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Puzzling Jon Stewart disappointment

The frustration with Stewart mirrors the frustration with Obama’s compromises


 

The Daily Show goes through periods when it’s hot, and periods when it’s not so hot; there’s disagreement on whether the show is on a hot or cold streak, and every viewer will have his or her own idea of when the show is at its best. This is a difference, I think, between an every-day show (or four times a week, at least) and a weekly show. Weekly shows tend to fall into irreversible decline: they can get their groove back, un-jump the shark, but usually they reach a peak and then fall from that. When the producers of a weekly show tell us that they’re going “back to basics” and making the show as good as it used to be, we really know it’s doomed. But for a show with over 150 episodes a season (instead of 22 or 13), each individual show matters less, and the quality of the show fluctuates with current events, the mood of the people working on it, everything you can name. Daily shows can fall into decline and never come back, but they often go through rough and smooth patches instead.

So if someone wants to say that The Daily Show is going through a rough patch, that’s a legitimate argument to make – I’ve made it at times; everyone’s made it when they don’t like what the show is currently doing. I think the early Obama era, contrary to expectations, was a good time for The Daily Show: people thought that with the Bush administration gone, he’d have less material, but in fact it freed him up in a way. The Bush material was being shared with all the other talk-show hosts. The Obama era gave new life to Stewart’s favourite target, Fox News, and provided all kinds of political jokes (about liberal frustration with Obama, for example, or the dysfunctional nature of the health-care negotiations) that weren’t in the late-night comedy mainstream at the time. Other hosts, apart of course from Colbert, played down the political humour for much of 2009, wrongly believing that there wasn’t much funny about the Obama presidency; this allowed Stewart to do his own thing for a while.

Lately, especially since his “Rally to Restore Sanity,” there’s been some frustration with Stewart on the part of his core audience (generally a liberal audience) that mirrors their frustration with Obama’s compromises. Conservatives see Stewart as someone who claims to be criticizing “extremism on both sides” while using that common-sense pose as a way to attack conservatives. Liberals are frustrated with the both-sides routine too, but for a different reason: they see it as a dodge to avoid being a fighting liberal, or acknowledging that both sides are not equally bad. Stewart likes to see his country as a common-sense type of country, full of common-sense type of people, being torn apart by politicians and the media. Many liberals are starting to reject this idea, seeing the U.S. instead as an irrevocably divided country along cultural, religious and political lines – and they’re frustrated that Stewart doesn’t take a stronger stand for their values. There were liberal complaints that the “Rally to Restore Sanity” was not a political rally: for liberals, the only way to restore sanity was to keep the Republicans out of power, and Stewart didn’t try to do that. He thinks you can separate common sense from everyday politics, whereas there’s an increasing sense among his fan base that there is no separation.

That idea, the idea that liberals see Stewart as a kind of comedic Obama figure, and that their problems with Obama are mirrored in their problems with Stewart, is made fairly effectively toward the end of this long anti-Stewart article by Tom Junod. (“They both gained moral authority by seeming to rise up in answer to our terrible times … and yet somehow they have both ended up as political figures who insist that they are above the troublesome fractiousness of politics.”) Unfortunately, to get to that point, we have to get through a lot of complaints that don’t really make sense to me. Much of the piece is the usual complaint that Stewart hides behind the pose of being “just a comedian” whenever the going gets tough. But I don’t think it’s just a pose. The Daily Show may not be non-partisan, but a genuine partisan political comedy show would take a different tack – it would be much more urgent, more hectoring, and above all, would be much more willing to forego audience laughter for the sake of a political point.

Now, it’s all well and good to say that Stewart isn’t funny enough or sharp enough. As I said, I’ve done it at times. (Right now I think he’s doing quite well, though he is struggling a bit with the fact that Obama jokes have seeped into the mainstream of comedy again, leaving him looking for other things to joke about. Colbert’s method of dealing with this problem is to dig deep into specific, wonkish issues like campaign finance. But Stewart’s show can’t really get that wonkish; it depends on broader political humour.) But this piece seems to want to criticize him for not being something he can never be. More than that, I didn’t get a clear sense of what exactly he thinks Stewart does best: does he think Stewart would be funnier if he were more partisan? Does he think Stewart should take himself less seriously or more seriously? Basically, Junod just doesn’t seem to like the image that Jon Stewart has created; criticism of the show is almost beside the point. But the problem with criticizing an image, rather than a performance, is that it’s almost beyond the performer’s ability to fix. Which may well be the point.


 
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Puzzling Jon Stewart disappointment

  1. Much of the piece is the usual complaint that Stewart hides behind the
    pose of being “just a comedian” whenever the going gets tough. But I
    don’t think it’s just a pose.

    Tucker Carlson, one of Stewart’s old foes, certainly thinks it is. He once wrote that Stewart would stay on after a show appearance and keep debating the points he was making. In other words, he took himself quite seriously, and then some.

    • That’s different from it being a “pose” though, isn’t it? 

      I mean, he is a comedic performer, right?  He doesn’t need to be the same person on camera as off camera.  The “just a comedian” stuff comes up when people accuse him of having a bias, or not living up to journalistic standards, because they somehow forget that they’re watching Comedy Central, and I’ve always thought that was entirely fair.  He doesn’t NEED to be unbiased or have journalistic standards… he’s a COMEDIAN.  That doesn’t mean that Jon Stewart’s entire real life needs to be defined as “just a comedian” any more than Jaime Weiman is “just a writer”, or Stephen Harper is “just a politician” or Tucker Carlson is “just an idiot”.

      To my mind, even if Jon Stewart takes himself very seriously, that’s no reason that Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” needs to be taken seriously, and you have to admit that sometimes folks like the people at Fox News treat some of the things Stewart says in his comedy show as though they’d been said by an elected official at a solemn press conference.

      • Well, I’m going to disagree with just about everything you wrote in that post.

        What Tucker Carlson was precisely trying to say is that Steward does take himself seriously – so much so that he continued to fiercely debate his points even after the show was over. So, when Stewart responds that it’s only comedy, he doesn’t believe it, does he?

        Secondly, I hear liberal after liberal say about the show that it’s a more serious and penetrating source of news than the actual news. And they don’t say it sarcastically. They actually believe it.

        As much as you may think that Fox News takes the show seriously, I think Jon Stewart and his ideological followers take it even more seriously.

        In the end, it’s a little watched show that thinks it makes an impact on political news, and I don’t think it does.

        • There’s no doubt that Stewart’s political views influence the content of the show. Stewart may take his politics seriously, but the show itself is intended as humour – barbed, yes, and often with a good point to make, but humour first and foremost.

          It also needs to be noted that while Stewart is the face of the show, there are a lot of writers and other staff that influence what ends up on the air; Jon delivers the message, but it’s not always his message. Which is no doubt why he falls back on the “just a comedian” bit; I doubt that he’d deliver a message that he disagreed with, but content and tone is ultimately a group effort.

          Personally, I find most of the show’s material irreverantly hilarious and – while I love it when he skewers the right, I have no objections to skewering boneheaded behaviour from anywhere in the political spectrum. Idiots (and idiocy) exist all along the spectrum.

          • So you’re doing exactly what Jon Stewart is accused of doing, which is to fall back on the “oh, it’s just comedy” bit when under scrutiny. Interesting.

            Personally, I don’t think he or the show is that funny, and that they do take themselves too seriously, as does the audience — mostly from the left.

          • It’s satire. Since when does satire need to be “fair and balanced”.
            Cable news is not (supposed to be) satire. That’s why they have an obligation as journalists to live up to professional standards.

          • a) Where did I say that satire needs to be “fair and balanced?”

            b) Again, not sure why Stewart or his apologists always fall back to this claim that the show is strictly satire. Beyond the things I’ve already said, he has serious guests on his show and he asks serious questions of them. Just ask Jim Cramer.

          • Yes, and Stewart himself has described the idea of young people turning to his show for actual news as “the saddest thing I have ever heard”.

            You’re claiming that he has no credibility and is biased, and you seem frustrated that Stewart basically agrees with you.

          • I’m not claiming he has no credibility, his bias is obvious and essentially conceded by all here, and he’s not agreeing with me. Your above quote is just another example of him resorting to the “I’m just a comedian” bit.

            Here’s another example. If he’s just a comedian, then why did he organize that Washington rally of his? For him and his followers, it’s obviously more than just comedy. Not sure why there’s such a reluctance to admit it.

          • Here’s another example. If he’s just a comedian, then why did he organize that Washington rally of his?

            Because it was funny.

            It was a joke.

          • Are you seriously suggesting that the sole point of that rally was comedy? Why are Stewart and his followers so desperate to deny the obvious, which is that he and they take themselves and his show at least somewhat seriously? Why is this a sin? I don’t get it.

          • “Here’s another example. If he’s just a comedian, then why did he
            organize that Washington rally of his? For him and his followers, it’s
            obviously more than just comedy. Not sure why there’s such a reluctance
            to admit it.”

            Did you see the rally?  Their performance was 3 hours long, and aside from the 5 minute closing speech, it was all comedy sketches.  The hundreds of thousands of people who went there came in their Haloween costumes, and came bearing signs reading things such as “Bring back Crystal Pepsi”, “Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin are probably both very nice ladies”,”Stop all government spending that doesn’t directly affect me”, and “I disagree but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler”.  If there was any political message, it was in opposition to media sensationalism and unrealistic rhetoric, and if you think that those things are exclusive to conservatives then I think you’re giving liberals too much credit.

            The most serious of folks there were a couple of 9/11 truthers who showed up upset that Stewart made fun of them.

          • It would appear that I’m not the only one who believes it’s all a lot more than comedy:

            The television satirist insists it was not a political event: his targets were overheated debate and laziness in the media.

            http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CB0QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fmedia%2F2010%2Foct%2F31%2Frally-restore-sanity-jon-stewart-washington&rct=j&q=rally%20sanity%20stewart&ei=t_l1TtWKMO7J0AHY6JjkDQ&usg=AFQjCNHcCCoUuU7I3KFFYO86J4X8QSLhjg&cad=rja

            If the targets were debate and media, then it’s not just comedy, is it. There’s a point to it all.

            Again, why do Stewart and his followers keep denying the obvious? Almost seems like a poorly hidden agenda or something. Wow.

          • The post you’re replying to didn’t claim it was “just” comedy, it said “Stewart may take his politics seriously, but the show itself is intended
            as humour – barbed, yes, and often with a good point to make, but
            humour first and foremost.”

            As in, comedy was the main point, but you somehow read that as “comedy was the only point”.

          • For people who claim that the show isn’t that serious, you’re sure being serious about insisting it’s comedy “first and foremost”, aren’t you?

            Look, I’m not pulling this out of my hat. Esquire, not exactly a conservative rag, repeats the same point I’m making:

            He’s not so funny anymore, and it’s not only because he’s come to take himself seriously. It’s because in the Obama era, we’re starting to see the price of refusing to stand for anything.

            http://www.esquire.com/features/jon-stewart-profile-1011#ixzz1YV0D4bVA

            So, nobody believes Jon Stewart when he says he’s just a comedian. All your claims to the same effect ring hollow, too.

            Again, not sure why some of you are so intent on telling us it’s just comedy, when it clearly isn’t.

            It’s getting kind of weird, actually.

          • Ok, consider this: John Stewart (who I’ll use as a catchall for all the writers on TDS) has a set of beliefs. This set of beliefs definitely informs his comedy. The show is a comedy that specializes in politics and media and so Stewart’s opinions on those topics inform the performance. Often, yes,  the comedy is there to call attention to some point he believes in. When he does more serious interviews with people, it’s usually related to things that he cares about. He has a point of view and it informs his performance.

            Contrast this with the classical ideal of a journalist. The journalist is honor-bound to present all the facts of a case and not let their personal views or preferences get in the way. If a journalist does a hard hitting interview with a member of a political party, then if they interview a member of the opposite party, the interview is expected to be equally hard hitting. It is (or should be) their job to be unbiased. 

            John Stewart is not a journalist. It is not his job to be one. When he is accused of being biased, is when he usually responds with his comedian line. He does not have to hide his point of view. He doesn’t have to treat both parties the same. He signed up to be a comedian, not an impartial reporter of current events.

            While he has a point of view, he is usually intellectually honest about it. The same cannot be said for a lot of journalists today.

          • If Jon Stewart is trying to hide behind his “I’m just a comedian” bit, then he is specifically being intellectually dishonest, isn’t he?

            Not only that, but he tends to deny the existence of the very kind of intellectual dishonesty that you bemoan from real journalists. Specifically, he only tends to blame Fox for being ideological. No one else.

          • I must not have been clear.

            “If Jon Stewart is trying to hide behind his “I’m just a comedian” bit, then he is specifically being intellectually dishonest, isn’t he?” 
            No. The simplest way I can think of to express it is this: The common complaint is that JS does not uphold the same standards as a journalist. His response is simply, “You are correct. I do not uphold those standards. I am not a journalist.” That’s it. If that means you respect him less or more because of it that’s fine. Don’t hold him up to some standard that he is not trying to achieve and then castigate him for not living up to it. 
            You know what else? He’s a terrible priest too. He’s married, never goes to church, never practices sacraments. What a terrible priest he is. Oh sure he uses his “I’m not a priest!” defense but come on, who can respect him if he doesn’t act like a priest?”Not only that, but he tends to deny the existence of the very kind of intellectual dishonesty that you bemoan from real journalists. Specifically, he only tends to blame Fox for being ideological. No one else.”First of all, he has pointed fingers at other news organizations. Intellectual Honesty does not equal Not Having A Point Of View. Let’s say that I do not want some state governor to win re-election. If I were intellectually honest, I could point out things like a) he supports measures I disagree with, b) he has been convicted of embezzlement, or c) cite things he has said in context which I disagree with (assuming all these are true). What I cannot do is, for example, a) lie b) come up with strawman arguments, c) cut footage so that it appears he is saying something he is not. 

          • Who in the world is holding Stewart to the standard of being a journalist? The accusation against him is that he’s not just the comedian he claims to be. That’s the intellectual dishonesty; one which many of you on here seem very eager to perpetuate, by the way.

          • Ah I think I see where the disconnect is. When he says that he is “just” a comedian, he is not saying that he does not have a point of view or that his point of view is disingenuous or only for the sake of comedy. 

            He can be a comedian and have a point of view, can he not?If I’ve missed your point, please explain how,in your opinion, he is more than just a comedian.Who holds him up to journalistic (or other higher) standards? See, e.g., his appearance on Crossfire. In my opinion, it’s when it’s suggested that he’s failing to be some other thing that he uses the “just a comedian” defense. 

          • Ah I think I see where the disconnect is. When he says that he is “just” a comedian, he is not saying that he does not have a point of view or that his point of view is disingenuous or only for the sake of comedy.

            Of course he’s saying just that. Contrary to what you were trying to suggest, he is in fact being intellectually dishonest.

            Not exactly sure why some on here are so desperately trying to protect him on this point. It’s like some kind of bizarre or hidden agenda. I don’t know.

            Unlike what you’ve admitted, I have not been unclear. You’re more than welcome to read my numerous posts on here to get a better understanding of what my points are. Thank you.

          • I’m afraid we must agree to disagree then.

        • What Tucker Carlson was precisely trying to say is that Steward does
          take himself seriously – so much so that he continued to fiercely debate
          his points even after the show was over. So, when Stewart responds that
          it’s only comedy, he doesn’t believe it, does he?

          Is it not possible that Stewart takes himself and the issues seriously, but not his show/character?  Also, people may sincerely say that they view Stewart’s show as a more serious and penetrating source of news than the actual news, but that doesn’t mean Stewart himself believes it, let alone aspires to that.  My impression is that instances where there’s some truth to that perception don’t make Stewart happy, they make him incredulous.

          I do agree that the impact of the show on politics is probably less than many people think, but then again, no one at Comedy Central is FORCING the MSM and the folks at Fox News to talk about the Daily Show so much.

  2. Like many people,  I probably ascribe more fault to Republicans and their supporters than I do to Democrats, in connection with the mess the US finds itself in.  Still, having said that, I have a real problem with the kind of criticism that some liberals are levelling at Jon Stewart, as reflected in this article.  These liberals’ (decidedly partisan) position, parsed down to its essentials, is that Republicans and their ilk are 100% to blame for every single problem the US has today.  And what flows from that is the asinine assumption that the only side which should compromise in connection with the political horse-trading which must go on in order to get things done is . . . the Republicans and the political right wing.  What also flows from this is an equally asinine assumption that the Democracts and the American left should somehow be exempt from criticism or ridicule by people like Stewart.

    One of the many ironies here is that in the next breath, you will hear many of these liberal critics of Stewart complain that “excessive partisanship” is a, or the, main problem besetting American political life.  But of course the only partisanship that they’re talking about is on the other side of the aisle.

    I believe tax rates do have to go up, and the tax base expanded, in order for them to get their fiscal house in order.  But at the same time, Democrats and liberals in the US also have to be prepared to compromise in some areas, including entitlements — otherwise, they are never going to solve their problems.

    • “These liberals’ (decidedly partisan) position, parsed down to its
      essentials, is that Republicans and their ilk are 100% to blame for
      every single problem the US has today.”

      Maybe. But lots and lots of liberals/progressives/whatever are willing to express disappointment with Obama, for example. And the left is famously messy and unwilling to toe a consistent line.

      My theory is that some progressives are frustrated with Stewart because it’s not “helpful” to point out failures of Democrats. They aren’t blind to those failures but are falling into “my team/your team” politics. Considering the right’s unwillingness to criticize itself, it sometimes feels like the left should behave the same way.

      I think Stewart’s approach is healthy – it doesn’t help anybody to pretend that the left is flawless.

      “Democrats and liberals in the US also have to be prepared to compromise in some areas…”

      Seriously? Have you watched Republican politics for the last few years? You’ve seen them filibuster essentially every piece of legislation, right? You saw them threaten to shut down the government unless the Bush tax cuts for the rich were extended. You saw them threaten to throw the US into default if they didn’t get their concessions. The only party that’s done any real compromise is the Democratic party, and that’s a source of serious frustration among their supporters.

      • You obviously didn’t read the part of my post where I said that I consider the Republicans to be largely responsible for the problems.  It’s a matter of degree.  I just don’t think they’re 100% responsible.  Let me give you an example — Democrats in the US and teachers’ unions and education reform.  Many teachers’ unions in the US are classic dinosaur unions who do nothing but protect their members — including egregiously bad teachers — and oppose any kind of educational reform — especially school choice, charter schools and the like.   Most studies on the subject of why the US educational system fares poorly compared to its international peers attribute a significant amount of blame to the role of teachers’ unions in the US.  This “unions are always right, no matter what” mentality is classic blind partisanship and the opposite of the spirit of compromise that I think you and I both agree is needed to move the US forward.

        I agree wholeheartedly with the examples you cite from Republicans though — I am no fan of them.

        • America’s education ranking has gone down a few positions in recent years.  But not because our education system has gotten worse, its just that other counties have gotten better, faster.

          Standardized test scores, dropout rates, college enrollment rates, all of these things have only improved in America over the past 40 years. 

  3. The show lost credibility when Stewart refused to believe the scandal involving his friend and Democrat Congressman Wiener.

    It was the most embarrassing scandal in years. It was a potential gold mine for joke and ridicule.  It was enough to bring down the Congressman.  The Congressman’s initial denials were beyond credibility.  It was absolutely shameful behaviour from a Congressman and married man, and it was also lewd and gross, and it involved very young adults.

    But Stewart decided he would not touch it.  He even said a monologue describing why he would not touch it – most of that monologue actually attacked the credibility of the people who uncovered the story.

    Stewart needs credibility to ridicule politicians.  Now Stewart looks like a politician himself.  A Democrat. The end. You can’t ridicule politicians when you appear to be just like them.

    • Herein lies the problem: “Jon Stewart has Wiener issues.”  Sorry, but Funny is as Funny does.  Try not to take yourself so seriously, Killer.  All My Love, Jennifer.

      • “Stewart refuses to touch Wiener”  How about that one?

        • Pure gold.

    • I can’t get a sense of what you’re talking about.  Stewart devoted sketches to making fun of Weiner every single day since the scandal started.  Literally, nine straight episodes of Weiner jokes.  And then two days before Weiner confessed, Stewart said (in the form of a musical monologue) that if the allegations were true, then Weiner should resign.  And then Anthony confessed, and Stewart did his own faux-press conference in which he apologized for not making enough Weiner jokes.

    • Yeah, I’ve got to say, Stewart just made a Weiner joke JUST THIS WEEK.  I think he probably did more material on Anthony Weiner than any other late night host.  He called on Weiner to resign, and did a whole bit after Weiner confessed apologizing for not having done enough Weiner jokes previously.

      Sure, he had some initial reluctance to pile on, which he talked about openly on the show, but that’s not because he’s a Democrat, it’s because he was a close personal friend of Anthony Weiner.  Even then, he was hardly as squeamish about covering it as your post implies.  I’ve seen that damned pic on the Daily Show TEN TIMES more often than I’ve seen it on all other shows COMBINED.  Frankly, when he brought it up again this week, my initial reaction was “Wow, I can’t believe he’s STILL milking the Wiener jokes, lol!”.

    • Stewart needs credibility to ridicule politicians.

      Really?  ‘Cause given the state of politicians in 2011, I think a drunk monkey could ridicule them and come off looking more credible than 80% of them.

      • Stewart IS a politican. He might as well join the next Democratic campaign.

        • Then Fox News is a wing of the Republican Party. This is just nonsense.

          • Fox News is a news show, not a comedy show.

    • No Weiner jokes? Do you watch the show at all, or are you getting this second-hand? ‘Cuz I sure saw plenty of them – far more there than anywhere else.

      • As I mentioned above, in addition to all the MANY weiner jokes he did when the story broke, Stewart just did a piece this week following the special election in New York’s 9th District all about how “Weiner’s c*ck” lost the Democrats a district that they’ve held without exception since 1923.

        Admittedly, he might have been tossing Weiner a bone there (lol).  At least part of the message of the piece was the Weiner’s penis is apparently more powerful than the Great Depression, WWII and Ronald Regan.

        • He definitely did Weiner jokes before. Shall we review the episodes?

        • He did Weiner jokes the day the story first broke out.  And he did Weiner sketches literally every episode up until his confession.  The episodes are all available online.  Right there.  Look at them

          • I don’t intend to entertain your assertions that what did happen did not actually happen. I’ve provided a link and the episode I refer to is easily accessible. So why don’t you go take a look instead.

          • Yeah, he made fun of the media’s hamfisted handling of the issue.  I never denied that.  But he made fun of Weiner a lot more.  You are denying that, and you’re refusing to so much as look at the videos which prove you plainly wrong.

          • Hamfisted handling? What a laugh. He made fun of the people that broke the story. I am not denying anything, I am pointing out what he said and did when the story broke, and as a Stewart fan you are going on the defensive for some reason, I suppose because you like the Democrats as much as he does.

          • “I am not denying anything, I am pointing out what he said and did when the story broke,”

            Except you are, and your account just isn’t accurate

            “But Stewart decided he would not touch it.  He even said a monologue describing why he would not touch it”

            And after its been gently explained to you that Stewart has probably made fun of Weiner more than any other comic, you’ve desperately shifted your complaints to the fact that he also did a few jokes about the people who poorly covered the story.  As if there is something wrong with that.

          • I haven’t changed a thing I said. It’s one thing to dispute the facts, and it’s another to dispute my words. It’s plainly evident what I said, what those words mean, and nothing you say will change the facts. Enough is enough. You seem to have a severe mental impairment related to Jon Stewart.
            Stewart tried to make up for his ridiculous and embarrassing gaffe. So what? I never claimed he didn’t try to reverse course long after Wiener himself and the rest of the world admitted the obvious. So what? That’s way too late and it makes no difference at that point, he’s already blown it.
            That has no bearing on what I said. You should go back to your Stewart fan club with this stuff, and you can pat each other on the back telling each other how much you all love Jon Stewart. You should also make a call to your psychiatrist. I am so sorry I am not giving unending praise to your hero Jon Stewart. Now move on and take your obsessions elsewhere. Bye.

          • “Stewart tried to make up for his ridiculous and embarrassing gaffe. So
            what? I never claimed he didn’t try to reverse course long after Wiener
            himself and the rest of the world admitted the obvious. So what?
            That’s way too late and it makes no difference at that point, he’s
            already blown it.”

            See, this is what I am talking about.  You keep claiming that Stewart didn’t start mocking Weiner until after his confession. Which is flatly incorrect, you can see for yourself that the Weiner jokes started the first day the photos first leaked, and continued for every episode leading up to Weiner’s confession.

            Now, you can admit to making a hasty assumption, or you could resort to more childish namecalling.  I’ve got a hunch as to which option you’ll pick.

          • It’s quite obvious you’re lying, because the photos were not leaked. Firstly, it was a photo, not photos. Additional photos only came out more than a week later. Secondly, it wasn’t leaked, it was posted on twitter, accidentally, by Weiner himself, a photo of his own penis, taken by himself and posted on his own twitter account, by himself, thinking it was private, when it was actually public.
            This was convenently ignored by Stewart for an entire week, while Weiner was being hounded by several news outlets. Weiner claimed his twitter account was hacked. There were no other photos, it was all about a single photo. Then Stewart defended Wiener on his show, over a week after the event, and then a couple of days later, after Wiener finally confessed, (he confessed at the same time additional photos came out, which showing Weiner’s face could not be denied), Stewart finally gave in and started reporting it too.
            So it’s quite obvious you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You’ve exposed yourself – just like he did.
            I gotta say though, you’re quote the obsessive compulsive lunatic, sort of like him.

          • Private photos were unintentionally made public, that’s kind of the definition of “leaked”. 

            “Then Stewart defended Wiener on his show, over a week after the event,
            and then a couple of days later, after Wiener finally confessed, (he
            confessed at the same time additional photos came out, which showing
            Weiner’s face could not be denied), Stewart finally gave in and started
            reporting it too.
            So it’s quite obvious you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about..”

            As you’ve been told 10 times by now, your account of events is simply wrong.  They did a segment mocking Weiner at first opportunity.

            http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-may-31-2011/distinguished-member-of-congress

            Look, its right here.  I don’t know why you continue to insist that this segment doesn’t exist, or that the date of the broadcast has been falsified.  Following that they did segments mocking Weiner and his behavior for every single episode thereafter.  Literally, not one episode passed by during the scandal where they didn’t do a Weiner segment.  I keep pointing this out to you in the simplest terms possible, the proof that you’ve simply gotten it wrong is right at your fingertips. 

            Would it help if I linked you to every segment?  Would you be able to read the listed dates of broadcast if I did?  Or can you go to the website and type “Weiner” in the search box for yourself?

            Or, are you just going to refuse to look at anything that might show that you made a false assumption? 

          • Congratulations, you’ve linked to Stewart’s show, as if that proves anything whatsoever. Are you kidding me? Unfortunately, I know you’re not. Get help.

            And BTW, that’s the furthest thing from a leak. It’s not a leak when the source is known! It’s not a leak when the source is the same person as the subject. It’s not a leak when the photo was not private, it was sent to a complete stranger, intentionally! When you send something to someone, you are not leaking it, you are sending it! Learn English (although truth be told, it’s obvious you do know English and you’re just trying to cover up the fact you don’t know what you’re talking about).

            And finally, I don’t know how often this needs to be repeated to get into your head: it was a single photo! Other photos came a week later.

    • I think his hesitancy to skewer Wiener was far more about their friendship than the fact that he was a Democrat. Nonetheless, Stewart merely hesitated, but then joined in.

      On the whole Wienergate saga, I think it was a bit overdone. The problem for me is that Wiener invented this Twitter hacking story. If not for that, I think he should (and probably could) have stuck around. But then, I’m not moved much by sex scandals.

      • You think it’s acceptable for Congressmen to send pictures of their penises to young women they just met? I don’t know if you have children, but what would you think if your 20-year old daughter received an online email with a picture of the penis of a minister of parliament?
        We actually have a bizarre non-scandal in which a Canadian MP is being attacked for simply making verbal attempts at romance with a Chinese woman! But sending penis pictures to young women is A-OK! Got it.

  4. Americans hate partisanship and polarization, but they keep electing extreme candidates. What does this tell you? It tells you that the thing they dislike about polarization is the fact that there are people that disagree with them. 

    • That’s a nice take on it, and there’s some truth to it.  But there is another angle:  people in the middle of the US political spectrum, who aren’t particularly partisan, are discouraged by the polarization, and the thing is, their checks-and-balances political system means that an extreme rump from one party or the other has the ability to cause gridlock in the political system to a greater extent than under our parliamentary system.

    • A candidate that you call extreme would be called normal by the people voting for him. 

      What was considered “moderate” yesterday is considered extreme today.  The income tax was an extreme measure to fund world war one.  Back then the existence of it was extreme.  Now there are people who think that lowering it is an extreme measure.  Now there are people that think that it’s an extreme position to think that rich people should be paying less than half their earning in income tax.

      There was a time when allowing women to vote was considered extreme. 

      The fact is, there is no such thing as a moderate or extreme politician. 

      And there is no logic to the fact that if person A thinks X, and person B says Y, then the right answer is halfway between X and Y.  In reality, the extreme position is often the correct one.  Every single one of Einstein’s ideas was considered extreme.  Most of those ideas were correct.  Most of the people calling his ideas extreme were dead wrong.

      I guess I’m saying I agree with your final sentence, but not your first sentence.

      I think that what people call “extreme” is usually not. If you talk about any existing policy, and you talk about reversing it, then people call that extreme. If you talk about removing a government program, any government program, then people call that extreme. If there is any entrenched policy or bureaucracy, then there will be people who call any change to such a policy or bureaucracy extreme.

      • A candidate that you call extreme would be called normal by the people voting for him.

        Yes, but those people are extremists!

        • No, the extremist would be you.

          • Checkmate!

          • LOL

            I see what you did there.

  5. So people like Tom Junow are criticising Stewart for not being what they want him to be? Well, what if he wants to be something else? Does their criticism stem from a “we made you, so we have a stake in you” attitude? It’s a free country. If he doesn’t want to be an actively political, partisan figure, why should he be? Just let him do his show, for goodness sake.

    • I agree.  It reminds me of that ridiculous attitude that the folkies had towards Bob Dylan in the 1960s, when Dylan “went electric” and the folkies called Dylan “Judas” and all kinds of nasty names.  As though the folkies “owned” Dylan and Dylan was obligated to do and play exactly what the folkies wanted for the rest of his life.

    • You realize that this article was written in direct response to the esquire article you linked to, right?

      • No I didn’t. I apologize

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