TV explodes

TV explodes

: What’s fascinating about the Jon Stewart takedown of Crossfire is not just what he said but how his message got distributed.

Terry Heaton reports that there have been almost 400,000 downloads of the segment at iFilm (which is how I saw it) … in addition to countless (literally, countless) BitTorrent downloads. This was a flood of viral distribution that came from viral promotion.

Welcome to the future of TV!

In old TV, a moment like this came and if you missed it, you missed it. Tough luck. In new TV, you don’t need to worry about watching it live — live is so yesterday — because thousands of peers will be keeping an eye out for you to let you know what you should watch (we call that metadata now) and they’ll record it and distribute it.

The really stupid thing is that CNN didn’t do this themselves: Hey, we had a red-hot segment with tsunami star Jon Stewart strangling our guys with a bow tie; you should watch; here, please, look at this free download because it will promote our bow-tie boy and our brand and our show and give us a little of that Stewart hip heat. That’s what CNN should have done. Instead, they’ll charge you to deliver a videotape (what’s that?) the next day.

Listen to Martin Nisenholtz, head of NY Times Digital, at Web 2.0, saying that the best way to market a news brand may be to distribute its best stuff for free: a downright visionary view.

CNN should put up all its segments when they air because, after all, once they’ve aired, they’re just so much video fishwrap. Then it should allow viewers to download and distribute them. It should collect metadata — most downloaded, downlowed by whom, etc. — so you can get recommendations on what you want to watch. It should set up RSS feeds so you can subscribe to shows or segments or topics or the hottest segments: CNN goes podcasting! If CNN were bandwidth poor (which, of course, it’s not), it also could set this up on BitTorrent to save money. Hell every live TV and radio network should do that.

There’s no harm, there’s only the opportunity to have the audience promote and distribute your brand and content for you.

And, oh, yes, you can have ads, too. There’s revenue in them thar hills.

: Separately, a few commenters below have called out Stewart for continuing to hide behind his comedy-show status. I agree with them. Stewart is not providing fake news. He’s providing real news with an attitude. Just as he said to the boys at Crossfire: He’s part of the conversation now, too, and he doesn’t get a out just because we can hear his audience laughing.

: Updates: See John Dowdell on sync vs. async TV. See Doc. And Rafat .

  • http://jimtreacher.com Jim Treacher

    Yeah, I figured I wasn’t the only one who watched Crossfire for the first time in years only because somebody pointed to it online. (The Bittorrent download was the fastest I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve downloaded a lot of video. Ahem.) CNN should be thanking Stewart. It’s kind of like if Jay Leno called out Byron Allen for ruining America. “Oh, is that guy still on TV?”

  • http://oliverwillis.com Oliver

    Yeah, I put the video up on the Media Matters servers on Friday and it practically took our site down. Its a great talking point for viral media, though it does expose the problem of bandwith – which seems unsolvable.

  • Robert S.

    Stewart is not providing fake news. He’s providing real news with an attitude.
    Ah, so Leno, Letterman, O’Brien – they’re all late-night anchors now?
    Rubbish. Things don’t have to be so easily compartmentalized.

  • Trent

    While Stewart’s show may be factually fake, I think he does the best job of capturing the tone of these absurd times. That is often the case with good comedy.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    stewart hiding behind the idea that his show is a comedy show that does fake news actually has more credence than Instapundit refusing to post anything negative about the bush administration because he isnt a “news service.”
    and yet i dont see you calling bs on your buddy from tennessee.

  • daudder

    The Daily Show IS NOT a news show; it is a comedy that uses the days “news” as its material. Nobody confuses it for news. Nobody.
    That the show can so easily ridicule the media, its content and its process is an indictment on the news media. But that doesn’t make the Daily Show a news program.
    And The Onion” isn’t a newspaper either. And the West Wing isn’t a reality show.

  • Robert S.

    Hear, hear, Tony & daudder. (And Trent, too.)
    Seems commonsensical, don’t it?

  • Robert S.

    Hear, hear, Tony & daudder. (And Trent, too.)
    Seems commonsensical, don’t it?

  • Robert S.

    Hear, hear, Tony & daudder. (And Trent, too.)
    Seems commonsensical, don’t it?

  • Robert S.

    Sorry for the repeats – not sure what happened!

  • http://engrm.com/ Alan Gutierrez

    Steward is not hiding behind the fact that he is a comedy show. He cannot call himself a news show. He is not a news show. A news show has A BUDGET FOR NEWS, Jon doesn’t.
    It would be very irresponsible for him to say that he is news, only funny, because he is creating comedy.
    That is why he is on CNN holding them to the task. They have the tools and the training to ferret out the truth, Jon Steward does not. He can’t even get on the floor of the RNC. Most stories take place on a green screen.
    This notion that it looks like a news show and I agree with Jon’s take, so let’s call it a news show. There is more to a news room than a desk, a chair and a camera.

  • AC

    The Daily Show has jumped the shark. It is now making news instead of just making fun of the news.

  • Cog

    Was Jon Stewart promoting his comedy show on Crossfire? He called out Carlson, and I assume he meant Begala, as being political hacks.
    What do you call Stewart’s interviews with Kerry, Wilson, White, Moore, etc? There were precious few jokes in all 4 of those interviews, and a heap load of “spin”.
    Not only did Jon Steward hide behind satire/fakenews at every tough question, but he also exposed himself as a hypocrite for promoting the same political spin he is accusing others of.
    Like I said in the previous thread, the last time I laughed at the Daily Show was when Jon Stewart said he was unbiased and just wanted to inform his viewers. That was a good one Jon.
    Vote Tony Blair for US President.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    cog,
    did you even see the Crossfire peice we’re discussing?
    he was invited on the show not to hype his show, but to plug his book. instead of shilling for it (or his show) he decided to be real and give one of his formerly favorite shows a much needed enema.
    which is funny if you consider calling hosts dicks to their faces. i think thats not only ballsy but funny as hell. watching them squirm when their guest wont play their stupid games and answer their stupd questions is also funny.
    if you dont find it funny because Stewart is making a career out of mostly making fun of Bush, then dont watch. if you dont think he’s earned his two Emmys then continue to pout.
    The Daily Show has never been a place that has posed hard-hitting questions to its guests. They didnt do it when Kilborn was the host, and they don’t do it now. Your issue with his questions, therefore, are as ill-conceived as your fake email address.
    Carlson, for the record, is the hack that Stewart directed most of his criticsm to, and it’s justified.

  • Harry in Atlanta

    Cog is correct. The difference between the Daily Show with John Stewart and the Onion or The West Wing is that Stewart will have real politicians and other newsmakers come on his show and spout their positions between his inane blatherings. Comedy is a excellent vehicle to downplay your man’s weaknesses at the expense of his opponents and skewer the other side because while wrapped in comedy vitriol can seem benign. They belittled Dan Quayle unmercifully and most people just blew it off as “comedy” but in reality a great deal of it was calculated and had a huge effect.
    Besides Dennis Miller has shown that you can do good political humor without all the smarmy kneejerk assholiness of John Stewart.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    cog,
    did you even see the Crossfire peice we’re discussing?
    he was invited on the show not to hype his show, but to plug his book. instead of shilling for it (or his show) he decided to be real and give one of his formerly favorite shows a much needed enema.
    which is funny if you consider calling hosts dicks to their faces. i think thats not only ballsy but funny as hell. watching them squirm when their guest wont play their stupid games and answer their stupd questions is also funny.
    if you dont find it funny because Stewart is making a career out of mostly making fun of Bush, then dont watch. if you dont think he’s earned his two Emmys then continue to pout.
    The Daily Show has never been a place that has posed hard-hitting questions to its guests. They didnt do it when Kilborn was the host, and they don’t do it now. Your issue with his questions, therefore, are as ill-conceived as your fake email address.
    Carlson, for the record, is the hack that Stewart directed most of his criticsm to, and it’s justified.

  • John

    I love it ! All of the Bush drones all chiming in — how dare Stewart make a chump out of one of their boys on national TV. Keep the posts coming fellas!

  • Cog

    “did you even see the Crossfire peice we’re discussing?”
    Yes I did. Read my post again and my point should become clear. And I did not hear him mention his book once, I did hear him lecture the Crossfire hosts for almost 22 straight minutes.
    Pouted? You have an active imagination. I simply pointed out that Stewart has contributed his share of spin in the interviews I mentioned above, and that he hid behind fakenews/satire at every tough question.
    And as mentioned previously, I am not voting for Bush. But feel free to label me as a right winger if it makes you sleep better, but I voted for Clinton twice.

  • DRW

    Am I the only one who thought that Stewart seemed surprisingly pompous and insufferable? In my view he came off as no different from any other self-promoting, self-important talking head looking for the next appearance/sale, including Carlson and Begala.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    i know its a difficult concept for some of you, but when you’re making a politically-based comedy show, and Dubya is in office not finding wbd, not finding obl, taking the biggest surplus ever and making it the biggest deficit ever
    and just plain being Dubya
    who speaks like a drunk man crossing an icy road
    odds are youre going to be making more fun of him than of democrats.
    that does not mean that he’s “spinning” anything, Cog.
    it’s called shooting fish in a barrel.
    meanwhile, if you see a show like Crossfire, which, he’s right, could be an excellent show, denegrate into a partisan screaming match
    and if you want to go on that show and not hype your book, not hype your show, but take the risk of “lecturing” the hosts – thats not spinning either.
    some might call it pompus.
    some might call it overdue.

  • http://blogmouth.jimchandler.net Jim

    Stewart is neither a reporter nor a comedian. I think the proper word is asshole.

  • James

    Talk about your Law of Unintended Consequences… That could give positive reinforcement for being outrageous, as opposed to positive reinforcement for doing a good job of reporting the news. “Can you believe what just happened on [fill in the blank]? Senator So-and-so had a wardrobe malfunction/the two hosts got into a fight and had to be separated/they were so tilted towards the left/right…”

  • darlene

    Stewart is not quite the hipster Jeff makes him out to be. I’m sure he saw Drudge’s post showing Stewart’s ratings spiral downwards. Whiel I have never wathced the show myself, the concensus seems to be that he’s become just another politician.

  • Greg

    Then count me as one of the many downloading it off BiTorrent, which is how I got it!

  • http://www.freesand.com/!/ Matt

    I think it is great how this was distributed. More news stations should get on the ball with internet distribution. I watched the VP debates via the internet from cspan. Lets face it, if cspan is ahead of you in media technology then you are losing. badly.

  • Tomas

    Yeah, the downloading thing is really great and should be enthusiastically celebrated … except for, you know, that whole copyright infringement thing.
    Forty-thousand people violating CNN’s copyright. Gee… All hail “the future.”

  • Tomas

    Wow, it’s even worse than I noticed at first glance — 400,000 people violating CNN’s copyright.

  • Pete

    What I saw in that clip was two talk show hosts that refused to dignify an honest question with a response. They hemmed, hawed and did their absolute best to change the subject throughout the entire exchange. I wanted them to prove that he was wrong but they totally proved his “political hack” remark in the way they responded. I’ve come to expect this behaivior from the politicians but the media should be better than that.The only reason that anyone considers the Daily Show news is because the regular news media is dropping the ball.

  • RebeccaH

    I know a lot of people think Jon Stewart is funny. I’ve just never understood why. He’d make a perfect anchorman. He has that same smug self-regard.

  • http://hyku.com Josh Hallett

    In your post you say: ” because thousands of peers will be keeping an eye out for you to let you know what you should watch (we call that metadata now) and they’ll record it and distribute it.”
    I don’t thnk you’ve used the term metadata correctly. Metadata is not pro-active unless you are referring to a semantic web. Metadata for the Crossfire clip would be things such as air date, guests, format, etc.
    Check out: http://www.noisebetweenstations.com/personal/essays/metadata_glossary/metadata_glossary.html

  • Tomas

    “some might call it pompus.”
    Some might even call it pompous — the same word they’d use to describe a blog commenter who constructs a post as if it’s poetry, with sentences split onto separate lines and delicate precision applied to rhythm and symmetry.
    This particular criticism
    was particularly overdue.

  • Some Guy

    Heh. Funny to see the “if you don’t think he’s funny, then don’t watch” attitude from some of the libs. It’s a funny argument to see coming from liberals.
    Don’t get it? Well, if you don’t think the President is a good Commander-in-Chief, then don’t vote for him…and quit your infantile complaining. If you don’t think he’s the right choice for the White House, then pout, but shut the *$!# up!

  • http://oliverwillis.com Oliver

    Yes, because a comedian whose decisions affect nobody is the same as the damn president of the united states.

  • AST

    I’d say Stewart’s show is a meta-news program. It covers some news stories, but to get it straight you have to go look it up. He does a great job satirizing both the news media and American culture, and that has some news value by itself, since it focuses attention on the way media manipulate us.
    With respect to Instapundit refusing to post stories some of his readers want him to, he’s right. He ISN’T a news service. That anger should be directed to news services that protect one candidate and overplay negative stories on another. The reason to criticize a newspaper or news channel is that they claim to be objective, but aren’t. Of course, whether they are or not is often a subjective judgment by members of their audiences. Blogs don’t claim to be objective, but unlike the old media, there are plenty of them on all sides of every issue and they are easy to review. Nobody should rely on a single source for news, but until fairly recently all of the electronic media were indistinguishable. That should have been a red flag to their management, since they are supposed to be competitors.

  • Thomas

    Some Guy, that might be the most idiotic post I’ve ever read anywhere.

  • http://jimtreacher.com Jim Treacher

    “Just as he said to the boys at Crossfire: He’s part of the conversation now, too, and he doesn’t get a out just because we can hear his audience laughing.”
    I got some folks over here who disagree. Most vehemently!

  • Henry

    You all are missing the freaking point. How is that a comedian on a comedy channel beat every news channel on reporting the news?
    Jon Stwert rocked Crossfires World when he told them they needed to grow up and help the real people that make this country work. Or do you want the talking heads to keep spinning your world for you?

  • lplimac

    CNN should put up all its segments when they air because, after all, once they’ve aired, they’re just so much video fishwrap.
    At one point in 1999 they did, through a third party. I worked at a Internet Company (long since vanished) called FasTV and most of it’s programing was just that. We encoded everything on CNN, then presented it to viewers via an embedded RealMedia stream. Fully searchable via key words too. Problem at the time was the quality was hideous as it needed to be played back over a 28k modem. We even had writers to produce copy for the important segments and I’m sure this would have received that treatment. Those were the days…

  • Mantis

    I like how Dennis Miller was brought out as the opposite of a smarmy, knee-jerk asshole.

  • http://www.collectiveinterest.net Sabbadoo32

    No, Comedy Central is comedy. It’s bar is low. CNN is (or was) the electronic media of record, much like the New York Times is for print.
    But the media of record is now awash in flackery, simply because they want to chase a fellow network founded by a flack, for flacks.

  • Cog

    “Yes, because a comedian whose decisions affect nobody is the same as the damn president of the united states.”
    I think you need to learn the difference between President Bush and the hosts of Crossfire. Nice attempted spin though.

  • Klapp

    Stewart and his boosters are kidding themselves if they think the Daily Show targets the news media. The bulk of TDS’ satire is pointed directly at politicians, very rarely at talking heads. The point he was making (re: talking points and how a televised opinion show should somehow be above all that) is completely vapid –as if the format itself permitted anything better. Those demanding sophisticated political analysis should turn off their TVs and pick up a book.
    I came away from this exchange with considerably less respect for Stewart, who is a competent comedian but a lousy media critic.

  • Klapp

    ‘But the media of record is now awash in flackery, ‘
    Sabbadoo, “the electronic media” was ever thus. And the web is much better? Please. Talk about complacent boobs parroting talking points.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    AST,
    Jeff in this post said that Stewart shoudn’t get an “out” because he says that he is doing “fake news.”
    I’m saying that Instapundit shouldnt get an “out” because of his claim of not being a “news service.” Nobody has ever said that a blogger, even one that posts 30+ times a day is a news service or should be held to the same standards as one.
    But if Jeff is going to criticize Stewart from hiding behind stances, then he also has to aim some criticism to his pal Glenn for not being able to come up with one post out of 30 critical to the bush administration.
    As far as I’ve seen Glenn doesnt call his blog partisan, yet it clearly is. He doesnt call his blog propaganda, but it would be hard to argue otherwise.
    The same concern Stewart had for Crossfire we could all have for instapundit.com as being fake theater far more interested in spin than in accuracy.
    5 years from now you could go through the instapundit’s archives and never know that Bush got creamed in the debates, or even had a bad day, for that matter.
    If what Glenn is doing is fake news or comedy, fine, but if he is covering politics, i’m sorry but on a week like last week when Bush had his hat handed to him nearly every day, it’s disappointing to see such partisan hackery.
    So if Jeff wants to call someone out, he needs to look no further than the man who provides him with all that traffic.

  • Jeremy

    Whee! 400,000 Limosine liberals with broadband downloaded some DNC thing. Whee!

  • Klapp

    tony, what Glenn Reynolds has is an opinion page that gets a lot of traffic. He has no obligation to you or the world at large to be fair and balanced, and you have no obligation to read him or get pissy when he reveals his pro-Bush bias. If you dont like it, don’t read him! Or get your own blog and call it “Instapundit watch” or something similar. Or head over to Eschaton and spout off in the comments there. It’s amazing how people can be such control nuts regarding someone else’s speech / bandwidth.

  • http://www.leftist.org/haightspeech Anne Haight

    One of the main reasons for the high traffic on ifilm is that the story was posted on Fark.com, and ifilm made the video available at Fark’s request (link goes to discussion thread about the video):
    http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1170246
    I also posted about this on Ricecop.com, a forum that I frequent. I also blogged about it.

  • Josh

    “He’s part of the conversation now, too, and he doesn’t get a out just because we can hear his audience laughing.”
    His audience laughs? When did that happen?
    I don’t believe it.

  • kingdom2000

    Funny how some of you are calling out Jon Stewart for being incorrect for drilling his guests on issues but you do not do the same when they appear on news programs.
    The Daily Show is a comedy program and the guests appear on it for the same reason they appear on Leno or Letterman. To have a non-threatening forum to spread whatever their agenda or item to sell is. It is not the programs fault that it points out more factual inconsistencies in one 15 segment then the news programs do all day.
    The fact that even occurs shows how horrendous our news organizations are now. What the Daily Show does should be the norm without the comedy. Instead news organizations allow the newsmakers to run roughshod on them. Even worse, it

  • http://knowinginpart.blogspot.com Samuel

    While its all well and good for a sparing match regarding the merits or lack thereof for John Stewart and his comedic news show, I think the larger comment in Jeff’s post is that the traditional recorded media is still operating like when it was all live. Even though they do record everything they still archive it away in some musty hole. I can only guess they are waiting for someone who wants to pay for it.
    I’d like to point out that NPR stations have large amounts of their station specific content avaliable for download and replay. I, lacking good radio reception, have grown to enjoy this as an alternative to not having radio at all.
    If you are still thinking John Stewart is shrill/lame/pompous you should read his commencement address to William and Mary a few years back (I think you can download it somewhere or at least read the transcript.) He may be a political satirist that is overly political now but I still find him entertaining and often that he makes a damn good point.
    Samuel

  • http://due-diligence.typepad.com Tim Oren

    This piece and Team America seem to be Rorschach blots for American politics and media in this season.
    One suggestion, for those who have only seen the video: Also read the transcript. You want to do this to know what transpired before the interview, while Stewart was probably sitting in the green room with a monitor running: An inane exchange of the usual litany of partisan talking points that those who frequent political blogs have probably seen far too many times. I think I can understand the impulse (if not already conceived) to trash the celeb book plug script in favor of tossing verbal hand grenades.
    I don’t think the Joseph Welch moment quite comes off. Stewart is unable to resist playing to the audience (maybe doesn’t know how), and trying to suggest he isn’t a player is rather lame. But like a lot of others, I haven’t watched this show in years, and it was a lot of fun to see Begala and then Carlson realize that it wasn’t a joke, the script was out of control and they really were being attacked. It was on target media commentary in the sense of accurately describing why I don’t watch any more.

  • http://www.ishbadiddle.net M E-L

    Does the viral distribution going on here — hey, I think there was something in this post about that! — remind anyone else of how TV worked in “Max Headroom”?

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    Stewart has always had talent as a comedian and he’s become one of our better media critics (and he certainly gets more attention than most from both journalists and their audience).
    I can disagree with Rush Limbaugh and still realize he has talent (though not on loan from god) when it comes to radio (but certainly not on tv).
    CNN would be smart to make their video available. I can’t imagine they or ABC get too many $5 a month subscriptions or that much revenue from the the $12 a month real pass subscribers.
    A news channel with a shrinking audience like CNN should try and get as many viewers as possible. At the very least they should make their attempt at a younger show – Anderson Cooper 360 – available for download since it is on at 4 pm on the west coast and not repeated. And any buzzworthy show like the Stewart Crossfire.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if over a million people dowloaded the show (I dowloaded quicktime of it on a small site). But I doubt they lost many videotape sales. The only people who would have payed the inflated price for a tape would have been people with corporate expense accounts.
    So there was little if any finanacial damage – if anything it would have cost them a lot of money to place ads for crossfire and reach a lot of people. And that is probably why CNN hasn’t let their lawyers loose on any of the sites which posted the video.
    And ABC’s digital/net news channel would grow much faster if anyone could access it for free, not just comcast and AOL (i think) subscribers.

  • http://www.balloon-juice.com John Cole

    People like Tony Pierce take the joy out of blogging.
    Glenn blogs about what he wants to, and of course it is biased- it is his opinion.
    If you can’t handle it, don’t read Glenn. Otherwise, quit writing petulant and bitchy comments on Jarvis’s sight telling him how he should editorialize about other bloggers.
    Or you could just go back to your web site and take some more pictures of girls. Or spend some time looking for the shift key on your keyboard. Or, get this- get a job as an editor where it actually is your business to tell other people what to write.

  • The non-dick Tony

    Tony Pierce mumbled:
    “if you dont find it funny because Stewart is making a career out of mostly making fun of Bush, then dont watch.”
    Well, alrighty. I guess you’re untroubled by Sinclair’s planned broadcast of “Stolen Honor”, right? Just “don’t watch”, right?

  • http://ari.typepad.com/tiger/2004/10/novak_and_carvi.html Steve Rhodes

    If you click on my name, I’ve posted part of the transcript of today’s Crossfire where Carville and Novak response to Stewart.
    Stewart could have been much harder on Carlson. He could have asked him about his Talk magazine profile of Bush.

  • http://www.instarepublican.com Instahack

    Tony,
    Everyone knows that Glenn Reynolds is a complete hatchett man that has nothing intelligent to say anymore, he is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Bush campaign. Jeff doesn’t need to tell us that Glenn is an obvious hack for the republican party—it’s obvious. What’s next: do you want Jeff to point out that sky is blue??
    The Instawife.

  • Steven Freeman

    The funniest thing about all this so far is the picture of the Olson twins that Tony Pierce has on his wall. I find that fitting since he argues like a twelve year old. “Jon Stewart roxz and Glenn Reynolds sux0rz”

  • http://oliverwillis.com Oliver

    John, you don’t pretend to be non-partisan. Reynolds does.

  • NanoCoop

    Pshaw ….
    Glenn is our hatchet man.
    Sinc. &c
    NanoTech Corp.

  • TomB

    John, you don’t pretend to be non-partisan. Reynolds does.

    Gee Ollie, I don’t suppose you’ve got links to support that claim?

  • paul

    If Instapundit can be called a hatchetman, what does that make Stewart? TDS is a shill for the Dems every time I’ve tuned in. Powder puff questions for Kerry, the typical Ashcroft/Rumsfelt/Cheney leftie jabs. You can call it a comedic take on the news–it’s really just a comedic mouthpiece for Liberal-minded, angry white stoned males. Which I am no longer.
    South Park is fair and balanced; Stewart is not.
    Instapundit is a moderate Republican professor, if anyone out there still doesn’t know it. I don’t believe he’s ever claimed to be non-partisan.
    And Crossfire, even with the bow-tied “Republican” and “the Forehead,” at least doesn’t pretend to be non-partisan. Guests get partisan shots from both political sides. The same Point-Counterpoint yellfest that Fox does.
    So what was so cool about Stewart’s rant? He was a hypocritical bastard for “pleading” on CNN for “less yelling” and “doing politicians’ bidding.” That coming from a liberal hack masquerading as a non-partisan comedian equally critical of all politicians?
    In a word, heh.

  • HA

    I just saw the Stewart clip. If you ask me, he came across as a real asshole. Who the hell is HE to lecture people like that? Does he think calling Tucker Carlson a “dick” is civil discourse? Stewart may be funny. But he is as much a part of the problem as Crossfire. I’ll take confrontation over cynicism any day.

  • http://www.kylebunch.org Bunch

    You guys have it all wrong—Jon Stewart’s greatest accomplishment wasn’t calling Tucker Carlson a dick. It was managing to actually get people to publicly defend Crossfire.
    I’m quite certain the producers slipped him a nice cash stipend for his hard work. A TV series hasn’t enjoyed a resuscitation like this since Heather Locklear joined the cast of Melrose Place.

  • GrantC

    First of all, I think that Carlson just made Stewart mad, a feeling I often have as well, even though I idealogically line up on Carlson’s side. He seemed to start the thing off pretty lighthearted and never reached the fevered pitch I expected after reading news reports of the exchange.
    That said, and I say this as a big Daily Show fan, Stewart and the show have taken a sharp turn away from comedy and towards naked partisanship.
    Note Stewart’s response to the “global test” kerfluffle: he parroted Kerry’s camp by claiming that Kerry had not intended to imply that America should seek international approval. To bouy this assertion he ran the clip of Kerry making the “global test” comment in the debate. The clip showed this snippet:
    “No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing…”
    And then stopped it. In mid-sentence. Completely ommitting the remainder of the sentence, which of course contains the global test standard, such as it is:
    “…and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”
    There was no joke attached to this, it was deliberate, malicious editing meant to sway opinion and deceptively support a false argument, namely that the global test was a media creation. He made some comment about lies. Which was neither intended to be nor was in actuality, funny. There are entirely reasonable interpretations of Kerry’s comments that would validate the claims that Kerry doesnt have a global test, but they chose to use creative video editing to make their point. Not make a joke; make a point.
    John Stewart is easily as much a hypocrite, as much a political hack, as Carlson or Begala. Not that that invalidates his point about Crossfire or those hosts, mind you.

  • Joey Zasa

    Did I just read comments disrespecting the Blogfather? I would sincerely advise against this and suggest a retraction.
    It is unwise to make the choice to speak ill of the Instapundit, for he has many friends worldwide. An expansive global network exists with the sole purpose of defending the family from such disrespect.
    I will use the words of a famous Democratic spokesman when I say, “I think you are going to regret doing this, and you had better hope we don’t win this election.”
    Joey Z

  • http://www.rjwest.com/blog Ricky

    You’re asking Willis for facts or the truth?
    Are you new to the blogosphere?

  • http://www.leftist.org/haightspeech Anne Haight

    Glenn Reynolds pretends to be non-partisan? What alien dimension are you living in, Oliver? His writings are just his opinions and his take on things, augmented by his professional expertise in a particular field. He’s even said as much on multiple occasions.
    For that matter, my blog (Haight Speech) is an equally biased mouthpiece for me and my husband. It’s more than obvious and we make no pretense otherwise.
    (And yes, our domain name is supposed to be a joke).

  • Tim

    Oliver Willis doesn’t like Glenn Reynolds.
    Got it.
    Next?

  • http://www.balloon-juice.com John Cole

    (And yes, our domain name is supposed to be a joke).
    You don’t know how lucky you are that you decided to include that last bit, because if you hadn’t, Media Matters would have released this Press Release tomorrow:
    ‘Conservatives Admit To Haight Speech: Fox NEws Fails to Cover Story Adequately’

  • Stephen_M

    The Daily Show was good when it was a show about smug and unconsciously foolish hairdo-boys.

    It’s a lot less good now that it’s a show by a foolishly smug self-regarding hairdo.

    I mean, Stewart’s political analysis is surely important to himself. The wonder is that he thinks anyone else should give a cr*p – especially given the thrust of Daily Show. Or rather the now former thrust of his show.

    The tangle of ironies is Andy Kaufmanesque.

    No, Stewart is not parodying himself in a Kaufman-like convolution. He really has become the thing he once parodied.

    Let me be clear… Stewart is no Kaufman.

    On the plus side – I find his folly deliciously entertaining. That he does not intend this entertainment is icing for me.

  • kkl

    Guess I’m glad I don’t watch either Crossfire or TDS. From what I gather, Stewart wants Crossfire to be more scholarly because that would help further national debate, but dude gets a pass because he is “entertainment.” Or is ‘Spin Alley’ not big enough for the both of them…
    I may be simple, but if Stewart sees an unmet niche in the news market that would provide great value to the American public, why doesn’t he just provide it? Whatever. Guess I’m not going to rush to start Tivo’ing either program.

  • kingdom2000

    I guess i don’t over analyze like most…but based on transcripts i have read..crossfire sells itself as a true discussion of the issues. The reality is both sides just spew their sides talking points. Anyone can do that. Doesn’t even take intelligence. Stewart was commenting on how pathetic that is. Four political “experts”, not a one shows anything but ability to regurgitate talking points.
    Crossfire should be a true source for discussion but its not. Wether you like his tone or his approach it doesn’t negate his accuracy.

  • Robert

    I got into an argument with a friend about the Presidential election over a period of months some time back. He’d periodically link me to a news story that was critical of the administration on one point or another, and I’d generally either argue that the story was incorrect factually, that the conclusions drawn from the story didn’t meet the facts, or that I actually agreed with the criticism, but that it didn’t affect my overall support for Bush. After a few months of this, when I still expressed support for President Bush, he was simply flabbergasted. “How can you continue to support this moron after I’ve shown you X, Y, and Z?!?”
    It was as though he was incapable of seeing the other side of the argument; it was inconceivable that someone rational could view things differently, or reach different conclusions from the same facts. I see a lot of that these days, and a lot of it here. I see it on both sides of the political spectrum, but it’s most pronounced from people like Oliver and Tony. Or at least that’s the way it looks to me.
    To assert that Reynolds has claimed to be unbiased, or doesn’t support Bush openly is just foolish, frankly. And the sweet, creamy irony of the whole thing is someone like Tony making that allegation in the first place. “But he didn’t criticize Bush for his performances in the debates!!!! He’s a hack!!!” a) Yes, he did. b) Amazing how some people might have a different opinion of how those debates went, eh Tony? Just amazing.
    I read the transcript of Stewart’s crossfire appearance, and I thought it was pretty good. I’ve never liked crossfire, and never thought it was contributing much to political discourse. I’ve been watching it since it was Novak and Kinsley (and the re-animated corpse that appeared for the left before Kinsley, whose name I forget), and despite Kinsley’s more evenhanded approach, it was hackery then too.
    I like John Stewart; I think he’s generally funny, and he has some pretty good writers. I’m not under any illusion as to his political leanings, either. When Michael Moore, or someone of his ilk is on the show, I happily change the channel. It’s just not what that show does best, or at least it’s not what I enjoy.

  • Kyle S

    I think Jon’s point, largely ignored here in a debate that has turned into theatre between partisan hacks (heh), is that CNN and Fox are both marketing shows like “Crossfire” and “Hannity & Colmes” as news, when they are in fact its opposite. Just as from “Comedy Central,” I expect comedy (duh?) as opposed to hard-hitting investigative journalism, shouldn’t I expect news from the “Cable News Network” or the “Fox News Channel?” Fox doesn’t care; Rupert Murdoch is interested in journalism insofar as by appearing to follow rudimentary jouralistic standards, Fox avoids quick-hit criticism from the center-left and keeps making bank. CNN, on the other hand, purportedly cares a lot about its jouralistic reputation. Stewart sees “Crossfire” as a stain on that reputation, and explained why.
    If CNN subscribed to a more libertarian understanding of itself, namely a media company that sells eyeballs to its advertisers, with the primary goal of maximizing shareholder value by attracting more eyeballs and raising advertising rates, then his criticism would be baseless. Comedy Central’s executives, unfettered with concerns over its journalistic integrity (it is, after all, Comedy Central), are free to maximize its viewership, ad revenues, and profits however they see fit within the purview of the law. Apparently, this is accomplished by first having talking puppets make crank phone calls, and then having Jon Stewart make fun of the President saying “internets.”
    CNN’s confusion over the role it plays led to Jon’s criticism, who has no such confusion over his own role; nor should he.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    “The Daily Show has never been a place that has posed hard-hitting questions to its guests. They didnt do it when Kilborn was the host, and they don’t do it now.”
    Huh? Guess I dreamed that Stephen Hayes interview… And the show when Kilborn hosted, with the great work of Whit and Unger is almost nothing like the show now, which is left-wing propaganda with a funny edge.
    Begala just didn’t say much because he expected ass-kissing.

  • Angus Jung

    The “FACE!” that launched a thousand snits. I love it!

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Also Begala (and Carville) deserved it more – they friggin’ work for Kerry. Carlson (and Novak) isn’t even for the war.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Interestingly enough, Stewart went on Hannity & Colmes and there was never a problem.

  • Jim

    I still don’t think Stewart has any obligation to perform the tasks of a regular journalist. That’s been his point all along. If the “real” journalists were doing their jobs properly, some people wouldn’t be looking to Stewart for more interesting analysis. It’s as simple as that.
    You can continue to waste time attacking Stewart directly for saying something that needed to be said, or you can actually think about it for a second. Journalism, especially the televised kind, is a joke currently. All the 24 hour news stations are mostly just bullhorns and not really doing the kinds of real analysis, fact checking, and filtering that should be taking place. We could get the same effect if the political parties just aired infomercials all the time.

  • rhodeymark

    Sorry for the repeats – not sure what happened!
    I think it’s called an echo chamber. What a bunch of morons.

  • TomB

    Still waiting for those links, Ollie…..

  • Geek, Esq.

    I don’t recall Reynolds describing himself as a nonpartisan.
    It’s worse. He and wingnuts like the head Late German Fascist pretend that they aren’t conservatives (Reynolds calls himself a “liberal”), despite the fact that they offer 99% rightwing agitprop.
    To put Mr. Reynolds’ identity confusion to rest, I offer one litmus test:
    If you write about how the Democratic party lost the South during the 1960′s, but don’t even consider or mention the words “race/racism,” “(de)segregation,” or “civil rights,”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/glennreynolds/story/0,15140,1316272,00.html
    then you are a rightwing hack.
    I also tend to discount anyone who describes themselves as liberal/libertarian but can’t bring themselves to reject Michelle Malkin’s advocacy of internment of racial minorities.

  • yk

    You’re ignoring the fact that Internet bandwidth still costs a lot of money. You’re probably looking at a quarter of a million dollors worth of bandwidth to distribute free video. Better to let interested parties shoot it out for free.

  • Captain Wrath

    “I also tend to discount anyone who describes themselves as liberal/libertarian but can’t bring themselves to reject Michelle Malkin’s advocacy of internment of racial minorities.”
    Maybe that is because he actually bothered to listen to her arguments and her points, rather than engaging in kneejerk political correctness. Yeah, Glenn Reynolds is no Chris Matthews, and for that reason among many I always read his blog.
    Malkin was is not, as I understand it, advocating internment of racial minorities. What she is trying to point out that the conventional wisdom behind that policy is filled with misconceptions, half-truths and disregard for the facts. The “history” taught is that the racist U.S. government simply decided to round up all the “nips” when they had to chance because they hated them. What Malkin tries to reveal is that there was more than simple prejudice behind the policy, including an actual threat from some Japanese-Americans whose loyalties did not lie with the U.S.
    I admit I am not an libertarian expert, but I do no think libertarians support ignoring threats to the nation from enemy agents or sympathizers.
    Oh, and you confirm one of Malkin’s points when you said “racial minorities”. We are told the Japanese were the only ones rounded up, but apparently Germans, Italians and others were also detained during that time.
    Before you all get your knickers in a twist, I am NOT going to argue Malkin’s thesis here. She does a much better job than I could. Go to her site, buy or borrow the book. My point is that I think Geek should try actually understanding someone’s position before attacking it.
    ‘Nuff said.

  • http://www.whatsapundit.com Mark Poling

    Yo, Oliver, is George Soros still writing you checks?
    Bet you call yourself a journalist when trying to score babes. You have a lot of nerve talking about people “pretending” to be anything.
    Seems to me Reynolds has issues he cares about, and writes about (and presumably votes) those issues.
    You care about Democrats.
    Pardon me for saying, but that kryptonite may be giving you autoimmune problems….

  • http://www.learnedhand.com/scrutineer.htm MDP

    Steve Rhotes: “Stewart could have been much harder on Carlson. He could have asked him about his Talk magazine profile of Bush.”
    Tucker Carlson’s Talk magazine piece made Bush look like a jackass. It demolishes Stewart’s argument that Carlson is a plain ol’ Republican hack.
    How would it have been “much harder on Carlson” for Stewart to mention an article that enhances Carlson’s credibility?

  • Chris

    The bottom line
    The bottom line is that Glenn Reynolds gets about 400,000 hits a day, whereas everybody else whining doesnt.
    PS – I know Glenn personally, though he does not know I’m writing this. He doesnt like sly attempts to manipulate his opinions, or to prod him, via criticism, into posting more left wing pieces. He’s the type of guy of to get annoyed by such naked atempts. So, like the Democrats continued denegration of Republican’s intelligence, it just helps the other side.

  • TomB

    If you write about how the Democratic party lost the South during the 1960′s, but don’t even consider or mention the words “race/racism,” “(de)segregation,” or “civil rights,”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/glennreynolds/story/0,15140,1316272,00.html
    then you are a rightwing hack.

    As an addendum, if you have the temerity to mention the south in ’60s and don’t metion that the racists and segretationists were Democrats (see: Gore, Albert Sr.), you are a left-wing hack.

  • Geek, Esq.

    Actually, I’m not pretending that the Democrats were anything but complicit in the Jim Crow South.
    However, it is when the Democratic party supported the Civil Rights Act that they stopped winning Electoral votes in the South. That is a matter of historical fact.
    Reynolds disregard of this can only be characterized as dishonest. Either that, or he chooses to shun the “reality-based community.”

  • TomB

    Actually, I’m not pretending that the Democrats were anything but complicit in the Jim Crow South.

    You’re just ignoring it.

  • http://popone.innocence.com/ Bryant

    Glenn’s not a paid political hack? When did he stop writing for Tech Central Station, which is funded by a Republican lobbying firm?
    “But he would have written things like that anyhow.”
    You know, I’m fairly certain that Oliver was gonna write with a liberal viewpoint whether he worked for Media Matters or not.

  • Lloyd

    Reading the Crossfire transcript was like watching the WWF… where (since I last watched pro wrestling as a 12 year old my knowledge is a little dated) both contestants are evil encarnate. Nonetheless, I thought Carlson, who I normally can’t stand, did a mostly good job of pointing up Stewart’s hypocrisy and condescension. It is fun to watch these guy’s heads grow and grow until they explode. Kind of like O’Reilly in a strange way.

  • TomB

    Glenn’s not a paid political hack? When did he stop writing for Tech Central Station, which is funded by a Republican lobbying firm?

    Since Glenn is also writing columns for the notoriously left-wing UK Guardian, can we also assume, using your “logic”, that he is a left-wing “paid political hack”?

  • Jack

    Geek
    The historical FACT is that the Civil Rights Act was passed because the Republicans gave it enough votes to get it over the top. Most of the Democrats were AGAINST it. Who mostly integrated the Army? Eisenhower. Who sent the troops to Little Rock? Eisenhower. When it came to Mississippi, Jack and Bobby were following his lead not inventing something new. The reason the Republicans have done well in the South in the last 40 years is not because they tolerate racism. It is because they spoke of small government and true equality. If you weren’t a totally socialist luddite you’d realize that a lot of people think that segregation was wrong but so are set-asides.

  • http://popone.innocence.com/ Bryant

    It’s not my logic, Tom, it’s the logic used to try to discredit Oliver. I’m glad to hear you disagree with it.

  • Geek, Esq.

    Okay, here’s a brief history for the rightwingers who just can’t believe that race had ANYTHING to do with the political realignment in the South.
    1964: LBJ pushes through the Civil Rights Act. He comments that the Democrats have lost the South “for a generation.”
    Later that year, Barry Goldwater campaigns on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and “states rights.” He wins six states, including his native Arizona. The other five?
    South Carolina
    Georgia
    Alabama
    Mississippi
    Lousiana
    None of those 5 had gone Republican in 1960.
    It is flat out dishonest to pretend that race had nothing to do with the realignment of the 60′s.

  • TomB

    It’s not my logic, Tom

    Here is exactly what you wrote:
    Glenn’s not a paid political hack? When did he stop writing for Tech Central Station, which is funded by a Republican lobbying firm?

    I leave the readers to form their own conclusions.

  • Tim

    Geek, Esq.,
    Your history sucks somewhat. First, yes race split the Democrat party and you can begin to see the electoral results in 1960 with a pro-Kennedy and anti-Kennedy vote (esp. see Alabama).
    Second, the labels of conservative and liberal can be applied to the race/segregation issue, but loose meaning for their use today.
    It was a coaliton of liberal Republicans, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats that pushed through and passed Civil Rights legislation. The Southern Democrats put out on race and (civil war) states’ rights issues created the Dixiecrats.
    The Republicans broke the solidly Democratic South by taking advantage of this split in the Democratic Party.
    Liberal Democrats accuse Republicans of being racists. No, Democrats are racists. They moved the plantation mindset from the Southern estates to the government trough but it was the Republican party that joined with Johnson, and later Nixon, to pass Civil Rights legislation.

  • Geek, Esq.

    My point is not to smear Republicans or even conservatives as racists.
    My point is that Reynolds completely ignored those issues when discussing why the South swung from (D) to (R).
    As you noted, it was when the Dixiecrats changed teams that the Republicans became the dominant party (in presidential elections) in the South.
    Most high school students have a better grasp on the South’s political history than Reynolds, if he honestly believes what he wrote.

  • Robin B.

    With the term racisim being bandies bout so cavalierly these days, it doesnt mean much anymore. But to the extent it does, there’s no question the Democrats are horribly racist.
    Racisim means treating people diffrently on account of their skin color. Affirmative action, promoted by the Democrats, does exactly that. The bleeding hearts and the guilty can rationalize it any way they want, but it is still racisim, plain and simple.
    The Dems accuse the GOP of imaginary racisim for one reason, and one reason only – it’s a smokescreen to mask their own very real racisim. (They do the exact same thing with “voter intimiadation” – scream it yourself so the otehr side can’t.) For my money, I can’t understand why the GOP doesnt exploit the racist views of the Democrats. If I were running for office, I would make sure every white person I met knew that a vote for a democrat is shooting yourself in the foot. Affirmtive action means theat better qaulifed applicants lose jobs becaseu they are reserved for black quotas. The voters should know that the next job lost might be their own.
    Will the Dems cry racisim? Sure. But they do it anyway. It’s high time the GOP stopped being so timorous.

  • Joe Blow

    I think Tucker and CNN can take the attention this show has generated. Look I agree with the basic premis that the Press is
    not doing it’s job with respect to “the people” they are lazy at times and let politicians just spew canned responses that are skin deep and often dishonest. It’s candy. We need real nutrition in today’s world. Putting two people with opposing viewpoints was called “hot talk”. It leaves me cold.

  • lisa

    It was a great moment ..Lenny Bruce style ..it went right over the heads of the intellectual pygmees who regularly watch that dribble.

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    It also signals the sea change in the role of the consumer or customer. In a media fragmented world, companies are going to have to work very hard to keep their customers and their customers advocacy.
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