His claims to be objective fell flat. For instance, Mr. Stewart denied being in President Obama’s corner by re-airing a clip in which he had made fun of theObamacare website’s rollout, as if that was the same as questioning Obamacare itself. That was par for Mr. Stewart’s course, mocking liberals’ tactics and implementation but not their underlying assumptions or ideas.
He could have made the liberals in his audience more open to dialogue across the great left/right divide by asking them to examine themselves more carefully and to admit that both ideological camps contain fools. Instead, he was a cultural entrepreneur who provided those viewers with the validation they wanted.
Yes. What he should have done was trafficked in the false equivalence that has done so much good for this country in the past two decades, and continued the fiction that made everyone so comfortable with horse-race journalism in which two of the same animal fight to cross the finish line first with no difference between them but their speed.
That would have been incredibly valuable. We’ve been so short on that in American journalism.
What is Gerard Alexander’s major example of all the ways in which Jon Stewart failed his liberal audience? Why, it’s Stewart’s refusal to believe that a chief architect of Bush’s torture policy was actually walking around in a skin suit pretending to be a person.
Mr. Stewart later acknowledged that Mr. Yoo had bested him, which didn’t happen very often. In that sense, the interview was an outlier. But it wasn’t a coincidence. Mr. Stewart had gone in lazy, relying on a caricature, and seemingly unprepared for the thoughtful conservative sitting in his guest chair.
Good people often have a hard time believing bad people look just like them. Bad people count on this, and use it. I shouldn’t have to explain that to somebody who works at the NYT; their archives should be able to do that for me.
If the average man or woman could spot the villain coming a mile away, if they were all hardened enough to see the scales beneath the facade, evil would wither and die before accomplishing a single thing. Stewart knew who Yoo was and what he did, but it doesn’t speak ill of him that he was taken aback by Yoo’s approximation of humanity. America was, too.