« Why the Democrats Should Filibuster Alito | Main | Addiction »

January 14, 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Spot on, Jodi. I was disturbed at Stewart's take as well. He could have pulled those lines from O'Reilly's own mouth. Now that Stewart is clearly losing his comedic and politcal edge, I guess that Colbert is all we have left!


There are some dubious political posturing decisions being made, that seems pretty clear. Probably the networks simply can't affort to have two radical shows so closely linked, and their feeling some political pressure.

I guess we're left with endless, somewhat forced parodies of O'Reilly then. Or, one could argue that Stewarts just making the usual perennial consessions, much like R. Murrow. Nothing new there.


Wow, it is so great to hear this opinion elsewhere. It really exposed how much the 'critical' democrats quickly turn reactionary when they see a legitimate left politics taking place. Interesting to see the boundary of the left exposed so openly, but I also wonder if his appointment to Oscars this year didn't directly influence those comments....


Thanks for your comments, Matt and Dan. Dan, I bet you are right about the Oscars--which then amplifies my disappointment in Stewart.


Matt (Christie), at the risk of romanticizing Murrow, interviewing celebrities isn't the same as misrepresenting a history of political commitment and engagement.


This is true.

Then again, is it the man himself or his aura being ridiculed? As you know, I found the recent foiling of Mark Crispin Miller rather hilarious. Surely the self-sacrilizing of the left could use a few pin thrusts now and then?


or sacralizing, if you prefer


Yes, Matt, but somehow we always find the pin hitting the balloon when it floats over South America. A la the gratutious slaps in the NYT - Lula's a drunk, Evo Morales's funny injun rebellion, Obrador built a bad on-ramp, etc...


So criticize the structural imbalances causing that tendency, not the act of satire itself (?)

People will always make gratuitous slaps, you may as well ask them to stop talking.


Matt, to my mind the problem is the complete ignorance of Belafonte's history as an activist; Stewart makes him just an entertainer. Belafonte is hardly one of these 'activists' who really just 'plays one on tv." He is the real thing. And Stewart's smug sarcasm on this score needs to be exposed and criticized.

Virgil Johnson

I don't know why your surprised. Do you think that a brilliant man like John Stewart is unaware of what Mr. Belafonte has done in his life? Lines are being drawn, and the heat is on. When this happens you might be surprised who crumbles under the pressure.

Virgil Johnson

Jodi, I just wanted to thank you for bringing this to my attention. I tried to open up the subject a little further on my blog.


maybe Belafonte is blowing his historical role as an activist by supporting Chavez, a naro-terrorist and a profiteer who has used rape and torture to destabilization Columbia (yes, Columbia) and capitalize on the drug trade...

...John Stewart, a strong proponent of the freedom of the press, takes aim at Belafonte for his support of a dictator who has censored all political opposition..


To me this brings up the broader question of rhetorical deficit in which "liberals" (and "radicals" especially) will always find themselves. You know, the 'pathos of indignation' one where certain things just aren't funny (conservatives can always laugh at themselves, because to them it's all just a business game anyway, etc).

There's nothing wrong with satire for satire's sake (and all Jon Stewart's targets seem like fair game to me), but maybe it's the potential for (political) seriousness that makes for truly great satire. Hardly surprising that Steward occassionally fails in this regard, given the circumstances.


or Stewart, if you prefer.

Garland Black

I can't believe this post ingnores the 'tongue-in-cheek' aspect of Stewarts' broadcasts. I listened to the broadcast, and Jon was absolutely in support of Harry Belafonte. As usual, he expressed his views in such a way as to make them seem (appropriately) ridiculous - evidently you either missed that in all his earlier broadcasts, or you chose to see this one as something different - for reasons known only to you


Garland I would like to believe you are right. They showed another scene this month with Jon saying something like "Here is Chavez posing with Sheehan, that's a big downer for his credibility." This was after Chavez joked that the devil stood in the same place previously, refering to Bush. Then Stewart interviewed the devil, who says that if Bush is going to hell, so is Chavez.

On one hand, since Stewart appears to be anti-war, his association between Chavez and Sheehan would appear to make Chavez look good.

On the other hand, his comments appear to go harder on Chavez than say Chirac. In that vein I am inclined to think that when it comes to foreign policy, the Daily Show is center-left Democrat. The politician TDS seems to admire the most is Howard Dean. But as for where TDS is going with Chavez I can't tell yet. If TDS is breaking with Belafonte, Sheehan, and Glover on Chavez, then it is a good question, what is pushing them that way? And what is he saying about Sheehan?

There are other discussions going on at:




Thanks for your clear analysis. This was definitely one of the times I actually cringed at just how wrongheaded Stewart and the show can be at times. I find it so bizarre that Stewart doesn't believe the Bush Administration about anything but their villification of Chavez. If they're against him, maybe he's doing something RIGHT.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo