Tag Archive: Jon Stewart

Trump, Bernie and the entertainment campaign of 2016

Protesters disrupt Bernie Sanders event in Seattle, WA

Protesters disrupt Bernie Sanders event in Seattle, WA

Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton. A presidential race between two dynastic candidates, focused on sharp policy differences. That’s the campaign we were supposed to get. Instead, as of August 2015, we are getting the Entertainment Campaign featuring sideshow issues involving Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Maybe it’s the presidential campaign we should have expected.

CNN’s harvest of shame

CNN‘s desperate attempts to raise its flagging ratings have led to actions that can be viewed as either sad or comical. CNN spent months devoting the majority of its coverage to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, MH 370, beyond all reasonable proportion given that there were no new developments for days on end. The result was hours of cringworthy speculation, including the infamous moment where Don Lemon asked:

[W]hat if it was something, fully, that we don’t really understand? A lot of people have been asking me about that, about black holes and on and on and on, and all these conspiracy theories. Let’s look at this, ah, Noah says, ‘what else can you think? Black hole? Bermuda triangle?’ And then Deji says, ‘Huh? Just like in the movie LOST?’ It’s also referencing the Twilight Zone, which is a very similar plot. That’s what people are saying…  is it preposterous…?

Now that even CNN has had to curtail its MH 370 coverage due to lack of any news, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker recently gave some hints as to his plans for CNN’s direction. What emerged is an audience-driven format that seems to bear little resemblance to actual news coverage.

Don’t take on political comedians like Bill Maher


Bill Maher, who says he is the most frequent guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” over the past 20 years, sat with Leno Tuesday night and proved once again why political comedians are killers. Maher recapped his feud with Donald Trump, calling Trump an “insufferable racist,” an “egomaniac,” and perhaps most insulting of all, “a pop reference from the 80s. In return, Trump merely posted a couple of pathetic tweets attacking Leno and Maher:

“I’ve always defended @jayleno but he never defends me. He’s not a loyal person & I now understand why everybody dumped him. Jay sucks!”

“I hear this moron @billmaher said nasty things about me (hair etc—boring) on the terminated @jayleno show. Stupid guy/bad ratings!”

Bill Maher is part of a slate of political comedians, including Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, some of their cohorts such as John Oliver, and John Fugelsang, with whom, if you’re a politician, you just don’t want to tangle. These guys write the best material, in some cases along with their writers, and deliver it in deft ways. Recall Stewart’s appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” in 2006, slamming hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala for “hurting America.”

It’s also worth noting that all of this effective and funny political comedy is coming from the Democratic or progressive side. When Republicans and conservatives try political comedy, it falls painfully flat.

Bill Maher and this crop of political comedians are looked to not just as a top source of comedy, but as a top information source as well. They deserve both honors.






Republican-Generated Controversy over Common Plays into Republican Hands

President Obama invites progressive black rapper Common to read poetry at the White House, and the folks at Fox “News” explode. It was perfectly predictable, since Fox and the Republicans have been waging a race-based cultural war on Barack Obama since Obama began running for President. That race war has included Reverend WrightVan Jones, ACORN, the “New Black Panther Party”Shirley Sherrod, and others as proxies for Obama in the Republicans’ “Scary Black People” strategy.

This time, the war on Obama (using Common as the proxy) was launched by Fox and Republicans contracted to work for Fox, including Sarah Palin and Karl Rove. Fox’s Bill O’Reilly then challenged Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” to a debate on the subject of Common, and Stewart took the bait. Many progressives are cheering, saying that Stewart will clean O’Reilly’s clock with the facts. Bad idea. Once such a debate is being held — on O’Reilly’s Fox “News” home turf, of course — Fox, O’Reilly, and the Republicans have already won.