When Jon Stewart seeks “balance” for his targets of satire he can end up reinforcing the false impressions that the Bush Republicans want people to have. It’s unfortunate because political humor is a powerful force that can sway some of those “low information” voters the pundits have been flogging lately.
So too was the case last night when Jon Stewart ran a bit about Barack Obama’s decision to eschew public financing. The Daily Show seized the issue as an opportunity to display “balance” and to poke fun at the Obama campaign. But not only did the bit fall flat it played right into the Republican line, which is full of half-truths and outright lies about Obama’s decision. Just watch the right-wing radio shock jocks and the literati warmongers like David Brooks and William Kristol — who are always looking for a cute “hook” to slime Obama — cite The Daily Show as confirming, from a hip “liberal” source, their worst fears about Obama. They’ll say: “See, we told you so, even the liberals are beginning to see what we’ve known all along, Obama is just the same old politics, etc.”…
The producers should be careful when poking fun at Obama not to provide fuel for the right-wing slime machine. Poke fun at Obama all you want, but do it in a way that also reveals the Republicans’ mendacity and hypocrisy.
Turns out he’s also a neocon-lapdog Iraq war enabler; follow the link up top for details. One of my pet peeves about Stewart, also memorably phrased by Treacher, is his “clown nose on, clown nose off” shtick when he’s criticized for wielding his political influence irresponsibly. It’s gratifying to find someone on the left seeing through it, but leave it to HuffPo to submerge the critique in a lament that one of the left’s most reliable and effective media messengers somehow isn’t liberal enough. When does message discipline turn creepy? When a love tap as gentle as this is enough to warrant a public rebuke.
They probably didn’t like last night’s show either. Submitted for your approval, another love tap from Obama’s left teasing him about pandering to the center with values rhetoric, and below that an enjoyable segment mocking Cornyn’s goofy “Big John” ad — after a slap at the new one from MoveOn. Traitor!