More Jon Stewart.

Here’s what nytimes.com has to say about Jon Stewart on Crossfire (video available here).
They make the point that has obviously occurred to everyone: Why does Jon Stewart continue to use this “I do comedy” defense when asking others to step up to the plate? Doesn’t this begin to lose credibility? I’ve thought about this, and while I agree that it does sometimes feel like a cop-out answer, he’s sticking to the point that his show is not supposed to and shouldn’t be setting the example for “reputable” news organizations. It only strengthens his points when those he confronts respond by telling him to get serious on his show. They end up coming across as accidental comedians themselves.
In the Crossfire appearance, you can pinpoint the exact moment at which Begala and Carlson cease to be amused enough by his message to tolerate him: it’s when they start exhorting him to be funny for them. This is possibly the worst thing they could have done, as it only underscored Stewart’s point that their show boils down to theatrics. He did the right thing by refusing to perform for them. It made them look silly and childish for wanting easy entertainment rather than serious dialogue: he didn’t play their game, and they were totally baffled.
It’s possible that Jon Stewart has just outgrown The Daily Show and needs another platform from which to take action himself. I do not think it would be the right answer to try to turn the Daily into something more “serious” — and, who knows, perhaps he doesn’t want to relinquish this easy escape of “I run a comedy show.” But by all accounts he seems to be the kind of guy who really is willing to step up to the plate and set an example, given the right forum and context, so I doubt that he’s just hiding here. In any event, he’s got a conscience and he’s doing something important, so more power to him.

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2 thoughts on “More Jon Stewart.

  1. RE “Stewart needs to be more self-aware,” wrote Dan Kennedy, a media critic at The Boston Phoenix, an alternative magazine, on his blog.
    Is there ANYONE more self-aware than this guy? Well, you, me, maybe, but ANYONE else?
    (Okay…Wally.) But anyone else more self-aware than Stewart?

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