September 8, 2005

When did you stop watching "The Daily Show"?

This week.

It was once your favorite TV show, wasn't it?


Yes.

IN THE COMMENTS: I explain my reason for drawing the line now:
This week's show, the first post-Katrina coverage, has been just blatantly telegraphing from the very first moment that the whole point of the show is to slam Bush. I'm upset about the hurricane and find it very off-putting to see political ideologues salivating over a chance to get Bush over this. I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do. I just can't bear to watch it. Instinctively, I don't want to watch.


ABOUT THE COMMENTS: Lorie Byrd reads this post and one of the comments and responds:
When one commenter said that The Daily Show and Jon Stewart only poke fun at the “people in power” and that is why they are spending so much time attacking Bush over the Katrina response, another responded with this:
"As such, they have done their job. Of course they’re poking fun at the administration. But you can bet it’s more towards the “people in power.” Simply put, that means that if Dems had been in power, i can assure you that the coverage would have been the same.”

The Dems were in power. Which party are the mayor and governor from? There’s so much comedy material based on their performances, are you telling me they weren’t mocked mercilessly?

137 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

Why did you stop?

Mark Daniels said...

I have never watched the show because previously, I never found anything he said even remotely funny. But, like Sloan, I'm curious why you quit watching.

Paul said...

My dislike predates yours to when Craig Kilborn left. I never could get into Stewart.

Nels said...

Is this because of their Katrina coverage?

I've never thought the bits with Stewart were that great, and most of the interviews I don't bother watching, but some of the canned segments, particularly with Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell, have been very funny.

EddieP said...

When he gave John Kerry a softball and didn't follow up on Christmas in Cambodia.

Ann Althouse said...

This week's show, the first post-Katrina coverage, has been just blatantly telegraphing from the very first moment that the whole point of the show is to slam Bush. I'm upset about the hurricane and find it very off-putting to see political ideologues salivating over a chance to get Bush over this. I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do. I just can't bear to watch it. Instinctively, I don't want to watch.

Meade said...

"I like to watch television," said Chauncy Gardener.

But not watching can also be good.

Justin Gardner said...

This week's show, the first post-Katrina coverage, has been just blatantly telegraphing from the very first moment that the whole point of the show is to slam Bush. I'm upset about the hurricane and find it very off-putting to see political ideologues salivating over a chance to get Bush over this. I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do. I just can't bear to watch it. Instinctively, I don't want to watch.

I mean, did you see Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera on Fox News? They were livid, and that's a cable news organization. The emotion from those two was incredible.

Shifting gears to The Daily Show, I can only say that it's a comedy show. As such, they have done their job. Of course they're poking fun at the administration. But you can bet it's more towards the "people in power." Simply put, that means that if Dems had been in power, i can assure you that the coverage would have been the same.

Yesterday's show even made fun of Sean Penn and Celine Dion. Again, they're a comedy show.

Respectfully, what do you want from them Ann? The people in power will get the most scrutiny. Of course they'll slam them. They had Sam Jackson on yesterday on the and they joked about yamakas.

I respect your opinion, but I think you're overreacting to this situation. I did too at first when Sidney Blumenthal and Robert F. Kennedy wrote their screeds. But we have to make sure that those who are responsible are held accountable for what they didn't do.

Thanks for the time to speak.

XWL said...

I was tempted to hijack one of the other threads to comment on Stewart's ridiculous behavior on Tuesday (Let's see people claim, 'he's only a comedian, now).

I think though that there are still humorous moments during the show overall, and maybe at some point he will get over himself and get over this nearly fatal case of Bush-derangement, if not I believe that this show is probably the least filtered representation of Manhattan Media groupthink and therefore is useful to monitor.

So do I disagree with almost every political stance that this show has taken, yes, does this frequent politicking get in the way of the funny, yes, will I continue to watch the show hoping that the funny comes back, yes, for now.

(and part of the reason why the Daily Show staff think it's ok to be this way is because they are surrounded by people who give them positive reinforcement the farther left they go, from the audience to the people they interact with at the coffee houses and parties they surely attend it's all one large left-liberal echo chamber (or circle jerk if you prefer))

Elizabeth said...

LeroyW--your critique is deconstructed by your own use of rightwing groupthink and echo chamber phrases like "bush-derangement." As soon as I see a left-wing critic described as a crazy Bush hater, the speaker/writer is discredited.

lindsey said...

"LeroyW--your critique is deconstructed by your own use of rightwing groupthink and echo chamber phrases like "bush-derangement." As soon as I see a left-wing critic described as a crazy Bush hater, the speaker/writer is discredited."

Wow. That's some mindf*ck. Does it matter to you at all what the actual left-wing critic is saying or is it simply impossible to be a "crazy Bush hater" in your world because one can never hate Bush enough?


"As such, they have done their job. Of course they're poking fun at the administration. But you can bet it's more towards the "people in power." Simply put, that means that if Dems had been in power, i can assure you that the coverage would have been the same."

The Dems were in power. Which party are the mayor and governor from? There's so much comedy material based on their performances, are you telling me they weren't mocked mercilessly?

Democrats have no problem busing poor black people to the polls but bus the very same people to safety? Away from a killer hurricane? N'uh uh. Let's lock'em up in a windowless cage and not put food, water, port-a-potties, security forces or even a back-up generator in there to help them! The best part is the Dems get to pin this total fiasco almost entirely on the Repubs. Lovely.

Meade said...

Elizabeth: I agree with you, but do you know of any left-wing critics who are not Bush haters? I don't.

Elizabeth said...

lmeade: it's probably the same percentage of kneejerk rightwing commentators who don't pull out cliche after cliche about the left. But that's just a guess.

Wow. That's some mindf*ck. Does it matter to you at all what the actual left-wing critic is saying or is it simply impossible to be a "crazy Bush hater" in your world because one can never hate Bush enough?
Nice red herring, Lindsay. But you've turned my point on its head. Yes, the substance of anyone's argument matters to me, left or right wing. But that has nothing to do with my post, as you know but choose not to address. My post called out the hypocrisy of calling out The Today Show for its "echo chamber" nature while using terms that are nothing but rightwing echos, devoid of substance. Silly dittoisms like "Bush hater" and "Bush Derangment Syndrome" are windbag labels that fail to respond to the content of an argument, and are the stock phrases of shallow rightwing discourse. Pointing that out doesn't deny the existence of shallow left-wing discourse, and you know it.

Robert said...

But Elizabeth, things often become cliches because they are true. Your argument leaves you in the intellectually interesting, but indefensible, position of having to ignore people whose grip on reality has become so strong that it changes the language.

There are people who have "Bush Derangement Syndrome" - folks so committed to hating the president that if a solar flare toasts the planet, they'll find a way that it's Bush's fault, even as the flames envelop them.

It is certainly true that the echo chambers can pick up false memes and themes. But ignoring something on the ground that it is resonating in an echo chamber is to deliberately deafen oneself to truth, as well.

Elizabeth said...

Robert, I judge this on the same basis of the "nazi" argument. There really are parallels to Nazis that make sense at a given time, in a given discussion, and yet, we've come to agree generally that making that comparison pushes past the point of rational discourse. I've seen the Bush Derangement comment so many times, so often, in such inappropriate and inaccurate instances that it's become useless. It is, simply, a stupid ad hominem device that's not worth an ounce of respect. Anyone who wants to counter what they feel is an illogical or factually incorrect statement criticizing this president can find a way to do so without trotting out those cliches. If they can't, they're not worth paying attention to.

cincinnatus said...

Whaaaa .. . . . Ann, you can't handle the fact that someone is criticizing your president.

Ann the only difference between you and Monica Lewinsky is that you only rhetorically suck the President's dick; at least Monica got to actually taste Presidential cum. Otherwise, you are about the same. Stupid. Ugly. Nothing to say.

Cue Ann's defense: I am not right-wing I lurve Feingold. Shut it.

cincinnatus said...

Ann says: This week's show, the first post-Katrina coverage, has been just blatantly telegraphing from the very first moment that the whole point of the show is to slam Bush.

Gee Ann, there are thousands of people dead. A lot of us think President Bush stood by and did nothing while people were dying. See the picture of Bush playing the guitar, cutting the cake. See also Bush saying on Tuesday that he just got off the phone with Sec. Chertoff and the two had talked extensively about immigration!!!! But we are not allowed to criticize Bush.

In your world, you probably think Bush was in NOLA on Monday directing the relief efforts personally. I mean you admit that if TV even might be critical of Bush, you turn it off (you state "I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do. I just can't bear to watch it").

And otherwise everything Justin Gardner said is right.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XWL said...

If you don't think the phenomenon of 'Bush-Derangement' exists then bully for you.

That phrase is an echo of Rush Limbaugh devoid of meaning, interesting.

From my perspective I see a 50 years long record of mouthpieces on the coasts belittling conservatives as either crazed warmongerers hellbent on world destruction (Goldwater, Reagan, GWBush) or simpleton westerners who are being lead by smarter more nefarious figures within their administrations (just Reagan and GWBush, though if Goldwater had defeated LBJ surely the same meme would have emerged).

Media power is concentrated in NY and more precisely Manhattan, that's not some John Bircher fantasy, that's fact, and that's fine, but that leads to distortions.

On the west coast you can count those that are out as Republicans within the entertainment industry without resorting to your toes (both hands are sufficient). Hyperbole, maybe, but not by much, and if you are being honest with yourself you know this is true.

In 6th grade in sunny Santa Monica, CA we had a vote by raising hands on who we supported for the '80 election, I was the sole Reaganite (there were a few Anderson followers, but the rest were looking forward to 4 more years of Carter). The teacher strongly encouraged me to change my mind and when the President was shot that same school year she showed little sympathy for the President and many of the students were of the opinion that he got what he deserved.

So again, if you think "Bush-Derangement" is a Rush Limbaugh derived exagerration, that's up to you, but growing up and living where I live I hear what people on the left think when they know everyone around thinks just like them and just like the outsized hatred aimed at Pres. Reagan, the outright hatred for Pres. Bush is a byproduct of a whole bunch of folks who never experience the tonic of a heartfelt discussion with someone who doesn't think almost exactly like they do.

And if you are a conservative, you will be exposed to the other side everyday, just turn on the TV (doesn't matter if it's not a news or opinion show, even in the most mindless of entertainment shows there likely will be a moment reinforcing leftliberal bias and attacking conservatism, South Park the only notable exception) which is why if you are conservative in a liberal conclave you develop thick skin (which it seems to me most of those left of center lack)

But I forgot, I am a mindless demagogue who spews talking points straight from AM Talk Radio so why have any of you who disagree with me bothered reading this far down(it's bad for your blood pressure)?

Gerry said...

" If you don't think the phenomenon of 'Bush-Derangement' exists then bully for you."

If one doesn't believe in the phenomenon after getting Cincinnatus' fine examples, then I think some glasses are in order.

Gerry said...

(Leroy, I just realized that I sounded like I was arguing with you. Not at all.)

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Everyone's got their own way of saying "La la la I can't hear you". Elizabeth's is just a little more pompous than most.

AJ Lynch said...

Manhattan-think and deranged Bush haters. These are great and accurate (like laser guided markings tags) ways to describe The Daily Show and its organizers / Stewart.

As to Cincinnatus, your blog is named Moderately Angry. Not very accurate is it? Suggest you get the old paint can out and change to something like "Just Plain Angry Cause I Can't Get Any".

Ann Althouse said...

Jason: Why are you informing me "it's a comedy show" and that sort of thing? Did you read my original post? I said it used to be my favorite show so obviously I get the idea of the show and am the sort of person that sort of thing appeals to. I've been TiVo-ing and watching virtually every episode for years.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, when I told my 22-year-old son (who is not a Bush fan) that I don't like "The Daily Show" anymore, he said matter-of-factly that it wasn't good anymore, as if he wondered why I still bothered with it.

bill said...

Completely agree with Ann’s comment: This week's show, the first post-Katrina coverage, has been just blatantly telegraphing from the very first moment that the whole point of the show is to slam Bush. I'm upset about the hurricane and find it very off-putting to see political ideologues salivating over a chance to get Bush over this. I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do. I just can't bear to watch it. Instinctively, I don't want to watch.

Don’t think I lasted five minutes before turning it off and haven’t been back. I’m sure I will at some point, but right now I am so disgusted by what I’ve read coming out of New Orleans and the politicizing by so many people.... The failures on the local, state, and federal levels are staggering. The inactions of Nagin and Blanco are responsible for many of the deaths. FEMA is a joke, always has been - anyone in the Southeast having watched them not learn from any of their past mistakes should know this - and Brown is inexcusable and this display of cronyism is a major fault of Bush. However, Bush isn’t Superman and what point The Daily Show was trying to make by saying Bush was still at the ranch and not ripping open roofs with his bare hands eludes me.

But it is the local government’s responsibility to be first responders and they failed. Failure to order a mandatory evacuation in a timely manner, failure to follow evacuation plans, failure to have the levees inspected as soon as the worst of the storm had passed, failure to provide any kind of security, whining that the federal government wasn’t doing enough and then failing to give them the authority to take over the situation, failure of the Louisiana state and federal legislature to responsibly use any funds given them.

This is not a Democrat problem. This is not a Republican problem. This is a problem of institutional incompetence, of indecisiveness, of greed, of vanity power grabs.

And so everyone has some information to easier tag me with whatever echo-chamber label you desire, I have never joined or contributed to a political party. I have never voted for Bush. Don’t read too much in too that, didn’t vote for Kerry either. Disgusted with both and since my state was so clearly going Bush, I passed on that match up and just voted for the local elections. In fact, I’ve only voted for one winning Presidential candidate - a reluctant pull for Clinton in 1992.

Scipio said...

I was also put off by Stewart's opening diatribe. Dennis Miller did that sort of thing much better.

I did like the next segment though, from Giants Stadium. That was good.

The capture theory can now be applied to the Daily Show.

dax said...

I started losing interest with the 2004 election and have tuned out since it's turned into sport Bush bashing.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think what is interesting from Ann's comments is that it does appear that Stewart has lost his edge. Somewhat from Ann's original comment, but probably more importantly, from her son's.

Her son has really been of the demographic group that is Stewart's real base, and who made him influential. During the last election cycle, we were constantly hearing that those of Ann's son's generation were getting a lot of their politics from the Daily show.

But the problem is that the more a group is influenced by trends, like the Daily Show, the more fickle they are, and the easier it is to lose their allegance.

I should add that he is still hot though with the teenage crowd - but not surprising as they often follow the lead of those of Ann's Son's age.

Finally, I don't know if we will ever know why he lost his edge. It may have been Katrina. It may have been the last election. Or, it may just have gotten old.

BTW, I am conservative, but still enjoy him - but this is probably because I don't have a TV and so don't watch him very often.

Matt Barr said...

This is weird, because I was put off by Tuesday's and Wednesday's shows, too. (Haven't watched Thursday's yet.) I have absolutely no desire to instinctively defend President Bush and last week literally shouted at my TV for I think the first time ever when my frustration at the slow emergency and rescue response boiled over. But comedy cut with cynicism is one thing, these couple shows have been all vitriol with a couple laugh lines thrown in. It seems like listening to Air America would be if they had any funny comedians on the air. If that's what they want to do, great, but at its best The Daily Show is funny, and it hasn't been at its best lately.

bill said...

this sounds like a problem and just a little unfair. Guess it's only ok to defend yourself and property if you can pay someone to do it for you:

Mr. Compass, the police superintendent, said that after a week of near anarchy in the city, no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns, or other firearms of any kind. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

That order apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property. The guards, who are civilians working for private security firms like Blackwater, are openly carrying M-16s and other assault rifles.

Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

Larry said...

Elizabeth: all your critique are deconstructed! As soon as I see: "As soon as I see a left-wing critic described as a crazy Bush hater, the speaker/writer is discredited", the speaker/writer is discredited. Easy, huh? Luckily, you don't deny the existence of "shallow left-wing discourse".

Elliott said...

Arguing is ridiculous. Ann doesn't like the Daily Show and that is her right. I have my issues with Ann and most of the commenters on this site which is my right. Noone is going to convince anyone of anything. Even the facts are changeable in this post-modern world we live in. The only odd thing is that it's the Republicans who embrace this post-Modernism so fervently.

AJ Lynch said...

"even the facts are changeable..."

You will never hear a non-liberal say that. That's a liberal talking point because they can not believe the majority of voters don't think like liberals do. So they insist it's a matter of their superior message not getting out or the MSM carrying Bush's water. Didn't happen last week did it?

Pogo said...

For me, it became too painful to watch around June 2004. I have caught some segments since then, but usually within seconds the Official DU Talking Points Memo is whipped out, and I have to turn.

I scan lots of blogs. His jokes are simply posts cribbed from various Dem sites, with a little ha-ha added to justify his pay. But it might as well be DU or the daily Kos. Why bother?

It's too bad. If he were just slightly more subtle and even-handed, he'd be far more effective. As it stands, he just reinforces the beliefs of the true believers. Not sure if anyone else is joining that church, though.

Zone-5 said...

I don't have cable TV at home; I've only seen snippets of "The Daily Show" at friends' houses and in retail establishments over the years. Is "The Daily Show" running out of energy the way "Saturday Night Live" has done a few times in its run?

leeontheroad said...

I agree that Bush derangement exists, if by that is meant an anitpathy for the man out of proportion to what he actually does, says or has any control over. I have heard it from folks I know who are otherwise rational; and it makes me cringe, though I didnt' vote for 'im. (Politically, I'd like Dem party leaders writ large to stop whining and figure out if they believe in anything and Repub party leaders to decide if they only beleived in soemthing that woudl restrict soemoen else or when they wouldn't have to actually implement it.)

From that that cynical but I hope balanced standpoint, I recall folks with personal antipathy to both Clintons, that continues into today-- except when the former Pres. appears with the Bush41 or agrees with Bush43, and then folks who hate him will quote him.

What I take this to be is the typical though sometimes deplorable "loyal opposition" strategy: demonize the other side, as shorthand for both disagreeing with the side's policies and as an indication of mistrust. It is also of course "red meat" for fellow travelers.

This has been a feature of politics at least since the Enlightenment challenged the Divine Right of Kings. Just to take a far away example: 18th c. English Whigs (not just American subjects) called George III "old Satan." Meanwhile, PM Pitt, a Tory (Royalist), suspeneded habeus corpus in respond to threats of (the) French (Reign of) terror(ism) crossing the Channel and convinced many the Foxite Whigs were seditious. That stratgey worked, really: it split the Whig Party.

So there may be few things new under the sun--or is that after the Sun King, I'm not sure. Media concentration, the advent of the 24 hour "make it seem like news" cycle, and a new "confessional" or intrusive interest in leaders' personal lives provide new wrinkles, to be sure. But idealogues whipping up personal antipathy for the opposition is not new.

Jack Roy said...

Nothing personal against you (or your son), Professor Althouse, but neither of you is a very good judge of comedy. Nor of distinguishing real insight from mere "Bush bashing."

Elizabeth said...

LeroyW--it's not that I don't believe BDS exists, it's that I don't care. Clinton Derangement existed, Reagan Derangment, too. What I care about is finding a way to talk with people with whom I disagree, and making sense to one another. When the ad hominem stuff comes out, the discussion is generally not rewarding.

Your tale of being a little Republican in California made me sad. It must be so difficult to be conservative in America today. If only Republicans could make some ground in the Senate, or the House, or the White House, or the Courts. But even if they could manage that, some nasty old liberals probably would be mean to their president. They're deranged like that.

Ann Althouse said...

Jack Roy: Care to elaborate in a way that makes some sense of the fact that I've been watching the show every night for years? And what the hell do you know about my son?

Yours is one of the lamest comments I have ever seen on this blog. What motivates people to bother to write a comment to say something like that?

Larry said...

Elizabeth: They[nasty old liberals]'re deranged like that.


And in other ways. What's interesting about the lefty commenters here is the variety of derangements they exhibit. You get the simple "cincinnatus" type, who think that snarling obscenities and saying "Yer ugly!" constitutes political debate. You get the maudlin "madcat" type, who, for example, implies that Democrats operate out of the best interests of the nation while Republicans act only on the basis of partisan calculation, and then, when told he might be biased, is deeply disappointed in humankind. You get the routine, Brando-like trolls, of course. And then you get a case like Elizabeth, who displays an interesting bipolar mix -- when called to account for some particularly egregious assertion, she's all paws up: "What I care about is finding a way to talk with people with whom I disagree"; but then, in the very next paragraph, can't seem to resist going for an ankle, with Homer Simpson-level sarcasm: "Your tale of being a little Republican in California made me sad".

Fascinating, as Spock used to say.

Uncle Mikey said...

Haven't watched since pre-2004 election. Stewart's position appears to be "we're a fake news show, and therefore not under any compulsion to be evenhanded." He used to be evenhanded, and when he was the show was funny. But that's long since over.

Stephen Colbert gets what Stewart doesn't, that ideology is by definition not funny unless you're making fun of all ideologies. There's nothing funny about campaigning against Bush disguised as a fake news show, but it sure is pathetically sad.

Until liberals figure out you have to be for something, not just against Bush, they're going to keep on losing.

Elizabeth said...

Larry, I'm waiting on your psychological assessment of the variety of rightwing commentators on the blog. Bet I'll be waiting a long time. I have no problem with people who state their positions firmly, who have opinions that differ with mine, as long as they're willing to listen in return. I dislike cliche namecalling, but I appreciate more creative efforts, especially when they're part of a substantive statement. And I'm through defending myself to you. You seem stuck assailing those of us on the left just for having the temerity to speak. Keep it up. We don't care.

F15C said...

Elizabeth - I agree with what I think underlies your argument. That calling someone a victim of BDS immediately renders the rest of the comment a diatribe. That is of course is quite true many times.

As I suspect you do, I too decry the growing inability to have civilized, productive debate and discussion between Americans of the left and right.

You said you don't deny that BDS exists and neither do I. I think for discussion purposes the term adequately sums up a wide-spread set of behaviors exhibited by some on the political left, and a few on the extreme political right.

Here is the hard part: Who's fault is it that civilized discussions are so rare, and that the public discourse is turning into a cesspool of lies, unsubstantiated claims, and downright hate?

Assuming the source of the problem lies with Americans from both the left and right (ignoring effects of non-American influences for this discussion) then within which 'side' does the problem reside? Or since responsibility is distributed to some degree between the two sides, which side has the greatest share of responsibility?

What do you think?

Pogo said...

Back in high school in the 1970s, I actually thought that Sat. Night Live was evenhanded. I have since gone back to watch them again, and ...wow. Not so.

But I was a lefty then, and I guess I thought the minor criticisms made against Carter were the equal of the rather harsher treatment given to Ford and Reagan. The political skits have aged poorly, yet the social stuff is often still rather funny.

Is that always the way? Soon will John Stewart just be speaking to the left? Seems to me just the political equivalent of one hand clapping.

MPC said...

I stopped watching the Daily Show when Craig Kilborn left.

Back then it was a show that made FUN of the media machine, it wasn't simply a less restrained part of it.

Brendan said...

I know it's impossible, but can you imagine if Stewart and Maher had a child? Smuggest kid alive.

Grimmy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Grimmy said...

Perhaps a discussion of what good comedy is is needed.

It seems that the high standard of "it's funny because it's true" has been replaced, in the Daily Show, with "It's funny because I'm arching my eyebrows/making a face."

Bruce said...

Daily Show was once my favorite TV show. I rarely watch it anymore. What made it good years ago was that it was so anti-BS. It sought to slay dogma with the harsh light of humorous alternative ways looking at the situation. That's mostly gone now and the show has become largely dogma itself.

Fatmouse said...

It wasn't Stewart that got to me, it was the AUDIENCE.

Sometimes, I admit, Stewart makes a joke that pokes the left site of the aisle. To this, the audience lets out, at most, a small, awkward titter.

But whenever he makes even the crappiest, unfunny crack at the right, the audience EXPLODES in laughter, shouts and even cheers.

Oy, it's annoying to say the least. "Echo chamber" indeed.

TallDave said...

I loved it in college, but it's so leftist now.

Jon Stewart was not an improvment.

Rogers said...

part of the reason why the Daily Show staff think it's ok to be this way is because they are surrounded by people who give them positive reinforcement the farther left they go

Another part might be the fact that the show draws 1.5 million viewers a night, a 33 percent increase from a year ago.

Sebastian said...

I haven't been able to watch since a bit after 9/11. The show can certainly have its moments, even today, but it just seemed that after 9/11, the news just wasn't funny anymore, and it often made The Daily Show's satire seem rather shallow and petty.

I think the show has great writers, and Stewart is a great host, but I seem to recall liking the show the most when it was just a satire of the evening news programs, rather than just partisan comedy. Certainly there's an audience for partisan comedy, but it definitely makes the show considerably less enjoyable for me.

TallDave said...

And even more than that, it used to be this funny little show almost no one knew about. Now it's taken way too seriously -- esp. by the people working there.

Zarba said...

MPC said:

...Back then it was a show that made FUN of the media machine, it wasn't simply a less restrained part of it.

Couldn't agree more.

I stopped watching when Jon Stewart started believing his opinions were important. The show used to skewer the self-importance of the media, then it just became another outpost of it.

At least Kilborn had the sense to understand that.

With Kilborn, The Daily Show was Southpark. With Stewart, it's Doonesbury.

PatCA said...

I stopped watching a couple of years ago. Staying up late, or taping, became an effort, not a pleasure, after Colbert gave way to various unfunny, mean sidekicks, and Stewart's jokes about all poobahs became "I mean, isn't Bush dumb?" No one is funny all the time, and he's taken the easy way out.

Elizabeth, you almost had me with the statement that you want to find a way to talk to people you disagree with. Then you went on a snark about the poor, sad little Republican. Jeez! He was a kid.

I've been a liberal all my life, worked on Clinton's campaign and, yes, voted for Bush. I imagine Leroy to be an honorable person as well. Once you allow yourself to imagine that, you will find that way to talk to us.

Brendan said...

The problem isn't the fake news segment. It's normal to expect the party in power to get skewered more than the party on the outs. Lord knows SNL crucified Bill and Hillary. No, the real bias shows up in the interview segment. Compare Stewart's treament of Rick Santorum vs John Kerry and you'll see what I mean.

Serenity Now said...

I know it's impossible, but can you imagine if Stewart and Maher had a child? Smuggest kid alive.

Bob Costas or Keith Olbermann should be the godfather. (Bryant Gumbel or Dennis Miller if the first two are unavailable.)

Why are the worst narcissists on tv all men?

Paul said...

When John Kerry finally decided to address the Swift Boat Vets, the DNC came up with a set of talking points to discredit them. Namely that none served on Kerry's boat and Senator McCain came out against them. The former point was wrong, one had. It was also disingenuous in that if five boats are on patrol the inhabitants of all five were there. They didn't all need to be in the same boat. The latter point actually contradicted the first. John McCain was sititng in a prison hundreds of miles away and had no knowledge as to the truth of what happened.

Stewart opened his show by reciting the DNC talking points verbatim. If he were an even handed comedian he would have at least had some fun with the contradiction. I turned him off then.

Crank said...

I really did love Stewart's show for a long time, but I gave up about midway through last year. The softball Kerry interview - at a time when Kerry was refusing to do any real interviews - was one of the breaking points, but mainly he just stopped putting comedy above partisan point-scoring, which had been his main accomplishment and the reason even so many on the Right enjoyed watching him. And since the election he's been unwatchable.

A friend who was still watching said that Wednesday night, Stewart actually tried to laud Sean Penn for his "rescue" effort without bothering to mention that Penn's boat almost sank out of stupidity and that Penn was there with his personal photographer. I mean, you don't have to be a right-winger; as a comedian, if you can't make mock of huge, slow-moving targets like Sean Penn and Sean Penn's ego in a situation like this, you should turn in your comedy license or something. My friend said that was the last straw with Stewart.

Mr. Snitch said...

"I respect your opinion, but I think you're overreacting to this situation."

What? She doesn't like the show. Period. Overreacting? You mean, she OUGHT to like the show? If she was thinking properly, for example? She either finds it entertaining - or she doesn't. It's that simple.

I also don't like heavyhanded 'entertainment' that clearly panders to a particular point of view. You lose that detachment, you lose insight and wit. Stewart once had more integrity than that. So I agree with Ann. But even if I did not, I'd be out of my mind to try and tell someone what they need to find entertaining. That level of mind-policing is beyond distasteful.

Even declaring that you don't like a TV show anymore makes one fodder for hate peddlers. See it our way or else. Ann never said no one else should watch the show - yet she's being told that she MUST. (And must like it, too.)

Thomas the Wraith said...

I too found the 'coverage' of Katrina extremely partisan and worse, not funny. I haven't watched it all week as a result of the horrible show on Monday.

Tuesday morning driving to work I actually wondered if the Daily Show was undermining confidence in the government among the demographic who get most of their news from the Daily Show. I know it sounds absurd but many people use TDS as a source of news.

Stewart, et al can be funny. They used to be funny. Stewart has done a service to his audience by introducing serious guests and not just actors plugging movies. But over the past few years partisanship has warped their sense of humor for the worse.

Joe Baby said...

Adults realize that most TV peeps stand somewhere on the continuum. I realize that many will stand on a side I don't agree with. For me, that difference is not enough to make me change the channel.

When the partisan stance, however, supplants the expertise (comedy, reporting, analysis, etc.), I'm gone.

It would be like going to a strip club and having Jim Bakker get up and give a lecture. Not what I'm there for.

wooga said...

The Daily Show should follow the "Tough Crowd" rule of going for laughter, NOT APPLAUSE. Actual comedy gets laughter, but all I seem to be hearing on the Daily Show now is "woohoo!" cheers and hand-bleeding clapping. I've been a fan of Jon Stewart since "The Jon Stewart Show", have actually gone to a taping, and wish he would go back to being funny. I miss my joke monkey!

(Of course, Tough Crowd isn't on the air anymore)

Justin Gardner said...

cincinnatus, thanks but no thanks for the support. Don't ever bring your voice over to my blog. You are not welcome.

Micah said...

Remember when Bill Clinton went out with Monica Lewinsky? That was inarguably a failure of judgment at the top. Democrats had to come out and risk losing credibility if they did not condemn Bill Clinton for his behavior. I believe Republicans are in the same position right now. And I will say this: Hurricane Katrina is George Bush's Monica Lewinsky. The only difference is that tens of thousands of people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina."
--Jon Stewart

I was on a lollercoaster after that.

Richard said...

SMARMY; Adjective

"Marked by false earnestness"

John Stewart's photo belongs next to SMARMY in the dictionary.

Pat Patterson said...

I remembered a Jon Stewart that represented some of the professional beach volley ball players in the late 80's. When I saw his program I realized it was the same guy. More than a decade later still neither competent or funny.

Gel said...

The difference in the "skewering" of Clinton was that it was always about his infidelity or general cockiness (even deifying him for it); there is never any "skewering" about his policies or performance as President.
This is a significant difference. All Bush (et al.) satire is based on their perceived lack of mental ability and policy choices. This allows the show to say they get on everyone, when in fact they are only criticizing Republicans.

I'm not sure what show justin gardner was watching, but I didn't see any criticism of Penn. No mention of his flack jacket, personal photographer taking up room in the boat, or inability to actually save anyone (perhaps the reason he didn't see other boats was that he was in an area that was already cleared?). Stewart just blindly repeated Penn's own statements, and then criticized Bush for not doing as much as him.

HitNRun said...

"I'm not even sure that's what the show goes on to do."

It does, for the rest of that edition and the succeeding ten and counting.

"As soon as I see a left-wing critic described as a crazy Bush hater, the speaker/writer is discredited."

What heights of imbecility. I was appalled, but not surprised, to see that you're an English professor. This kind of poor interpretation of rhetorical theory can rarely be found outside the collegiate academia of our field.

Yes, Leroy is using labelling. It's a low argumentive device. Does that make it any less true that a large plurality of leftists (and perhaps are a majority of "voiced" leftists) are indeed deranged, and the focus of their derangement is George W. Bush?

If I were to describe violent criminals to you as pyschopaths, or militant Islamists as fanatics, or religious southerners as proselityzing bible-thumpers, would you turn up your nose and sneer? Somehow, I doubt it, especially on the last score.

"Robert, I judge this on the same basis of the "nazi" argument."

Yeah, that's a real valid comparison. Implying that someone who sounds crazy and hates Bush is a crazy Bush hater is just like implying that a politician is totalitarian and genocidal.

And I'm sure you troll left wing blogs disparaging each Nazi reference as damaging credibility.

Equivalence for the win!

Elizabeth said...

F15C, I think the problems with dialogue rest with individuals, not one's position along the political spectrum. It's a matrix, not a line, if you will. I am suspicious of propositions that people with X kinds of personalities are liberal and those with Y kinds of personalities are conservative. People may change political alignments over time, and people may also change how they communicate, over time, depending on audience, and for other factors.

I would suspect it's likely one might be ablel to map spikes in correlation of communication styles to political leanings on various blogs, because those populations self-select, gravitate together, and find the conditions amenable for hyberbole and rash expression. The same people who read this blog might behave quite differently if, say, we all worked at a company and shared office space or lunchrooms, or if we all lived in the same town but had little else in common.

Evan M. Thomas said...

AJ Lynch said...
"'even the facts are changeable...' - You will never hear a non-liberal say that."

Okay I say it and I voted for Bush in 2004. There are post-modernist out there that still live in the world. I would expect we are mainly in science or the IT fields.

Elizabeth said...

PatCa,

Leroy's honor is not in question, but his perception of being persecuted as a conservative is way out of whack. The GOP controls all levels of government. What the heck? When conservatives go on and on about the bias of the media, the east and right coasts, I start to wonder if they'll only be happy when there are no liberals, when on one disagrees with them, when everyone just loves Bush. I live in the South, and I'm a lesbian. Wanna bet that I sometimes face problems with that? My state passed a constitutional amendment limiting far more than my right to marry. I faced violence and discrimination for being queer when I was in junior high and high school. But we're adults here, now, and it's not like I went back in time and slapped some poor child's face. You'd have every right to chastise me for saying what I said to a child but that's just not the case.

Pogo said...

Elizabeth, re; "I start to wonder if they'll only be happy when there are no liberals, when on one disagrees with them, when everyone just loves Bush."

You don't suppose there might be some middle ground between no liberals at all and deranged liberals unable to have a rational discussion? I hope there is, otherwise, I vote for "no liberals at all"; it's quieter there.

Slublog said...

I stopped watching when Jon Stewart started believing his opinions were important. The show used to skewer the self-importance of the media, then it just became another outpost of it.

That's exactly why I stopped watching the show. Stewart started taking himself far too seriously.

Self-importance kills the funny.

Incidentally, it's the same reason I stopped reading "The Onion."

Elizabeth said...

Hitnrun, you actually want to argue that leftists are deranged? That's incredible. And all Muslims are terroriats, I suppose. The examples you go on to offer are false analogies: sure, militant Islamists are fanatics. But you'd be wrong in characterizing all Southern "biblethumpers" as you do. But are you seriously saying that opposing Bush is evidence of mental illness? If so, thanks, you're making my point for me.

Elizabeth said...

I understand Ann's comment about Stewart, given her description of herself as a moderate. But have any of you who are disappointed in Stewart's increasingly one-sided partisanship turned off Rush for the same crime? They both fudge the line between partisan commentary and comedy/satire. What's your position on Rush, as opposed to John S.?

Jeff B. said...

Elizabeth, Rush Limbaugh is a political talk show host first and foremost who occasionally does some funny bits. His conservative Republican self-identification is his primary calling card, and the "comedy" (scare quotes because I find him intolerable and thoroughly unfunny) is sheerly peripheral.

He is NOT a comedian and ostensible-newsman who has become increasingly self-important about his role in "bringing news to a young generation" whilst simultaneously seeking to cloak his politics under the guise of either objectivity or "it's a joke, and we attack everyone."

The comparison you made is so weak - and manifestly so, to the point that I'm surprised that my post is even necessary to point out its absurdity - that it gives cause to question the seriousness in which it was offered.

Holmes said...

What's the "Daily Show" with Jon Stewart?

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff B.: I think Rush Limbaugh is as successful as he is because he's funny. He and I were born on the same date, and that makes me feel that I have a good sense of where he gets his radio voice. I don't know if this is true, but he reminds me of the two guys I used to listen to every day on the radio in the 1960s: Jean Shepard and Cousin Brucie.

AJ Lynch said...

Holmes:

"What's the Daily Show with John Stewart"?

If you were writing for it, maybe Ann would still be watching.

Manos: I stand corrected but was referring to you know things that already happened not science and labs and that kind of complex stuff.

Have a great weekend everyone! Even you Cincinnatus.

Freeman Hunt said...

Rush is not a comedy show--it's an editorial show with strong elements of comedy and satire. People listen to it specifically for his political punditry.

If Stewart were a leftist version of Rush, I'm sure people would like his show fine. But his punditry skill isn't even in the same ballpark as that of Rush, and his show is supposed to be a comedy show. Stewart is headed into pundit terrority (an area in which he is not very good) and away from comedy (an area in which he is very very good).

Elizabeth said...

Jeff, I've personally heard Limbaugh distance himself from criticism by pointing to his show being entertainment, not news. I don't watch Stewart enough to know, but the times I have watched, I haven't felt that I was being deceived by "news." A stronger comparison would probably be to Al Franken, who also used to be a comedian, and I can't listen to him anymore than I can stand Rush.

Electronic Bubba said...

i had myself a dose of crabs oncet. they wuz funny as stewart.

Michael said...

Funny, I just let my subscription to the New York Review of Books lapse after about 20 years for the same reason-- because I can't stand the shrillness of the incessant anti-Bush slams (I think the killer was when Freeman Dyson worked one into a review of books about the cosmos; maybe it's in your contract now when they commission a piece, you can only write about Wordsworth or Pessoa if you bash Bush along the way).

I could have taken the slams if they were thoughtful about the issues-- I haven't dropped The Atlantic, for instance. But I found it really depressing that so many of the people I expected more from simply peddled the Upper West Side cocktail party line. To name one, Timothy Garton Ash wrote so movingly about democracy coming to Czechoslovakia-- but when it comes to Afghanistan or Iraq, he has nothing to say except that Bush's war is against international law. From a magazine that was once committed to asking the hard questions about politics and international affairs, there was an almost willful refusal to ask what another successful approach to the middle east would be, what the result would be if Saddam was left in power, how precisely you deal with terrorists if you a Guantanamo is beyond the pale, All that matters is blasting Bush; responsibility for the world is not their problem.

Sigivald said...

Manos: People in "science" and IT believe facts are changeable?

Well, in that you can change things by actually changing them, sure.

But in the PoMo sense of changing them by just deciding they're not facts?

Well... my own experience suggests that neither chemistry (nor indeed any other science) nor IP routing work that way, so these must be strange sets of science and IT.

Heck, your more reputable philosophers tend to deny such a claim, in that accepting it makes reality itself incoherent.

Goldie said...

Stewart and his fans hide behind the "fake news" line; but Stewart's in fact very serious, and very opinionated.

When can you tell that? When opinions he doesn't like are voiced on his show - his sense of humor suddenly vanishes, and he goes into steamed-up intolerant mode.

A recent example: Christopher Hitchens was on as a guest, and producing cogent and compelling reasons for taking out Saddam by force.

Stewart wouldn't have it -- more than once his neck tensed up and he cut Hitchens off, with hollow rants of "because this president is incompetent! ignorant! etc. etc." (getting applause from the audience, like the applause whore he's become).

At the end of Hitchens' appearance, Stewart good-naturedly punched him, like 'hey relax guy, no hard feelings, we're buddies and this is a comedy show.'

Sarah said...

John Stewart drives me crazy whenever he decides he needs to share his wisdom with us stupid proles. I haven't been able to watch the Daily Show since he took over. Also, I never thought he was funny.

Larry said...

Elizabeth: And I'm through defending myself to you. You seem stuck assailing those of us on the left just for having the temerity to speak. Keep it up. We don't care.

Okay, that's a relief. What would we do for fun if there weren't lefties around "having the temerity to speak up"?

Just for the record, though, it's not "speaking up" that's the problem for the left (preponderantly) -- it's speaking ignorantly, foolishly, belligerently, or with an ignorant and foolish belligerence that's the problem. And, apart from the buzzing distraction this creates (which, as I say, has its entertaining aspects anyway), the problem is mainly for the left, since it systematically undercuts their arguments and their credibility. I could say, with you -- keep it up, we don't care. But, in the final analysis I do care, about the value of at least semi-intelligent political dialogue, and the consequent health of the political system. I'd be quite happy, I must say, if a great swathe of what is now called the political left were to disappear in its current form, or at least morph into something a tad more rational, less pathological. It's not necessary to love Bush to achieve that.

Goatwhacker said...

But have any of you who are disappointed in Stewart's increasingly one-sided partisanship turned off Rush for the same crime?

Yep, I sure did. I even used to be a Rush 24/7 subscriber, now I rarely listen to him. Blind partisanship is unattractive no matter which side of the fence you are on. In Limbaugh's case it wasn't so much that he was pro-Bush but rather completely anti-liberal.

I can't say that I turned off Jon Stewart for the same reason though, I've always thought he was kind of an ass.

Richard said...

It is a matter of principle with me not to watch any television program where serious policy issues get cheered or jeered by a studio audience of people mostly under the age of 25.

Laura said...

I stopped watching when Stewart didn't 'get' Christopher Hitchens.

Ann Althouse said...

Michael: I have a real feeling for that. NYRB was by far my longest running subscription when I let it lapse last year. There were some years when it was my ONLY subscription. I kept if from about 1981 to 2004. Sad!

As for listening to Rush Limbaugh: I only ever listen to him in my car, and even then just to see what his line is. It's different to watch something on TV. You're devoting real time to that. If "The Daily Show" was on the radio, I might put it on to see what they were saying.

As for the clapping, hooting audience: I've blogged about that before. It was a big part of what made the show insufferable. Laughing is a much more high quality human reaction. Clapping for jokes -- it should be a crime.

Laura: Here's my take on the Hitchens interview.

Harkonnendog said...

I hate it when he makes political points through humor- and then retreats to "we're just a comedy show" when people critique the political points.

I mean you're not making fart jokes. Political parody isn't some new genre either, and traditionally the fact that you're a parodist (if that's a word) doesn't make you immune from serious critiques.

Elizabeth said...

Richard--that made me laugh, but I tend to agree!

Elizabeth said...

Ann, that's a good distinction. I could never watch Howard Stern on TV, and unless I'm remembering wrong, Rush never did too well on TV, either. To follow that through, suggesting Stewart might be listenable more than watchable offers a good illustration of your original post.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am like Ann with Rush - and that is about how old I thought you were (I am about 6 months older). I listen to him on the radio when driving from point X to point Y. I switch to NPR on his station breaks, but back since they seem about as liberal as he is conservative (giving away my leanings).

Some of his stuff is really funny, esp. the songs, such as "I am a philanderer" and "They drive a Yugo".

I do remember him on TV, and he wasn't nearly as good. But I don't think that I could listen to him for the entire 3 hours. 15 minutes here and there is enough.

I do disagree though about Stewart. He might be able to compete on the left side of the dial against Rush. Might be able to do better than O'Franken did. But, as has been pointed out here, he needs more than just Bush is Stupid to make it work.

Bruce Hayden said...

Howard Stern. Isn't he the guy who has all of those women on his TV show who strip and they all critique their bodies? About the stupidest TV show I have seen for quite awhile.

Mary B. said...

I stopped watching when I found myself nodding off during any Stephen Colbert segment, which was just about every night.

Brendan said...

Stewart jumped the shark with his sanctimonious appearance on Crossfire. A modern-day Ted Baxter shouldn't be lecturing real journalists on how to do their jobs.

MPH said...

I haven't enjoyed it since Kilborn..

Keith said...

My wife and I have watched the show almost every night for a couple of years and, despite my being part of the VRWC, I thought it was funny enough to forgive Stewart his leftishness. I did and do roll my eyes every time he has another leftist guest on, which is almost every night of course. At least it was funny before the guests.

The other night my liberal (not "leftist" but "liberal") wife laughed at several points in Jon's anti-Bush YAWP but by the end even she was saying "Where is Steven Colbert?" And that night Jon lost me completely.

Well commented, Ann. I think you nailed it for very many of us when you posted this post.

Cynicus Prime said...

When it turned into a daily Bush-bash in 2002 or 2003. The only thing worth watching anymore is the hysterial This Week in God.

Joe Hogan said...

I've never watched it. On those rare occasions that I tuned in for a few minutes I found it smarmy and elitist, especially in segments by Stephen Colbert and his fellow "correspondents" I sometimes feel that Stewart yearns, in his heart for a sane and civil America. But the net effect of his show is to degrade and ultimately make the American state irrelevant to his viewers.

Will a generation exposed to this constant negativism care about our society or will they not be more likely to abandon it to the charlatans and fools.

PatCA said...

Anybody have a link to the segment Ann is talking about, after Katrina hit?

AST said...

I thought he was pretty funny, but I quit watching because of the bleeping and dirty jokes.

MisterPundit said...

Stewart is headed into pundit terrority (an area in which he is not very good) and away from comedy (an area in which he is very very good).

This sums up my feelings exactly. I was a Daily Show addict until mid-2004. The show just devolved into the same nonsense I was seeing everywhere else. Stewart became a one-trick pony. When he unloaded on Tucker Carlson, Stewart's journey towards hypocrisy was complete.

Simon Kenton said...

I instance a Stewart analog: I loved Garrison Keillor, thinking the "Book of Guys" spanned the diapason of humor: the faintest lashes of wit to raucous guffaws. Now I can't bear him. It's as if he started channeling his Inner Lutheran Preacher sometime around 2000, and has fallen into terminal earnestness. The talent is gone.

Mr. Snitch said...

It just occurred to me how the old STL Weekend Update bit featured Dan Ackleroyd advancing this argument: "Jane, you ignorant slut!" That used to be satire. Now it's a standard argument on certain blogs, and the irony I guess has been lost om ,amy.

cheshirecat said...

Guys, guys, guys...

Maher, Stewart,...eh.

You want really GOOD political comedy that took shots at everyone and the media:

HBO'S "Not Necessarily The News". Bar none. God, I miss that show.

cheshirecat

Eric said...

Elizabeth,
I dumped Rush back in the Clinton era because it got to be too much one-note bash Clinton. I thought it needed to be done then (now I'm not quite so sure), but it was too much negativity for me.

Problem for lefties is I see some of them descending into actual bomb-throwing nuts because of their hatred. I almost want Hillary to win so that most of them can look back in shame and say "Man, was I ever kay-razy back then!" Unfortunately, I doubt that would have that effect for most.

Instead, I see the Nation moving closer and closer to confrontation where one side or the other will survive, adn I'm pretty sure it won't be the Lefties. They remind me of the South, picking a fight that was almost certain to be lost.

brennan said...

Since the host has inserted so much of his own personality and politics into the show I no longer refer to him as Jon Stewart. If he is giving the audience the real person then he is Jon Lebowitz, which is how I refer to him.

Where's Beth Littleford? They could use her.

Elizabeth said...

Eric,

You raise some points for me to think about. I'm no fan of some leftie bomb throwing. I'm just as dismayed by what I guess is the corollary to Bush Derangement Syndrome, Bush Dissociation Syndrome--the reflexive defense of Bush in any and all circumstances. It's all a round of Pee Wee Herman, "I know you are, but what am I?"

It will be a tragedy for our nation if liberalism and conservatism clash in a zero-sum game.

Birkel said...

Elizabeth wrote:
"Silly dittoisms like "Bush hater" and "Bush Derangment Syndrome" are windbag labels that fail to respond to the content of an argument, and are the stock phrases of shallow rightwing discourse."

Implicit in this comment is the idea that all arguments should be addressed on the terms set forth by the party making the argument. That is of course a logical trap that allows the first party to dictate entirely the terrain to be fought over as well as providing the not-so-clever out of "but you didn't address this absurd point that I made" so I must've won. It's bad argumentation and poor form.

Another assumption made in the above quote is that the original argument was made in good faith. A claim of "Bush Derangement Syndrome" is made precisely to make the point that the first argument was made in bad faith. Therefore BDS serves a function not just to negate what someone on the Left has said, but to impugn the first party's standing to make good faith arguments in the future.

Therefore, let me summarize the argument:
First Party: Bush = Bad.
Second Party: BDS = The first party has argued in bad faith and therefore to confront the comments of the first party in a logically consistent manner would be to waste my time as the first party has no inclination toward reasoned debate.
First Party: You didn't answer my accusations so I must have won!
Second Party: crickets chirping

Does that help you, Elizabeth?

Sam Boogliodemus said...

All of you Leftys, Rightys and Mods are taking yourselves way too seriously. It's a stupid TV show. Get with it.

Opinion Pro said...

Amen, Sam.

With all the hyperbole around here, it's hard to take any of this discussion seriously. Of course, it's debatable whether or not this discussion should be a serious one in the first place.

I'm tired of people being called "deranged," "stupid,"
"crazy," "idiotic," "hater," "Nazi," etc. It's unproductive and disrespectful. Most people, by and large, care about helping the country. They may take different approaches in trying to improve our nation (and the world), but that does not deprive them of respect.

I will concede that there are people with irrational feelings about the President. That being said, there are people with irrational feelings about virtually every politician and political issue. Generalizing from a few truly irrational people to "liberals" or "conservatives" doesn't get anybody anywhere.

I've had about as much as I can take with people conjuring liberal and conservative boogeymen. No matter what their political orientation, people deserve respect, even if that respect comes in the form of measured criticism.

Mike said...

I'd argue that for the time between the election and Katrina I watched VERY little of the daily show. However, of all the coverage of Katrina, TDS has been dead-on--even given the week absence.

I'm sorry that people think it's taking pot-shots at Bush, but they take pot shots at EVERYONE. They are very good at calling people of all sorts out on their ineptitude--and this administration is full of it. If someone would like to point out one thing they showed that wasn't accurate, I'd love to hear it.

P.S. At least when I was watching regularly, two recurring favorite targets of TDS were Lieberman and Kerry.

Ann Althouse said...

Mmmbeer: Did they lash into Nagin and Blanco? I'm tuning out all Katrina politics that don't spread the criticism somewhat evenly.

Larry said...

OP: No matter what their political orientation, people deserve respect, even if that respect comes in the form of measured criticism.

The "measured criticism" may involve recognizing and naming a syndrome when you see one. Can large numbers of people be overtaken by a political/cultural pathology of virulent and irrational fear and hatred, under particular historical circumstances? Unfortunately, yes, as we've seen from examples, large and small, in the last century and this. Earlier instances would've ranged from, yes, fascism and communism, through the great Red Fear of the McCarthy era, the drug-ridden millenarian fantasies of the hippies, to the rabid anti-Clinton hysteria on the right during his administration. The widely noted "Bush Derangement Syndrome" which has infected, in varying degrees, large patches of the liberal-left these days is just another sad manifestation of an old sickness.

This is not -- NOT -- the same as saying that all critics of Bush, his actions, inactions, decisions, appointments and policies, are deranged.

ohnobettemidler said...

Here's another vote for "when Kilborn left". The only thing that was ever funny about that show was Lizz Winstead's *completely* vicious commentary passing throught the smirking, rather clueless lips of Kilby.

People who think Stewart has "lost his edge"...nope, sorry, he never had it.

Pissed Hippie said...

i'm with ya Althouse.
i made it through the first thirty seconds of his Katrina coverage and haven't turned it on since.
tucker carlson shoulda decked Stewart when he had the chance.

Elizabeth said...

Birkel,

Thanks for the help. But you're assuming that BDS, in all its many uses, actually means how you define it. Sure, sometimes the scenario you describe is true. But it's also a default reply when someone just doesn't want to address an argument they don't like, not for it's logic, but for its target.

A=Argument in which criticism in lodged at Bush.
B=BDS!=You criticized Bush, and thus are not worth taking seriously. I win! You're crazy!

It's nice to be helpful to one another.

Tom said...

The Daily Show ("Global Edition") is in fact a weekly show here in Thailand and I only watch when I stumble across it. Yet even that may now prove too much.

Twice I found the "International Moment of Zen" greatly repulsive. The first time was around January, when Iraq and Palestine were holding elections and Bush was swearing in. Jon Stewart remarked that "as the Middle East becomes more democratic, the United States becomes more authoritarian [or totalitarian]". (This is from memory, but it should be very close to the actual quote.)

The second time is just this week. Stewart appeared (I wasn't paying much attention) to say something to this effect: Thank you for contributions from all over the world to the Katrina relief efforts. Next time there's Tsunami, we Americans won't be so grudging with our help and donations.

Jack Roy said...

Prof. Althouse:

Yours is one of the lamest comments I have ever seen on this blog. What motivates people to bother to write a comment to say something like that?

Whoa! Try the decaf! I meant no offense; I merely meant to say that, if you were correct in your intimation that your son didn't think the Daily Show had been funny in a long time, he was incorrect. And if you don't like the show these weeks, I think you're letting your protectiveness of your ideological viewpoint cloud your aesthetic judgment. (Which is a distressing and childish tendency, whether from conservatives who think Bruce Springsteen should just shut up, or from my fellow Jews who won't listen to Wagner or read Ezra Pound because of the anti-Semitic connections. Grownups have an obligation to be... well, more grownup.) There's no accounting for taste, but there are such things as standards, and Jon Stewart's show is outstanding.

Look, what I have a problem with isn't people disagreeing with certain spokespersons of the political left or finding them disagreeable or especially arguing agaisnt them---the marketplace of ideas depends on that. What does, emphatically, test my patience is this left-handed reaction once it comes out that someone we like believes things we thought it impossible for good people to believe.

It's not just the right, although your reaction to Stewart reminded me an awful lot of the reaction on the launch of Air America Radio that Al Franken simply wasn't ever funny---this is both from syndicated columnists and personal friends whom I remember laughing at the Stuart Smalley bits. When the guy who runs Daily Kos said something that certain liberals and feminists took as unpleasant, there was an analogous chorus that Kos hadn't been nearly as good as he used to be, and all those who were outraged insisted---insisted!---that they hadn't read him in months if not years. It's not a failing particular to one swath of the ideological spectrum, but it is a failing. And again, it is childish.

The fellow told jokes that you didn't like. So did Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl back in the day. The thing that the bluenoses who detested Lenny and Mort didn't get was that the more supposedly respectable audiences protested that Mort and Lenny weren't really doing good comedy, the more the joke was on them. So, in short, quit being such a square. Everyone can see right through it.

PS: "one of the lamest comments"? Ouch. Truly devastating.

Larry said...

Let me slightly modify Jack Roy: there's no accounting for taste, but there are such things as standards, and by those standards, Jon Stewart's show has been on a steady decline for some time. The latest Bush-whacking over Katrina simply highlights it. It's not a matter, in other words, of "the fellow" telling jokes someone, anyone, doesn't like -- it's a matter of the fellow telling bad jokes, before an uncritical audience that would whoop and yell if all he said was "Bush is a poopy-head" (which is actually funnier than many of his "jokes").

Interesting to note, though, the implication that you'd better not be critical of bad humor, lest the joke "be on you" -- it's this kind of anxiety that underlies much of fawning approval from the more genteel (i.e., "bourgeois") sections of the liberal orthodoxy toward the simple-minded ignorance of standards of any sort.

beinglivy said...

I'm in agreement with Uncle Mikey who posted above. The Daily Show and Stewart used to be much more evenhanded. Stewart purported to be someone who would poke fun at all politicians, regardless of their affiliation. And that's when I really liked the show. However, before the election, the show shifted and it became....partisan. Not too blatant. But just enough so. And it's easy to say "It's just comedy". But not when such a large portion of people actually state that they get their news from this show! The Daily Show writers AND Stewart know this and to shuck off the responsibility as "just comedy" seems a little seedy to me. Now when I try to watch it, it's almost like you can see it in Stewart's face...like he knows what he's doing. Trying to persuade people.

Jack Roy said...

So I argued that when people suddenly protest, upon discovering that a comedian or other entertainer doesn't share their political viewpoints, that what everyone else can see clearly is funny, or insightful, or rockin' or whatever else have you, it's a transparent defensive mechanism, and a childish one.

In rebuttal, Larry says:

..."Bush is a poopy-head" (which is actually funnier than many of his [Jon Stewart's] "jokes"....

I rest my case.

Larry said...

What Jack Roy would like to think of, flattering himself, as "everyone else" is actually just a shrinking demographic of lefties, whose sense of "humor" has been stunted at the two-year old level.

Case dismissed.

Ann Althouse said...

Jack Roy still strikes me as entirely out of touch with my point of view. He shows no understanding of me! He's not familiar with even the most obvious things on my blog, yet he has the nerve to go on and on saying what he imagines he knows about me! It's simply preposterous! You know I even bought the Campaign 2004 DVD the Daily Show put out just a couple month's ago! And then the crap about "bluenoses" and being "square"? Try relating to the actual person you're talking to, Jack, not the stereotype of a right-winger you idiotically think you're talking to.

Louisa141 said...

I'm curious - is there even a right-leaning comedy show out there? Would the equivalent be Dennis Miller (I don't watch him anymore at all).

As for Stewart, the common thread in all this seems to be that somehow TDS becomes "not funny" when it takes Bush to task. Yet I recall several different clips of Kerry riding with that helmet on, and discussion of how stiff he is, robotic, etc. I found both takes on Bush and on Kerry funny, because they are apt. That's what makes comedy good. Clearly, Stewart is not a Bush supporter, but he is not rabid nor meanspirited. I believe if Katrina had happened under a Dem president, he'd be skewering that person, instead. He's angry over the situation, and knows that many people are. Over at The Moderate Voice, there's a discussion about Joe Scarborough's scathing remarks about the feds and TMS believes that on August 27, when the President made an official declaration about LA, that gave the feds 72 hours to get in there.

I could be wrong, but many people from the entire political spectrum are upset over not only what happened, but the implications of what that means in the event of a large scale terror attack. Stewart seems to be one of them.

Perhaps it's not that he's "not funny" but rather that some of the subject matter he covers is a sensitive area to certain individuals.

Jack Roy said...

Larry, would you care to offer any evidence in support of that? I have only done a google search of "nielsen ratings 'daily show' 2005" and haven't come across what looks like an authoritative source, but it wasn't too hard to get a pretty good survey of The Daily Show's popularity, and it doesn't seem to me to be terribly concordant with what you tell me: the ratings reached a record for the show during the 2004 campaign, and their viewers are far more likely than average to have gone to college or earn more than $100,000 a year, which leads me to suspect it's not just "lefties" watching it. But if you have more recent data, I'm always curious to learn something new and would be grateful for the chance.

Professor Althouse:

I realize narcissism is the national pastime of Bloggsylvania, but in the real world it still doesn't count as reproof to accuse your interlocutor of not knowing all the details of your own life.

Come to think of it, I'm a little mystified as to what it is, exactly, you think I imagine I do know about you. This whole thing got started with my (rather offhand) comment that:

Nothing personal against you (or your son), Professor Althouse, but neither of you is a very good judge of comedy.

Now, let's be perfectly clear what this means. I was responding to your comments to your own post that you find the Daily Show distasteful, ideological rather than humorous, and I believe you mentioned that your son doesn't think it's funny either. (I'm quoting from my own faulty memory, so I may have this wrong.)

That's exactly enough to justify what I wrote in my original comment. You don't have very good taste in at least some things, this being one of them. I'm sorry, but The Daily Show is hilarious, and Stewart is one of the most insightful cultural commenters in the country. Again with my faulty memory, but if I recall, Tucker Carlson even called Stewart "either the funniest smart man, or the smartest funny man on television, depending on whom you ask." No great Stewart fan, he.

But I'm tired of litigating this issue, and so shall ask if it was not you who just cited the humorousness of Dennis Miller with approval? To accuse someone of having a misplaced sense of humor doesn't exactly require a full psych write-up. Heck, I believe Larry may have suggested as much about me. At least I have enough selbstsicherheit not to complain about it.

PS: "He shows no understanding of me!" Indeed, no, and I don't plan to take the time acquiring an "understanding" of you. When I was in law school one of my profs misguidedly allowed us to write papers on whatever topic we were most interested in. The policy was quickly lamented after it became clear, in his words, that our "favorite topic [was ]ourselves." I was happier when I believed this was a failing peculiar to law students.

PPS: There's a little show called Seinfeld that was pretty funny. If you had ever seen the episode where Elaine edits her boyfriend's manuscript and Jerry thinks his accountant is on drugs because he sniffles around mohair, you might think twice before ending three sentences in one paragraph with exclamation points.

Larry said...

Jack: I'm sorry, but The Daily Show is hilarious, and Stewart is one of the most insightful cultural commenters in the country.

No need to be sorry, Jack, but your repeated displays of bad judgment on this point simply call the rest of your remarks into question. As well -- and this is just a bit of unsolicited advice -- I really think you need to work on your reading comprehension skills, since you earlier "rested" your case on the basis of a clearly misunderstood partial quotation. You're also displaying an odd notion of logic, sets, or population statistics in thinking that a higher proportion of college attendees somehow implies a smaller proportion of lefties. Finally, you might want to bear in mind that there's a difference between a potential and actual market, so that, e.g., ratings can fluctuate even while the potential demographic is shrinking. But, despite these handicaps and mistakes, I'd encourage you to keep up your research -- your curiosity may bear fruit at some point.

vbspurs said...

I'm coming to this thread super-late, but here's a response to Louisa141 nonetheless:

I'm curious - is there even a right-leaning comedy show out there? Would the equivalent be Dennis Miller (I don't watch him anymore at all).

Have you ever seen a programme on WB or UPN (I forget which...they're often interchangeable in my mind) called Blue Collar TV?

Well, that's not precisely a right-leaning comedy show, but like all Southern-centric shows, certain traits one might call right-leaning in modern American society are often portrayed -- ranging from patriotism, blue-collar values, to ease with religiosity, etc.

It's not that Democrats are not patriotic, and plenty of them are religious, as well as seeing themselves as by inference, blue-collar, but the fact is, those are values which the media and entertainment industry don't project as positive anymore.

And anyway, no one but Jeff Foxworthy could have a segment called "Queer Eye for the Hick Guy" and get away with it.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Ann, what took you so long?

I stopped watching last year, albeit I never watched more than a small segment's worth of Stewart's Daily Show incarnation.

To say you're a comic who comments on politics is one thing, but to be like Margaret Cho (who has gone off the deep-end politically, and perhaps mentally..., a comedienne I previously loved for her voice-impersonations), who just uses her stand-up as an excuse to bash Bush, bash Bush often, bash Bush all the time, well that's just lame.

For the record, I think intro- monologues Leno and Letterman do are a lot more pithy, often more politically-acute, than other shows which masquerade as news analysis (like Keith Olbermann's simpering show on Mess-NBC).

For me, comedy doesn't play favourites or have a whipping boy -- and that goes for whatever little letter is after any US President's name.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ampersand said...

In recent episodes, Jon has done Katrina-related bits bashing the mayor of NO, Senator Landrau, and Senator Kennedy - all Democrats, as far as I know.

Ann Althouse said...

Ampersand: Maybe they read my blog. I should check back. I did look at their coverage of the Roberts hearings last night and saw that they poked fun at Schumer.