For anyone who was unfortunate enough to miss this classic interview between Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart, I decided to post it and offer my own critique. This is the full uncut interview including some footage that was not included in the 11/11/10 episode.
I really like Jon Stewart, but found his false equivalency bothersome. Let me start by admitting that cable news is a very small portion of peoples lives, but to dismiss its reach beyond its own viewers is foolish. What I'm about to write is not whining, it's the fact that Americans are not being presented solid facts, which includes GE owned MSNBC. We're only getting what our corporate lords allow us access too. That is a major cause of our civil unrest and partisan discourse in my opinion. We're all playing "telephone." Who is the Jack Anderson of 2010? There isn't one. Doesn't it seem strange since Anderson exposed everything Nixon was up to back in the day, that the media has been effectively neutered?
Should we be more concerned with corruption in our politics than the left/right battle? Absolutely. How exactly do we do that? I offer the rise of the Tea Party funded by the billionaire Koch brothers with exuberant assistance by FNC as proof of corporate media's influence. People need to consider that corporate America has bought our media thanks to deregulation by Ronald Reagan. Add that 95% of talk radio is literally right wing talkers because of blowing up the Fairness Doctrine (another Reagan gem). Ultra-conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch's 24/7 right wing propaganda channel called Fox "News" has effectively painted anyone who's not conservative and in love with big business as an anti-American communist. According to Jon, Fox isn't partisan, they're idealogues. Their donation of $1M to the Republican Governors Association and $1M to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which used the money to run attack ads against Dems would suggest they're both. For nearly 15 years, and while the FNC mission is clear to most, they still prop up their "fair and balanced" mantra with decent success. MSNBC has 4 hours of liberal evening talkers (5 if you count Chris Matthews). Hardly a balanced playing field. I felt Stewart went overboard to make his point about discourse while clearly distancing himself from the left. He needs to admit the fact that in the past couple years angry conservatives heavily influenced by their media heroes have killed doctors who provide abortions(with Bill O'Reilly chanting Tiller the baby killer in one instance), have killed cops when they think the government is coming for their guns (Glenn Beck, Alex Jones), have killed church goers in a gay friendly church (O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage). Recently a Beck fan was caught on his way to shoot everyone at the Tides Foundation in California. Angry liberals write blogs, go to events to get their head stomped on by a neanderthal or make phone calls for GOTV. To pretend the same type of "discourse" occurs from the left is not factually accurate. It's not 1969 anymore. Yes, the civil discourse in the country is terrible, and while he didn't say it, I felt he was essentially suggesting to Ms. Maddow that her show is as big a problem as the aforementioned commentators. I take issue with that. Yes, she makes fun of kookiness from the right (and the left when presented), but has never used her show as a forum for fear of your political opponents. It amazed me that the man who has been voted most trusted newsman two years in a row will not admit he's on the field. He is whether he wants to be or not. To ding Rachel for doing the same things he has done is disengenuous, whether he hides behind his comedian title or not. That in a nutshell, is what bothered me.
I almost fell off my chair when he went into his Bush apologist speech. He admits that George W. Bush is "technically" a war criminal, but that's a conversation stopper! What? No Jon, that's a conversation starter and we put the clown in jail with the rest of his crooked cronies. Bush is a war criminal. He actually admits it in his new book. Dick Cheney admitted as much as well...and proudly! But no, let's once again play the old game of equivalence and compare that to thinking Obama is a secret Kenyan, Muslim, Marxist, or ...ist of the day. Evidently it's ok that Bush is a war criminal, because conservatives are allowed to be law breaking radicals, whereas liberals are not even allowed to be radical enough to prosecute those crimes. We're not even allowed to call them crimes, apparently. That's too divisive.