• http://www.jz.org Z

    Wow. I wonder why he didn’t attempt the same thing with Bill O’Reilly when on O’Reilly’s show – he seemed quite eager to please there, and could have made similar points.

  • steve

    Just followed the link to the streaming video segment of Jon Stewart’s appearance on CrossFire. Wow!

    As a “troubled registered Republican” that is completely focused on removing the Bush Administration from office, I’m always amazed at how The Daily Show hits “the essence” of the issues of the day and points out the obvious (and not so obvious) ironies. I Tivo every episode so I don’t miss ‘em.

    This appearance on CrossFire was phenomenal. I’m always stunned and amazed at how so many guests “play along” with shows and are a “good guest” — specifically when they’re plugging a book or movie. Not this time. Stewart delivered well placed left hooks, and right upper-crosses as he bobbed-n-weaved jabbing at the guys (and putting Tucker Carlson on his heels the entire time was refreshing and funny-as-hell).

    The only thing is this: don’t be surprised if the invites stop and we don’t see him on other shows, the publisher of ‘America’ blows a gasket and doesn’t allow further book promotion, and/or the next appearance Stewart is at sees the hosts coming prepared to rip him a new asshole.

    But I’d sure love to see him do Hannity & Colmes next!

  • http://medianalysis.typepad.com/louisxiv/ JD

    Thanks for pointing to the stream. I will have to borrow the link for my weblog.

    What Jon Stewart is doing is so necessary. I was depressed this week, seeing Reaganistic drivel in the publicity tour that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been doing for their puppet movie. Go, Jon, go!

  • Ryan Healy

    Stewart is kind pop culture’s version of Noam Chomsky – Noam for serial dieters with ADD who never went to school, that is. His points about the role of the media in our democracy stopped just short of insightful allowing the audience to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. The guy is brilliant.

  • http://lesserevil.peio.org/ peio

    Thank you very much prof. Lessig!

    I watched the show several times and it made me really sad. It should be some kind of a curse to be funny and smart at the same time, because people will never take you seriously. That guy made so many insightful points, but everybody just kept laughing.

    I think that humour and satire are the best weapons against tyrany, but if John Stewart is in the first lines trying to save America the things have gone really, really bad.

  • Ryan Healy

    I think that humour and satire are the best weapons against tyrany, but if John Stewart is in the first lines trying to save America the things have gone really, really bad.

    Peio- There have been many, many intellectuals and otherwise “serious” people making eloquent points about the nature of media and democracy for lots of years – the same points that Stewart hinted at yesterday on Crossfire. The genius of Stewart is his ability to keep it funny and to get people thinking about issues they’d normally not think about.

    Of the hundreds and maybe thousands of intellectuals making the same points Stewart is, how many of them have the following Stewart does?

    Jon Stewart is playing a very valuable role and his message isn’t tarnished by the package it comes in.

  • onymous

    and i thought this 96MB file might be worth downloading and all i got for my effort was inarticulate, repetitive, naive, boring, insulting, judgmental, arrogant, dull 1980 style lines. the bow tie interviewer summed Stewart up pretty well: clearly anti Bush and pretending to be funny.

    as a european observer i found the advertisements more interesting, which is to say hardly at all.

  • raoul

    “pretending to be funny.” LOL!!! I guess that makes you “inarticulate, repetitive, naive, boring, insulting, judgmental, arrogant” and not doing such a good job pretending to be anything other than pro Bush.

    “as a european observer”

    Are you Tony Blair? Geez, if it is, wow, for someone so articulate and seemingly so bright you sure “jumped the shark” on the Iraq war business, didn’t you?

  • Mojo

    onymous; Don’t let the taunts of people like Raoul upset you. It’s not your fault that you don’t have a sense of humor. Plus it’s hard to understand such things when your first language isn’t English.

  • http://bigpatterns.blogspot.com J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    I’d echo some of the anonymous poster’s sentiment: I too have heard more articulate expressions of the sentiment Jon Stewart was trying to convey. But to say Stewart was horrible would go too far. I’d guess he was understood by the audience. I think this is just another case of the performance not living up to its hype.

    This is my first time seeing “Crossfire” and I was not impressed. The format of the show is apparently designed to squelch real debate and instead give only enough time for ridicule and cheap shot one-liners. So, I’d say Stewart was right when he described the show as “theatre” that doesn’t live up to its potential. No surprises there, this is corporate-made TV; putting hard questions to corporatists encourages people to recognize that we don’t need what they’re selling.

    I had read a transcript of this show before seeing a recording of it. The jocular way in which Stewart said what he did doesn’t come through in the transcript, but the transcript is a fast read because the hosts like to hear themselves speak. I had seen the man in the bow tie before on PBS, his show follows “NOW” in my market. He’s remarkably unimpressive to me; I’ve not heard him ever say anything substantive. The other man seemed like he wasn’t there to do anything but present lame arguments for the bow tied man to “rebut” (thus making the bow tied man’s points seem better). I’ve seen this strategy on “Hannity and Colmes” on FOX.

    The host on the left revealed that the hosts were wired for sound via earphones, getting feedback from people off-camera. Knowing that they’re producing such witless commentary with help only makes their interruptions seem more lame to me.

    I’m glad I’m not paying for that. Someday I’d like to see Jon Stewart’s show so I can get a better impression of what he does.

  • LuYu

    I have to agree with the more critical posts of John Stewart’s performance. While I agree with what he said to the hosts of the show and am deeply impressed by his bravery, I was disappoined to find his attacks crippled by his partisanship. If he is going to talk about that show being theater, why does he not realize that anything involving the democrats, the republicans, or both is pure theater. The fact is: In a duopoly, your choice has already been made for you.

    So, the theater is the media telling you what your choices are and setting up a system where people will argue black and white over irrelevant issues. This stops people from realizing they have no choice. Eventually, one of the approved candidates will win, and We the People will have more of the same. But I suppose that is entertaining TV.

    PS: Before you (whoever you are) post the inevitable argument that Clinton was somehow a Saint, please think about how much you like the DMCA, the CTEA, showing ID at the airport (yes, this first happened under Clinton), and tax law that allowed some of the biggest corporations to be paid dividends by the IRS in the last few years.

  • matt perkins

    Higher-resolution stream located here.

    (Very ad-supported site; don’t forget to use the >| button to skip the pre-video commercial.)

  • Anonymous

    raoul wrote:

    Are you Tony Blair? Geez, if it is, wow, for someone so articulate and seemingly so bright you sure �jumped the shark� on the Iraq war business, didn�t you?

    followed up by Mojo:

    It�s not your fault that you don�t have a sense of humor. Plus it�s hard to understand such things when your first language isn�t En
    glish.

    i see issue avoidence and personal attack are alive and well even here :(

  • http://www.permanent4.com Permanent4

    “i see issue avoidence and personal attack are alive and well even here :(“

    You get what you give.

  • Tayssir John Gabbour

    The problem is that Jon might’ve made a point more forcefully: there is a narrow spectrum in which people are allowed to express themselves in any mainstream media. Within that spectrum, discourse can be very vociferous and attacking, which gives the impression that there’s actual debate. But only if you stay within bounds; otherwise you’re marginalized.

    I would have liked to “consume” their product, but it’s low quality.

    If you’d like something more substantive though, here’s Jon Stewart on the Charlie Rose show. [realaudio. ugh] Where he is given space to explore the issue further.

  • http://www.projectqed.org Ron Levy

    This move by Jon Stewart came just as we were launching a website attempting to improve the quality of political discourse. We set out a system for analyzing the logic and substance of candidate speech. It’s the Project on Quality in Election Discourse at http://www.projectqed.org

  • John

    I’m a bit surprised by the descriptions of Jon Stewart’s commentary as “insightful” and “intellectual.” Shows like Crossfire and Bill O’Reilly are theatre masquerading as serious public discourse? Really, Jon, do go on! Corporatized media are failing to fulfill their role in our democracy? Remarkable! (Yawn).

    The irony here is that Stewart uses the same hackneyed rhetoric as the pundits he so gleefully criticizes (calling them “partisan hacks” does not do a lot to elucidate the underlying issues Stewart would have you believe he understands) but he’s allowed to abdicate or, rather, disclaim any responsibility to engage in meaningful discussion of the issues because his show (which, by the way, I think is hysterical) is followed by prank-calling puppets.

    I agree with Carlson that Stewart’s lectures are “boring” even if they do at important issues. And they’re certainly no more substantive than those delivered by the objects of his comedic ire in the mainstream media or, for that matter, the floors of Congress.

    Keep telling jokes, Jon. But please don’t be so presumptuous as to take up the mantle of mainstream media’s watchdog when you’re parasitic of their shortcomings.

    P.S. I agree wholeheartedly with the person who compared Stewart with Chomsky. Perhaps Stewart is even more insidious?

  • elf

    John Stewart is the only real American journalist out there. He can actually think, form his own opinions and speak up his mind, imagine that on American TV?!!

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    If you want to read genuinely interesting analysis on Charlie Rose (a rarity), read the transcript of Amy Goodman’s appearance on his show from March 12, 2003. It was her first time on Rose’s show and I’m guessing it will be her last because she told it like it is, explaining how the corporate media helped bring the public to support an invasion and occupation based on lies.

    You’ll find Rose falling back on tropes that never fail to persuade thinking people:

    • reducing a system of passing on misinformation and lack of examination down to one person (the “bad apple” defense used recently with all the corporate crime going on–drawing focus away from the system and toward an individual who can be ceremoniously fired and replaced if need be)
    • how Rose’s bosses at CBS or Viacom (CBS’ owner) don’t tell him what to say. NBC and ABC newsreaders say the same thing and it rings hollow because every employee knows who writes their paycheck. Employees know what their bosses don’t want the public to hear or see, so they know that if they spill the beans they lose their job. Being independent means having nobody but the listeners to report to, in both senses of the word. Fox is the exception here, they apparently do tell their newsreaders what to say. But I find it hard to believe this is par for the course because there’s no real need for that close scrutiny.
    • Agreeing with the idea of opening up a forum for the full diversity of voices in the public to be heard, knowing full well he hasn’t the authority nor the genuine desire to see that occur. If it were to happen at the network, and people saw critical analysis of those in power, he might lose his job. The last thing those in a position of power want is competition.

    Forget Jon Stewart on Crossfire getting steamed and calling some guy a “dickhead”. If you want well-informed, articulate, and potent descriptions of what’s wrong with the media and how corporate influence hurts our ability to stay informed, read this interview.

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    My apology — I meant to say “always fail to persuade” not “never fail to persuade”.