The new Crossfire, just as interesting as you'd expect.
Back in 2004, Jon Stewart went on the CNN show Crossfire and begged the hosts to "stop hurting America." The clip became an early viral video (this was before YouTube), and it was like the young boy shouting that the emperor has no clothes. Evidently, people at the network looked around at each other and said, "He's right. This is just awful. We have to cancel this show so we can look ourselves in the mirror again." Within weeks it was off the air.
I'm not saying that in the entire two decades of its previous incarnation, Crossfire was uniformly pernicious. But by the end it had reached a truly ghastly low, with Tucker Carlson and James Carville shouting over each other while a studio audience whooped and hollered in the background. Why anyone voluntarily subjected themselves to watching it remains a mystery. And now, Crossfire is back on the air. The obvious question is one you might ask yourself after a hurricane flooded your house or a bear killed and ate your favorite great-aunt: Why, God, why?
What did we learn from John Oliver's debut week hosting The Daily Show? We learned that Jon Stewart is nobody's fool. Stewart may be restless enough with his long-standing gig to take the summer off playing movie director, but that doesn't mean he wants a dauphin getting funny ideas.
Oliver is an ideal placeholder—skillful, amusing, adding just enough novelty that he doesn't come off as a direct imitation. But he's plainly not a guy to go rogue and seize the opportunity to make us not miss our Jon. Supposing Obama were temporarily incapacitated, could we rely on Joe Biden to resist the same siren song?
The past few days, I’ve been writing at Greg's place about the validity of Jon Stewart’s criticisms of Fox News. The fact-checking website Politfact weighed in yesterday, citing a series of public-knowledge surveys showing that on questions of basic knowledge, Fox News viewers scored well within the average.
Yesterday, Jezebelpublished a piece criticizing The Daily Show -- and Jon Stewart in particular -- for being sexist. The allegation is based on a few quotes from ex-employees, the paucity of female correspondents, and the fact that the newest female hire, Olivia Munn, has a certain frat-boy appeal.
There is an unexpected silence in the liberal blogosphere after last night's highly anticipated Daily Show episode, in which Jon Stewart hosted John Yoo, the author of many of the Bush administration's torture memos and one of the people most responsible for giving legal sanction to the practice of torture. That's probably because Stewart found himself completely outmatched by a charming, tactful Yoo who seemed far better prepared to defend granting virtually unlimited powers to the executive branch than ever before. Put simply, Stewart failed to make Yoo look like he had done anything wrong.