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Jon Stewart says what millions want to - Tucker Carlson is dick

Since everyone else is doing ok (ok, first Jen and then Curtis but I believe in peer pressure, and it's extra innings in the ALCS anyway so I ain't going to bed anytime soon - damn Yankees), I may as well mention the Jon Stewart v. Tucker Carson fight on Crossfire. Actually, that's not quite true. More accurately, it was the Jon Stewart v. the media catfight. Truth be told, I didn't see it live. But thanks to the internets, you can see the video here. (Best yet, with the commercials taken out!)

I have to say, even if I wasn't a huge fan of Jon Stewart, which I am, I would have enjoyed this exchange. And Carlson seemed so surprised by (and unprepared for) the attack. Ahh...certain things make me happy.

The fact that a allegedly serious news medium would honestly compare itself to The Daily Show and essentially whine, "if you don't have to ask difficult questions and be accurate, why should we?" just signifies what's wrong with the media. He's comedy - you aren't. Give me a break! Jon Stewart said it best:

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.

CARLSON: Now, come on.

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie.

CARLSON: They're difficult.

STEWART: But the thing is that this -- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.

STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.

Ugh! Begala and Carlson clearly weren't prepared for a serious Jon Stewart with a message he wanted to get across. Have they not seen his show or read his book? Yes, he's funny snarky, but do they not realize that (1) he knows his shit; and (2) he clearly has a mesage.

The full written transcript can be viewed here.

And the perfect thing: the media is talking about Stewart's appearance, which I'm sure is exactly what he wants. Because the more the media talks about it, the more likely that it is going to strike the average American...hey, what exactly ARE they doing??

* * * * *

From New York Daily News

Jon Stewart torches 'Crossfire' hosts


WASHINGTON - It wasn't meant to be funny, but Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" got in a dustup with his "Crossfire" hosts yesterday that left viewers laughing.
Stewart, who is promoting a new political-humor book, surprised the talk show mavens by being deadly serious.

He went after "Crossfire" hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala for turning politics into cartoonish conflict instead of illuminating issues.

"What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery," Stewart said.

"I'm here to confront you. ... You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably. ... It's hurting America," he said.

Carlson, clearly angry, replied, "Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring."

He called Stewart John Kerry's "butt boy" for lobbing softball questions at the candidate on "The Daily Show."

"I thought you were going to be funny. Be funny," he told Stewart.

"I'm not going to be your monkey," Stewart replied.

After a commercial break, the sparring resumed.

Carlson: "You're more fun on your show."

Stewart: "You're as big a d--- on your show as you are on any show."

As the credits rolled, Stewart said sarcastically, "Well, that went well."

* * * * *

From MTV.

Jon Stewart Bitchslaps CNN's 'Crossfire' Show

In what could well be the strangest and most refreshing media moment of the election season, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart turned up on a live broadcast of CNN's "Crossfire" Friday and accused the mainstream media — and his hosts in particular — of being soft and failing to do their duty as journalists to keep politicians and the political process honest.

Reaching well outside his usual youthful "Daily Show" demo, Stewart took to "Crossfire" to promote his new book, "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction" (see "Jon Stewart Writes A History Textbook That — At Last! — Features Nudity"), but instead of pushing the tome, Stewart used his time to verbally slap the network and the media for being "dishonest" and "doing a disservice" to the American public. After co-host Tucker Carlson suggested that Stewart went easy on Senator John Kerry when the candidate was a guest on "The Daily Show," Stewart unloaded on "Crossfire," calling hosts Carlson and Paul Begala "partisan hacks" and chiding them for not raising the level of discourse on their show beyond sloganeering.

"What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery," Stewart said. "You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

"I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It's so painful to watch," Stewart added as it became apparent that the comedian was not joking. He went on to hammer the network, and the media in general, for its coverage of the presidential debates. Stewart said it was a disservice to viewers to immediately seek reaction from campaign insiders and presidential cheerleaders following the debates, noting that the debates' famed "Spin Alley" should be called "Deception Lane."

"The thing is, we need your help," Stewart said. "Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations and we're left out there to mow our lawns."

While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the state of political journalism. Carlson grew increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the segment wasn't "funny," and later verbally sparring with the comedian.

"You're not very much fun," Carlson said. "Do you like lecture people like this, or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?"

"If I think they are," Stewart retorted.

The conversation reached its most heated moment when Carlson said to Stewart, "I do think you're more fun on your show," to which Stewart replied, "You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show."

"That went great," Stewart could be heard sarcastically saying as the show went off the air (a transcript of the show is available on

In an era when the media is increasingly fragmented and viewers can surround themselves with programming that falls right in line with their own views, be they on the right or the left, Stewart's blast seemed especially on point. It seems fitting that the tirade came on a day when much of the media attention focused on the presidential race was directed at the mention of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter during the last presidential debate, as opposed to the issues addressed at that debate.

—Robert Mancini

* * * * *

And Salon.

Jon Stewart: Crossfire "hurting America"

"I think you're a lot more fun on your show," said Tucker Carlson to "Crossfire" guest Jon Stewart this afternoon. "And I think you're as much of a dick on your show as on any other," Stewart shot back. It wasn't the faux avuncularity we've come to expect from Stewart on "The Daily Show" but there, of course, he's playing a role. Here he was himself -- and he wasn't buying any of it.

From the moment Stewart sat down he made no secret of how repugnant he found the show. In fact, he said to Carlson and co-host Paul Begala that he had been so hard on the show he felt it was his duty to come on and say to their faces what he has said to friends and in interviews. What he said was that their show was "hurting America," and he was being only slightly hyperbolic. Stewart told them that when America needed journalists to be journalists they had instead chosen to present theater.

Carlson, trying to affect an air of dry amusement that a comedian would presume to lecture him, important pundit that he is, but looking as if his bow-tie were about to start spinning, could barely contain his outrage. In an absolutely mind-boggling moment, Carlson tried to counter Stewart's criticism by pointing out that during John Kerry's recent appearance on "The Daily Show," Stewart asked the candidate softball questions. "If you want to measure yourself against a comedy show," Stewart said, "be my guest."

Paul Begala tried to put a more conciliatory face on things by pointing out that theirs was a "debate" show. Stewart was having none of it. "I would love to see a real debate show," he said. And went on to tell them that instead of holding politicians' feet to the fire by asking tough question, "you're part of their strategy. You're partisan -- what's the word? -- uh, hacks."

It's almost a cliche by now to talk about "The Daily Show" being more trusted than real newscasts, but Stewart showed why. He pointed out to Carlson that he had asked Kerry if he really were in Cambodia but "I don't care," and when Carlson asked him what he thought about the "Bill O'Reilly vibrator flap," Stewart said, "I don't." It was as concise a demonstration of the triviality of the media as you could hope for.

"I thought you were going to be funny," Carlson said toward the end of the interview. Stewart responded, "No, I'm not going to be your monkey." And that was what was so bracing.

Stewart's "Crossfire" appearance is going to generate talk about how prickly he was, how he wasn't "nice" like he is on "The Daily Show." But prickliness is just what was needed. If you've built your reputation as a satirist pointing out how the media falls down on the job, you're not going to make yourself a part of their charade.

I've heard people talk about "The Daily Show" as an oasis of sanity, a public service. I couldn't agree more. Stewart's appearance on "Crossfire" was another public service. He went on and acted as if the show's purpose really was to confront tough issues, instead of being the political equivalent of pro wrestling. Given a chance to say absolutely what he thought, Stewart took it. He accomplished what almost never happens on television anymore: He made the dots come alive.


  • At 12:09 AM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Like you, I missed this live, but have seen it since (and read the transcript).

    Stewart is awesome. And his show *DOES* have a point, and a message, despite his modesty to the contrary.

    Thanks for posting all of this!

    Take care.

  • At 9:43 AM, Blogger Erinna said…

    I actually did see it. Highly entertaining. I love Jon Stewart just as much serious as funny. Great stuff, Stephanie...thanks for posting it.

  • At 11:44 AM, Blogger p.p. said…

    Jon kicked ass!

    Oh, and I hate bow ties.


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