Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Help I've been sucked into a media vortex and I can't get up!

I hope Marc Maron and Mark Reilly will be doing a little radio dance when I wake up tomorrow morning, but it's damn hard to know...at the moment.
I've been waiting for a new article from Murray Waas for what feels like a week. Here it is. It focuses on witness tampering accusations and obstruction of justice. Other news, from the NYT suggests that there will at least be some indictments. In true DC-media overkill, I'm simultaneously listening to Scott McClellan's press conference while writing this, and I just heard someone ask McClellan if Miers, as Whitehouse counsel, has been involved in the leak investigation... (stonewalling followed) Oh well, today's press conference wasn't as entertaining as many recent ones have been.
Every day, I wake up to the promise of imminent indictments. As you can see, I've become completely fixated. Waiting and hoping for these indictments is driving me crazy. I have been going to the Daily Kos website an awful lot lately, searching for BREAKING news. They're calling this season "Fitzmas."

I also just felt I just HAD to see Bill O'Reilly on the Daily Show. After all, Stewart has been on O'Reilly's show. It was then that O'Reilly referred to Stewart's audience as "stoned slackers" - As usual, this was a case of projection.

Tonight, for the rematch, O'Reilly was on Stewart's turf and came off as a real boor. It was a case-study in the superiority of humor as a means of social critique.
(prepare for a play-by-play)
After O'Reilly made a couple of paranoid references to the Colbert report (Which he called French), Stewart started the interview with a simple question, "why so angry?" O'Reilly talked about the problems of the world and how he had "bad people to fight" --and then he had to stop. He just knew he had walked right into it. Without mentioning any names, he just had to acknowledge the Bush administration's failure to find Bin Laden. Stewart challenged him to "go get them!"
I think I liked it best when Stewart analyzed O'Reilly's bullying strategy through the "Peanuts" comic strip. "Going After the French is like going after Marcy," he said..."Lucy's the one you should be worried about." As O'Relly tried to defend himself, saying he wasn't really going after the "little guy," Stewart leaned over the desk and whispered,
"you know, they didn't find any weapons of mass destruction." When O'Reilly called this liberal propaganda, Stewart just laughed. I'm glad that he didn't think the comment merited a reply.
Overall, the theme of the night was a debate over personal approach or style, indicating that Stewart maintained control of the interview from the beginning to the end. With the disarming, "why so angry," he set up the opposition from the beginning. Instead of looking like a righteous crusader for justice, O'Reilly came off like a humorless scold. When O'Reilly chided Stewart for laughing at him and tried to win points with the audience by saying, that Stewart giggled through disaster,"..Go ahead laugh at the hurricane," Stewart played it off.
Always quick with the reply, Stewart responded, "you're right, we do add insult to injury...and as O'Reilly started gloating over a point seemingly won....
Stewart, with perfect timing responded, "but you add injury."
Although O'Reilly didn't crumple up and cry, he certainly knew he had lost, and for that reason, this had to be one of the best moments of live television that I've ever seen. Afterwards, I felt I had witnessed some kind of watershed event. Has Bill O'Reilly ever lost face like that on television? Apparently, he's thinking about retirement, and he even said on the show that building up "outrage" is exhausting...even for him. seems like it.
While it may seem strange to pit two TV personalities against each other and say it represents something important about the zeitgeist, I don't think it's entirely inappropriate. Television news shows and TV "infotainment" have become an increasingly important part of the national political conversation. Rush Limbaugh and all his followers have played such a huge role in developing today's right-wing base. Dittoheads and their ilk have been a thorn in all of our sides.
So seeing the most popular left-leaning TV news personality totally defeat the most popular right-wing personality (unless that's Limbaugh) seems a sign of a tidal turn. In addition, I liked this face-off between self-righteous "save-the-world" showmanship and mockery as modes of social engagement. While I agree that Stewart's satire and humor are not on their own going to "change the world" or solve humanity's problems, I also think that a sense of humor is an essential part of any democratic social movement. The US right wing seems to have buried its sense of humor long ago.

2 comments:

prezmemo said...

I'm with ya.....but taking a break from posting...can't keep up.......
Enjoyed reading......

I'm at http://bush-illustrated.blogspot.com

I get a little riled up at time!

Jen said...

I hear you. With everything going on, I wonder how crazy it'll get. Will Bush & Co get off scott-free after the Plame investigation? My hubby's betting on it, citing previous damnable Bush & Co activities that went unscathed (i.e. 9/11, Iraq War & no WMDs, etc.). I think they (Bush & Co) are betting on Hurricane Wilma to help blow all the controversy over.

And isn't it amazing how Jon Stewart can stay on topic, as Bill O'Reilly could only continue his angered conservative slant. So he says that the Bush Administration is in it for themselves. Duh. That's so obvious. Is he on "our" side? Obviously not. Good job, Jon.

If you like my views, check out my blog at indigolake.blogspot.com