Sunday, August 02, 2015

TV: The Clown Departs

Johnny was the hall monitor.

It wasn't a high demand or glamour position.

All it really required was that you be fair and tell the truth.

Last week came confirmation that Johnny wasn't up to the task, that he'd played favorites.


Yes, Johnny is Jon Stewart.

Stewart takes his tired act off Comedy Central finally this week and does so after reports leave his integrity in tatters.

On Media Buzz (Fox News) today, host Howard Kurtz and guest David Zurawik attempted to discuss the revelations of a POLITICO report which revealed Stewart had long taken dictation for the White House.

They failed, however, because they couldn't stop yammering about his two secret meetings with US President Barack Obama.

Those meet-ups were rewards for doing as instructed and you had to wonder if either Howard or David had actually read the POLITICO report which detailed how various people in the White House spent considerable time over the years ensuring, via e-mail and phone calls, that Jon Stewart -- and his Daily Show -- were enlisted in Barack's defense nightly.

Jon Stewart has never been an honest broker.

He played the village idiot once Barack got into office as he upped the mugging and mincing to make himself the fourth stooge.

In contrast, he simmered like an outraged adult when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.

Again, Jon Stewart has never been an honest broker.

This year, he attempted to call out disgraced reporter Judith Miller for her pre-war coverage of Iraq.

As the knuckle draggers in his cult applauded, sentinent adults grasped that he'd repeatedly had Colin Powell on the same show and fawned over Colin The Blot.

The Blot because he lied to the United Nations as he argued for war on Iraq.

Jon tried to score points via Judith Miller and that's only all the sadder (Miller is clearly a deeply disturbed person who can't even pretend to be rationale these days) when you realize that last week he chatted and grinned with 'historian' Doris Kearns Goodwin.

It's a funny sort of outrage over dishonesty he has.

Miller, a lousy reporter, refused to be skeptical of insider sources and presented all their (false) claims as sourced and factual.

Kearns Goodwin, a longtime enabler in the truest sense of the word, was kicked off PBS' The NewsHour in 2002 when her mass plagiarism was exposed -- it would later turn out that she plagiarized in more than one book.

Jon, last week, didn't bring that topic up.

He never brought any topics of note up, for the most part.

He fawned through one 'celebrity' interview after another.

They were beyond shallow and few had the guts to note reality:  Stewart rarely appeared to be listening as he hunched over waiting to utter his pre-written funny.

He was a lousy interviewer.

Possibly because he'd taken a sacred cow to task, David Zurawik felt the need to say something nice -- anything -- in his Baltimore Sun column?  He offered this:

But Stewart, in addition to turning young adults on to the political process, did something even more significant: He taught a mass audience to think of politics as prime-time entertainment on a nightly basis.
Some might say thinking of politics as entertainment is a bad thing — another instance of TV dumbing down the culture. But I don't think anyone, even his harshest critic, would accuse Stewart of dumbing down anything.

Zurawik is a media critic worth reading -- even when his opinions are flawed.

The quote above is flawed thinking.

Jon did dumb down politics and discourse and he did so regularly.

He was dishonest repeatedly.

We remember, for example, his attacking a bad press conference Bully Boy Bush held.

We attacked many of them ourselves.

But when we tried to be funny in this space, we didn't try to lie.

Jon 'opened' with the press conference being part of May sweeps.

It was his attempt to get a ha-ha.

But the press conference took place before May sweeps.

It took place, in fact, in April.

Even with a team of writers, he was unable to get an honest joke out of it so he lied.

This is dumbing down.

And you can see it in Rachel Maddow's hideous MSNBC show which is not about new or anything really but what Jon did on The Daily Show and what Lizz Winstead tried to do with Air America Radio.

None of this is news.

And you can't tell truths using lies as building blocks.

Jon Stewart's influence is felt throughout MSNBC's failed programming, where various self-infatuated hosts smugly go for 'jokes' and 'amusements' while pretending to be news anchors.

It's not a legacy worth bragging about but it's all he has, all these years later, other than a guest shot on The Nanny and ending up on the cutting room floor for First Wives Club.  This week, the hairy, wind-up doll of basic cable departs and not a minute too soon.

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