Sunday, October 17, 2004

Not at all surprising

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, once one of my favorite TV shows, is still losing market share, down 7% since August. Frankly I expected more of a dive, considering Stewart and his writers have made the same mistake the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen did, which is to assume that most of your audience thinks like you do so you can speak your mind about the coming election without affecting business. I'm not saying it's fair or reasonable, but I am saying it shouldn't surprise anyone that when you insult those fans with whom you disagree, you might not keep their business.

That's what happened to me; I just couldn't stand the not-so-veiled implication that I must be a real moron to want to vote for Bush any more, regardless of his and Kerry's relative merits. It's not funny. Stewart pretends to be unbiased in his assaults on the candidates, but he can't hide his distaste for W and his crew, and neither can he hide his admiration for John Kerry. Like the mainstream press, he thinks the 200+ Swift Boat Vets for Truth are liars and Republican shills, but Richard Clarke and the nine Swift Vets who support Kerry are honest men who speak their consciences. In short, he's delusional and paddling as hard as he can to get the Kerry boat to the other side of the river, and in that he is no different from Dan Rather and Newsweek editor Evan "the media wants Kerry to win" Thomas. Nobody they know thinks any different from them, so when they encounter those who do, they must be crazy, or stupid, or just mean.

And as they keep bags wrapped tightly around their heads to avoid hearing and seeing inconvenient things, the American people grow weary of their bias, and turn away. Not enough of their people step into the breach, and they either figure it out or wonder bitterly what has become of their country. It's tiresome, counterproductive, and really, really sad. Jon Stewart is a very funny guy, and his show is still funny at times. Stephen Colbert, who may not even be on the Daily Show for all I know, manages to be brutal to both campaigns in such a way that there is no obvious desire on his part to have Kerry win, although he may feel that way even more so than Stewart. He knows the difference between funny and preachy. I wish he'd explain it to Stewart, but you have to wonder if a guy who insists on having his name be part of the show title isn't taking himself too seriously to see this kind of thing clearly.

Anyone But Bush is not an answer to anything. But it sure is a sign that you're not thinking like an adult.

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