This popular post was originally published on November 17, 2010.
Jon Stewart sat down with Rachel Maddow last week for a lengthy interview to talk about the media, and the intent of his Restore Sanity rally. Stewart’s critique of cable news and his take on the Tea Party movement gives me hope that there are some famous s0-called liberals who respect our point of view even if they don’t agree with it. Stewart insists his show is not a fake news show, but rather he looks at himself as the “Roger Ebert” of the news business. He says his show “critiques” the news just as Ebert critiques the movies. And he has a problem with both conservative and leftist media personalities and how they polarize the public.
Maddow attempted to defend her positions on the show she hosts, and MSNBC in general, by insisting that the Tea Party is not really grassroots, but instead a product of “institutionalized” protest. Therefore, they are worthy of criticism and ridicule, and she didn’t really see any problem with Code Pink continually calling Bush a war criminal, because “Code Pink consists of 12 ladies, and the Tea Party consists of half the state of Indiana.” Stewart responded, “In my world, Pol Pot is a war criminal.”
Yes, that is exactly the point. Neither side wants to get serious in their criticism of the other side, because as Stewart says, “elevating the passion” gets ratings.
The interview is worth watching in its entirety because Stewart explains to Maddow why continually marginalizing Conservatives by objectifying them (Teabagger name calling) doesn’t serve any good purpose for the Left. I think the same goes for conservatives calling Obama a socialist at every turn, when maybe he’s just a plain old statist who has relied too heavily on incompetent people for advice. The BP oil spill and the still failing economy are two examples of that.
Maddow may not agree with Stewart’s critique, but she should know that the Leftist media complex and Obama himself contributed heavily to the Tea Party movement’s rise to importance. We didn’t need an “institutionalized” protest arm of the Republican Party to organize ourselves. There are thousands of local Tea Party groups across the country that have nothing to do with the GOP, RNC, or Freedom Works. We had something much better to mobilize us. It was constantly being called racists, terrorists, clingers of guns and religion, idiots, teabaggers, and fake protesters, all coming from Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. The media did not hold them accountable for that kind of polarization.
We saw our conservative women candidates and minority candidates ridiculed, marginalized, vulgarized, and lied about at every turn in the media and in the Obama administration, as well as the Democratic Party. We didn’t need Fox News, conservative talk radio, or the GOP to mobilize us. The Left mobilized us. Stewart and Maddow should understand that when they discuss the polarization of the country.