Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sometimes Jon Stewart Isn't Funny

Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart interviewed author Stephen Hayes who has just published a biography of Vice President Dick Cheney and is an admirer of the Vice President. He makes an argument that Mr. Cheney is a straight-shooter and the kind of honest leader America needs more of. (I don't know how to avoid this awkward sentence ending)

Jon Stewart, as most folks know, is not an admirer of the Vice President. For most of the interview, he maintained his usual act of the polite, but sarcastic skeptic. Towards the end, though, when he asked why Cheney and the Bush team as a whole insists on attacking and denigrating those who question their war, rather than engaging in open and honest debate, Stewart drops his act and speaks from the heart.

"...stop making the rest of us feel like idiots when we question their strategy in the war on terror..."

"They've seemingly gone out of their way to belittle people..."

"They keep saying that we don't understand the nature of this war. And critics keep saying 'we understand the nature of it; you've been doing it wrong.'"

"I think there is a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by people in very high-level positions. Not fringe people."

By this point Stewart is simply speaking as himself. At the end, he makes an attempt to return to his usual persona and goes out of his way to thank Hayes for his appearance.

Media Matters has more on this interview. There were several issues involved and they have more details on some of the personal attacks that Jon Stewart has faced.

But to me, this is one of those wonderful moments when John Stewart drops his clown act (which I like) and speaks with devastating honesty. He did it when he nailed Crossfire back in 2004.

I realize that the Daily Show satire is informative and affective, but I'd like to see him speak this way more often.

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