Saturday, November 6, 2010

Restoring Sanity

So I was wondering what all of you guys think about Jon Stewart's speech. I tend to agree with both Bill Maher and Keith Olberman and Jimmy Dore. Maher, on his show last night, said,

"The message of the rally was that if the media stopped giving voice to the crazies on both sides, then we could restore sanity...there are no moderates on the other side. When Jon announced his rally, he said the national conversation was dominated by people on the Right who believe Obama's a Socialist and people on the Left who believe 9/11's an inside job, I can't name any Democratic leaders who think 9/11's an inside job. But Republican leaders who think Obama's a Socialist? All of them."

I really do think Jon Stewart did the country, and himself a disservice by speaking as though the fucking psychopaths on the American right are equivalent to the people on the MNSBC left. While Rachel Maddow and Keith are certainly "liberal" they are hardly radicals, and the rest of the channel, while mostly to the left of center, is far more moderate. Fox news, as Rachel Maddow said on her show Friday night, is literally a political organization masquerading as a news source. MSNBC is a news source of people who are liberals because the facts dictate a that progressive policies make more sense, in LITERALLY ALL CASES. Not because they have a biblical certitude in the inerrant moral superiority of the Democratic Party.

Having said all of the above I think Jon Stewart painted himself into a corner somewhat. Assuming he knows better than what he said on the mall, he was not in a position to be totally honest, he would come off (to much of the country), as distinctly partisan, during an event marketed as anything but. However, I still think what he did was irresponsible. Painting MSNBC and fox with the same brush does tremendous damage to legitimate media.


Chris Yarrison said...

I meant to follow Stewart and Colbert's rally more closely. I think there are reasons to be excited about it, especially if groups and individuals - probably significantly further left than Stewart - came out of it with a sense of solidarity and momentum for the next thing.

Whether Stewart ever manages to sharpen his rather weak, apolitical perspective, may prove no more than biographical trivia if he lets history leave him behind.

Adam said...

Well, we have to keep in mind that this was a direct response to the Tea Party and Glen Beck rallies.

Yes, the false equivalency of the left/right is a little troubling.

But you can't forget just HOW MUCH the media covered those tea party rallies and those crazy people, and how much they made the world feel like the actually represented a significant portion of the population.

It really was a problem, and certainly in hindsight (and after the elections) seems a lot more silly, than it did just a few months ago.

Also, it's important to people how little Jon's rally was covered, as opposed to the Glen Beck rally that had just 1/3 amount of people. There was barely a mention and most of the news outlets banned their people from going there to cover it.

So, if you wanted Jon Stewart to have a left wing rally, then you should be disappointed, but that's not what he wanted to do. And so be it.

Adam said...

also, I watch MSNBC everyday, and I really do have a hard time calling it legitimate news.

I know they're not radicals, but if they're not covering bullshit human interest stories like Lindsay Lohan or something, then they're covering the most surface level bullshit of news.

"Let's see what Jay Leno said last night about John Boener's tan!"

"Michael Steele says that Obama is a socialist, more on that later"

Sonia said...

The media did not represent the immense crowds that were there -- saying there were 'tens of thousands of people' when in fact there were hundreds of thousands not counting all of the people who couldn't fit on the mall or on the metro to get there.

Stewart missed an incredible opportunity (over 200,000 people there, and 2 million viewers world-wide not to mention follow-up press, as limited as it was). Even within the 'marketing' of the event as being non-partisan he could have said so much more -- first of all, to tell people to VOTE which he never did, to reprimand 'a' party (not just the media) -- it happens to be the Republicans, but Dems might do the same if tables were turned -- for being obstructionists and more concerned about making Obama look bad and getting 'points' than getting anything done. I would have challenged the 'patriotism' of people who just want to oust the president and are so driven by that objective that they are busier making him look bad than trying to get anything passed. I would have questioned the wisdom of repealing bills once they have just been passed by the existing majority. The Repubs are going to spend more time trying to undo what has been accomplished, than actually trying to solve problems. I would have told the Dems to get their shit together and come up with concise messages and stop always being on the defensive, having to react instead of lead. He should also have told Obama to stop trying to be so conciliatory, that there is actually no hope in that.

Stewart could have made some profound comments about the state of today's politics -- that it's all about funding, about being re-elected, it's all about spin and about the media (that part he did talk about)

Maher made some very powerful points: he said that the comparison between 911 conspiracy theorists and tea partiers is ridiculous -- those who think 911 was an inside job are not running for, and being elected to, congress! They are not a definable political movement with a social agenda and they are not obliterating the lines between church and state. They also don't have a news outlet at their disposal like the tea partiers do. Maher also said, importantly, that the far right is moving the right so far to the extreme that the middle is now much farther to the right than it ever was, so meeting in the middle completely eliminates any progressive goals.

ben said...

Adam - and let's not forget lockup, 26 hours of prison coverage every weekend!

You make a good point, for all of their protestations otherwise, MSNBC is still an entertainment organization. But, as we have discussed before and both agree on, there is a distinction between determining how to discuss a fact based on partisan politics, and inventing facts out of thin air based on partisan politics.

I think what it comes down to, is that Maybe Jon Stewart should have chosen his words more carefully. I appreciate his message in general. I only watch MSNBC, but it would be nice to have a televised news source that, I dunno, spent more time talking about plutocracy and derivatives and the criminality of big business and why Larry summers is a flaming piece of dog shit, rather than showing that clip of sarah Palin standing in front of the Turkeys for the five millionth time.

But ultimately, I think that for the left, the message was lost in the way he delivered it. I may be wrong, but I think that MSNBC is not terribly guilty of playing off of the politics of fear, and more guilty of wasting our time with fluff when there are serious stories to discuss.

ben said...

and its true, to deliver the things that my mom talked about, he would certainly have been dismissed as a liberal holding a liberal rally.

And THAT is the real problem, there is no way to present facts without being told that you have a liberal bias, and I wish he had focused on that idea in some way...but you may be right, I don't know how he could have done it.

Adam said...

I keep writing long responses, but then lose steam because I hate blog arguments.

I look forward to talking about why I disagree with your take on this in person