much more successful. Plus, Jon Stewart can actually be, um, funny.  Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow just come off as angry, bitter, and totally partisan.

Noel Sheppard, author of the Newsbusters article in which this clip appears, hits it out of the park.

And therein likely lies the real problem for both Maddow and Olbermann: in trying to inject humor into their reporting, they've both become farcical caricatures of newscasters that can't possibly be taken seriously.  
As much as they want to be considered as journalists, they also strive to be Jon Stewart. By contrast, he just sees himself as a satirist commenting on the day's events with as much humor as possible.
Jon Stewart is a left-winger with whom I disagree on many, many things. However, what makes him so successful, is that he knows he's just a smart-ass with a national audience, and doesn't expect anyone to take him seriously. He knows he can't be both a smart-ass and a serious journalist. Maddow and Company, on the other hand, do not.

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