Jon Stewart’s Increasing Rightward Turn

I had been waiting to write this for some time, after endless “WTF” moments from the most recent incarnation of The Daily Show. That’s later on in the program. But first, the fake news:

Jon Stewart: ‘You, Harry Reid, Are Really, Really Terrible’
by Josh Feldman | 11:41 pm, August 1st, 2012

Jon Stewart very thoroughly ripped into Senator Harry Reid for not just claiming that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes for ten years without caring about whether it is true or not, but for his unbelievable statement that Romney’s father would be “embarrassed” by how his son is running his campaign. Stewart said that if anyone ever admits they don’t know if something is true, especially when they say it right after they made the original charge, they should “shut up,” and then introduced the title of the segment: “You, Harry Reid, Are Terrible.”


But, as Stewart noted, “people throw around baseless accusations all the time” in political campaigns without having the facts to back them up. What makes Reid particularly terrible in this case? Stewart highlighted Reid’s comment that George Romney would be “embarrassed” for what his son is doing. This led Stewart to make a slight change to the segment title: “You, Harry Reid, Are Really, Really Terrible.” Stewart tore into Reid for playing the “dead card.”

“As someone who has truly and thoroughly disappointed his still-living father on many occasions, let me just say, that is a bullshit shot.”

He spent the next minute mockingly rebutting Reid by pretending to speak to the ghost of Romney’s father with an ouija board. […]

Which is, itself, idiotic.

You don’t have to take the street entrance to Hades and bring blood to the hungry ghosts to come to a rational conclusion in this case. Of COURSE George Romney would be ashamed of Mitt. His mother would be ashamed, as well. You see, the father made a principled and transformative stand on the issue of what standard of transparency was appropriate to anyone seriously asking voters for their presidential vote. The proof of the pudding lies (remember that word) not in any game of “table up” from a teenage seancé, but, rather from the fact that it has been a SIGNIFICANT issue in every presidential campaign SINCE 1968.

Satire doesn’t work if it’s ungrounded in truth (click pic for vid)

It is a big part of George Romney’s moral and patriotic legacy, and his son’s repudiation OF that legacy leads to the inescapable conclusion that, yes Virginia, George WOULD be ashamed. Add to that the Mittwit’s utter repudiation of his MOTHER’s electoral legacy — who was unapologetically in favor of contraception and, yes, Roe v. Wade, and which MITT USED TO BRAG ABOUT.

Mitt Romney is a sociopathic liar. That is too well established to trouble ourselves further with. He will say anything to get his way, which was a hallmark of the Life and Crimes of Bush the Dumber. How quickly we forget: being a pathological liar is no dishonor in business — in which success is measured purely in terms of how much cash you can grab from the gulls without giving much in return — but is an active and virulent tumor in the body politic.

No, what troubles us here — or ought to — is the sudden and mindlessly reflexive “he said/she said” approach that the Daily Show has taken in recent weeks. I would like to know whether it was a) Stewart’s unthoughtful “libertarianism” b) the hiring of one or several “conservative” writers, or a dictum from Viacom (CBS’ parent monopoly) that the fake news must be fake fair and fake balanced.

Certainly Stewart gave idiotic cover to a non-issue using non-logick in furtherance of the Rightie Bait-and-Switch on Mitt’s taxes.

He claimed that Harry Reid “pulled it out of his ass” EXACTLY mirrors the nonsense thinking of the Fox & Friends twits he ‘balances’ his unbalanced attack on the Senate majority leader with.


He holds Harry Reid to the SAME STANDARDS AS JOURNALISTS. (Reid is a Senator, not a News Anchor or columnist.) And, that said, MOST news is simply repeated hearsay dignified by quotation marks. Reid told a reporter what he’d been told by a “Bain insider.” And he admitted that it was hearsay, a “fact” that Stewart jumped on like an armed ethnic cleaning rape squad jumps on a teenage victim.

Exactly like YOU, Jon, Harry Reid is not a journalist. Nor is hearsay INADMISSIBLE in the Court of Public Opinion.

Quit hallucinating that life is like a batch of Perry Mason episodes. It ain’t.

If you understand that, then I don’t need to belabor the point. If you have some sophist argument against what I’ve just stated, I suggest you take it up with your analyst: I’m not having any. I already gave at the office.

Then, reflexively, Stewart “balances” his idiocy with a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel attack on Fox & Friends’ hypocrisy as “irony” — except that he just made their point FOR them. Way to go, dude. (And I mean that in the cowboy way, and not the modern derived-from-surfer slang manner.)

You see, I am pretty sure that Jon Stewart isn’t ACTUALLY that stupid. (Or at least, his writing staff didn’t used to be.) Increasingly, irrational GOP talking points are adopted by The Daily Show as a “balance” to their haranguing of the idiocies of the Right. But, while flaying the abusive tactics of bullies is entirely appropriate, and pointing out hypocrisies is fair game (but NOT as tu quoque, or “you too” in response to actual crimes and misdemeanors, which must, morally STAND ON THEIR OWN), the mindless application of the he said/she said school of urinalism to comedy is neither appropriate nor UNdisturbing.

Because good comedy is always rooted in truth. The JOB of the court jester, the foole, is to SPEAK THE TRUTH that no one dare speak, lest they offend the sovereign — in this case Karl Rove.

So why do Jon Stewart and the Daily Show writers engage in this unfunny false equivalence on an ever-increasing scale?

Perhaps because they’re owned by a multinational media monopoly (MMM, see Sinclair Lewis for moron this). Perhaps because someone has insisted on hiring unfunny “conservative” writers, who generally mistake sadism, mockery and verbal brutality for “biting satire.” Or perhaps Jon Stewart has lost whatever social conscience he once had.

I don’t have at least two sources for any of the aforementioned speculation, so I sure hope that Jon Stewart doesn’t focus his “withering” mockery on me the way he mindlessly savaged Harry Reid for telling what Reid believes (I have no doubt) to be the truth. The day that one thinks Harry Reid is as calculatingly and viciously a liar as Rush Limbaugh (from whom this talking point may well have come) is the day that one needs to reconsider how effective modern electroshock therapy methods are proving.

But stay away from the thalidomide if you’re pregnant. That’s still a bad idea, except that it HAS — from the evidence — produced several of the latest crop of Daily Show writers.

Now, you can return to your necromancies, save for the Ouija board that Stewart cluelessly destroyed through an utter lack of understanding of its workings and a failure to exercise any physical restraint.

That’s a metaphor, kids.



A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, an honorary Texan, Clown (ditto) and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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One Response to Jon Stewart’s Increasing Rightward Turn

  1. Sigh says:

    Stewart’s a conflicted Republican voter.

    Jon Stewart literally voted for Republican Bush I and regularly pimps Republican war criminals, torturers, and liars.

    Watch Stewart’s softball, almost sycophantic, interviews with Republican sociopaths like Yoo, Feith, Rumsfeld, Rice, amongst others.

    Right-wingers go on Jon Stewart’s show because they _know_ he’ll pimp their books with little, if any, push back.

    Beyond Stewart’s right-wing enabling politics, is Stewart’s often hard right-wing economic outlook.

    Look up Stewart’s completely sycophantic interview with right-wing liar Amity Shlaes and compare it to Stewart’s disrespectful, even demeaning, interview with economist Robert Reich.

    2 shows out of 5 are still usually funny.

    But of the remaining 3 not funny shows, 2 of those have me cursing Stewart’s right-wing enabling sycophancy, false equivalency, and outright pissing on legitimate left-wing concerns and tactics.