by Damozel | One of the best aspects of The Daily Show is its frequent recycling of forgotten footage to catch politicians and talking heads in a net of their own making. I thought Stewart did a good job with Cramer, but he was able to do that partly because of whatever quirk in Cramer's personality creates his obvious need to be loved (or at least viewed to be as "a good guy, really"). It was really almost too easy.. But big kudos to Stewart anyway for doing it. I thought it was a great media moment -- but don't take my word for it. Even the soberest centrists and "sensible liberals" seem to agree.
At The Atlantic, James Fallows says, "It's True: Jon Stewart has become Edward R. Murrow."
Just before leaving China -- ie, two days ago -- I saw with my wife the pirate-video version of Frost/Nixon, showing how difficult it is in real time to ask the kind of questions Stewart did. I know, Frost was dealing with a former president. Still, it couldn't have been easy to do what Stewart just did. Seeing this interview justified the three-day trip in itself.
Andrew Sullivan -- who refers to Jon Stewart as "that little comic with the Droopy voice for Lieberman -- is, unlike those of us who have watched Stewart evolved into one of America's most trusted voices, astonished:
Yes, and not for the first time. Sullivan is right about Cramer; he was, ultimately an easy target, probably because he retains a streak of decency and has avoided facing the ramifications of what he does.
Now, I know Jim Cramer a little. The reason he crumbled last night, I think, is because deep down, he knows Stewart's right. He isn't that television clown all the way down. And deeper down, he knows it's not all a game - not now they've run off with grandpa's retirement money.
It's not enough any more, guys, to make fantastic errors and then to carry on authoritatively as if nothing just happened. You will be called on it. In some ways, the blogosphere is to MSM punditry what Stewart is to Cramer: an insistent and vulgar demand for some responsibility, some moral and ethical accountabilty for previous decisions and pronouncements.
Braver, please. And louder. (The Daily Dish)
Now, I'm not going to mock Sullivan here for his role as a cheerleader for the Iraq war, given the finality with which the scales finally fell from his eyes, the extent of his complete repudiation of Bush, his long subsequent campaign against the Bush regime's excesses (and especially its use of torture), and so on. It would be a good thing for Cramer and the rest of the world if he similarly sees the light. And I understand that his condescending tone is practically unavoidable here. I intend to read "vulgar" here in its sense as "representative of the common man" and leave it to others to consider Sullivan's word choice.
I will merely point out that there's a reason why Stewart -- "little comedian" though he be -- has a level of credibility that few talking heads who fancy themselves enlightened thinkers will ever achieve.
Even Wonkette was reduced to momentary sobriety (though not actual earnestness, thank Christ):
Thers wrote my favorite post on the topic (including some rather trenchant remarks about Andrew Sullivan's commentary):
Yes, Jon Stewart committed journalism last night, though it might be more accurate to say he just pointed out to a lousy journalist how lousy most journalism is nowadays. It would be even more accurate to say that all Stewart did was point out to an empty bloviator just how fact-free and dangerous his bloviating is.
And, great! Though I have my doubts as to how much of or what kind of an impact it will have. Don't get me wrong, I watched it in awe, it was pretty fantastic. But what does it all mean? Who knows. If it makes business coverage/entertainment of the sort that Cramer does look half as stupid as it is -- all that rah-rah stock market CEO rock star bullshit -- then that would be something positive. CNBC is propaganda for unaccountable capitalism, pretty much, and that can't be mocked enough. "It's not a fucking game," as Stewart said. And, well, exactly...
Can't have anyone pointing out that the game is a game, Howie, can we? Or else we can't play anymore. And it's fun to pretend that CNBC isn't "catering to its Wall Street audience"!
Read the whole thing at Whiskey Fire.
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