Tag Archives: Jon Stewart

Why Hillary can't stick the Daily Show

For those that missed it, Hillary Clinton dropped in – via satellite – for two thirds of the Daily Show last night (US readers click here).

On the one hand this was a clever (or desperate?) move by Hillary. It was an opportunity for her to look young and hip to older voters, and possibly even cleave into one of Obama’s core constituencies – America’s youth. Remember, this is a candidate who picked up 11% of the youth vote in Iowa. Contrast that to Obama’s 57%.On the other hand, the Jon Stewart interview revealed why Hillary can’t dent this demographic. Jon Stewart almost only lobs softball questions to politicians on his show. But that doesn’t mean being a guest is easy. To pull off a Daily Show appearance an interviewee must be prepared to a) be themsleves; b) concede that the circus exists and c) admit to their role in said circus.

Take for example this exchange during McCain’s interview on the Daily Show after he announced he would be giving the commencement speech at Liberty University (the right wing, born again college founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell). 

Stewart: You’re not freaking out on us? Are you freaking out on us? Because if you’re freaking out and you’re going into the crazy base world — are you going into crazy base world?

McCain: I’m afraid so.

Stewart: All right, sir. You know we have great regard for you here, and I hope you know what you’re doing there, I trust that you do. When you see Falwell, do you feel nervous, do you have vomit in the back of your throat — what does it feel like?

McCain: No, but I’ll give him your love.

Essentially, Stewart calls out McCain for pandering to the worst part of the Republican party – and McCain basically concedes “Yes, but I have to do it.” This type of authenticity (I can almost feel Andrew Potter breathing down my neck right now) plays well with young voters. As the most media savvy generation they know the candidates have to jump through all sorts of stupid hoops. If the candidates aren’t going to stand on principle and not do it, they should at least admit they are playing the game.

Sadly, this is not how Hillary played the Daily Show. Instead she stayed scripted to the end and never strayed from her lines. Nor did she seem human. Instead she was just another politician too scared to be personable and too controlling to do anything but campaign in the traditional sense for the audiences votes. This is not a critique of that style per say, but it is exactly the type of performance that makes Hillary unappealing to the young viewers who watch the Daily Show.

Check out the comments section of the Indecision 2008 website. By and large, these young Daily Show viewers were not impressed.

Maybe Hillary will win today,  but if she does, I’m fairly certain her performance last night will have had nothing to do with it.

As an aside, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my main man Beltzner who saved this post from being an unthinking ramble.

Alan Greenspan – too smart to speak

Taylor and I were hanging out on Sunday wrestling for control of the remote control – I was interested in watching the Pats destroy the Chargers, he in Chris Matthews – when on came the 60 Minutes Interview with Alan Greenspan.

It was all very interesting until boom – the 10th minute of this clip reminded us why Jon Stewart’s job is so easy.

In the interview Leslie Stahl berates Greenspan for a speech he gave in March where he publicly suggested there was a one in three chance the US economy could go into recession. Although Greenspan – then retired from his role as Federal Reserve Chairman – gave the speech as both a private citizen and business owner soliciting clients, Stahl suggests that Greenspan’s critics were correct in asserting he should keep his mouth shut since his voice is influential.

So let me get this right. Greenspan is so smart, so reliable, and so trusted on economic matters, that we shouldn’t let him speak about the economy.

You know, just in case he may have bad news to deliver.

And this from 60 minutes! Yes, the press is giving Greenspan a hard time for not sufficiently self-censoring himself.

Needless to say, we went back to watching the ball game.

The past 7 years have been for censorship, and in particular self-censorship, particularly in the US. From discussions about weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office, to the presses efforts to talk about the Iraq war, to transparency in the US economy, censorship is on the march… sponsored, apparently, by your national news broadcaster.

Let’s hope Stewart picks this one up…

Why does the daily show feel like crossfire?

Just finished watching tonight’s daily show. Everything was typically funny until Senator John McCain came on…

All of the sudden the show turned (ironically) into a crossfire-like mess of mindless interruptions, accusations, and crowd pandering rants. Isn’t this everything that Jon Stewart makes fun of?

Sigh… I wish there more Assif Mandvi. He is by far the funniest guy on the show.

[tags]The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, John McCain[/tags]