Good to see Stewart called out on a couple things. I’ve said for some time that I think he wants to have it both ways, to be taken seriously (hence hosting a giant political rally) but to claim to merely be in comedy when it suits him.
The most interesting part of the discussion is when Stewart tried to dispute the portrayal of Bush and company and evil. That’s because it didn’t seem to be based on any objective disagreement with the idea, but personal and professional discomfort with it.
First, his tv show is comedy/entertainment. Obviously. Whatever his rally was, that doesn’t change anything about his TV show.
Second, what does ‘media/political landscape’ mean? He obviously has a TV show. But some old school people believe that there are at least two kinds of media: news and entertainment. Stewart is clearly an entertainer, I don’t know how this could be disputed. Other people – including Maddow – are news people. Or at least, that’s what they’re pretending to be.
Third, what he says about Bush being evil is that you could call FDR evil, and that might be right, but it certainly seems misleading. To group Bush in with Hitler, Hussein, and Pol Pot is misleading, if not wrong. I thought he pretty much straightforwardly said that even if it’s true that Bush is evil, saying that doesn’t do much good and seems to contrast Bush with, say, FDR in ways that aren’t accurate.
Obviously I was impressed with Stewart. But maybe I’m missing something.
To expand on that a bit, under the standard put forth by Stewart…when and how could ANY figure, policy or act in American politics be called “evil”? If you have to be as bad as Hitler or Pol Pot to be evil, then the word and the concept have no useful meaning.
Frankly, Stewart doesn’t want to have to acknowledge Bush or any other significant figure in American politics as “evil” because if they were, he would be morally required to do more than just sit on his ass and tell jokes…and he doesn’t want to do anything more than that.
By the way, I’m not arguing that Bush II was evil. Merely that Stewart’s arguments against that contention were self-serving and not substantive.