Friday, March 13, 2009
So, after a week of build-up, the big Cramer vs. Stewart showdown Thursday night turned into something of a snoozer from a comedic standpoint -- primarily because Stewart decided to get all serious and just beat up on Cramer.|
Some of it was warranted, but I can't quite go as far as Andrew Sullivan:
What Cramer walked into was an ambush of anger. He crumbled from the beginning. From then on, with the almost cruel broadcasting of his earlier glorifying of financial high-jinks, you almost had to look away. This was, in my view, a real cultural moment. It was a storming of the Bastille. It was, as Fallows notes, journalism.
Stewart - that little comic with the Droopy voice for Lieberman - is actually becoming an accidental activist. Why he matters, is why South Park matters. He, like Matt and Trey, do not leave aside their own profession from scrutiny: they have the actual balls to take it on. There is a cloying familiarity among many cable show hosts and television personalities. We all have to get along, even though some of us may believe that others of us are very much part of the problem, rather than the solution. And what Stewart has done is rip off that little band-aid of faux solidarity for a modicum of ethical and moral accountability.
The one problem in all this back-patting of Stewart's guts is that he actually doesn't give the same "scrutiny" to his own profession. In his smackdown of Cramer, Stewart says, "I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a f*cking game."
Um, says the man whose entire show is built on the premise that all of politics can be reduced to a serial mocking joke? And, it's not as if Stewart doesn't have his biases. He doesn't devote whole shows to the Democrats who are compromised in the housing/credit mess. This isn't a rant about libeal bias and such (Joe Scarborough already went down that road). I don't care that Stewart is a liberal. I care that he is funny. But, if he wants to get on a high horse and demand that Cramer's schtick not turn an important subject like finance into a "f*cking game," well than perhaps he shouldn't be so overtly "rooting" for one side in the political game.
Remember, what launched Stewart on this tirade was Cramer's network mate Rick Santelli's attack on Obama's foreclosure plan. Stewart could have gone after Cramer at any time. But when a CNBC talking head attack's Stewart's president, then he puts on the activist-populist crusading journalist hat?
Come on, Andrew, you're smarter than that.
Labels: Jon Stewart