The Smartest Man in America

Damn, I just got the opportunity to watch Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire and boy, did he totally, brutally dominate Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. Whatever the two hosts thought Stewart was going to do on the show, it was clear who was calling the shots and directing the debate. Stewart was actually very articulate and very serious, and brutally mocked both of these “journalists” for participating in a process which is theater rather than debate. Tucker Carlson in particular seemed very ill at ease, trying to go on the offensive to either mock Stewart or get him into lapsing good naturedly into jokes, but Stewart would have none of this. Stewart patiently explained that he works for Comedy Central. The show that precedes his show has puppets making crank phone calls. His job is to entertain, not to inform. CNN reporters presumably have a greater responsibility.

Ironically, it appears that Stewart understands journalistic integrity far better than either host. I enjoy his show, and no where do I see my own views about our political system more clearly echoed than through his work and the work of all the other fine writers and actors on his show.

To Carlson and Begala: did he make you feel a bit uneasy? He may be a comedian, but he was serious, and he’s not alone in his observations of the farce that is “journalism” in this political season. You guys are hurting America.

Jon, I think you are the smartest guy in America.

You can view this exchange from Media Matters.