The Daily Show with Jon Stewart I've just caughten on to (to use a Nova Scotia-ism), rather belatedly, since I first noticed it one midnight a few months back on Canada's CTV network. Now that I'm teaching four evenings a week -- Mon. to Thurs., the same evenings the show is on -- I find I often turn to it as I stay up late to unwind.
Not since the wicked ditties of Tom Lehrer has political satire from the left been so incisive, or so badly needed. I guess the times are Right...and after more than thirty years, in the Right Way.
It was obvious from the start that under the jokey surface of this yet-another-fake-news show Stewart and his cohorts bear an abiding concern about the quality of public information today and the health of American democracy itself. Although this week Stewart proclaimed openly there is "no fact-checking here", and he only "reports things as [he thinks] they are" we get to see things here that we would never see on mainstream TV. Like newly appointed CIA Director Porter Goss' hilarious double take last week when Bush said that they spend every day gathering information to locate Osama Bin Ladin.
After watching a few of Jon Stewart's better shows this week and concluding the man is a fucking genius, I decided to google him and find out what I could. His bio, etc. are easily found, but this is the most delicious fruit of my search: a video clip of his Oct. 15 appearance on CNN's Crossfire. Ostensibly he was being interviewed to promote his recent book, America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. To the hosts' surprise, though, he dropped all mention of the book and started to roundly attack their show. Watch how he handles a couple of stuff-shirts who are obviously out to get him. This has to be the most priceless -- and revealing -- bit of TV I've seen in a long time. (By the way, you have to click on the icon above the transcript to get the clip.)