So, this whole ‘Jon Stewart beating up on Obama‘ thing. Firstly, I love how The Daily Show is being so slavishly followed these days. (Oh, OK, these ‘last few years’. Whatever.) I do love The Daily Show and have watched it ever since the first episode More4 managed to broadcast. Was that with the advent of More4? All I can really remember is that it was when I was living in Muswell Hill, so sometime between Spring 2004-Autumn 2006.
This is off the point. I love The Daily Show, alright?
Because I love The Daily Show, I watch The Daily Show. Like, slavishly. It is perma-series-linked on my PVR. And because I watch The Daily Show, I know anyone who thought their huge support for Obama was going to continue into doe-eyed cooing once he got elected, is an idiot.
The Daily Show came to prominence during a stupid Republican administration. But that doesn’t mean they’re pro-Democrat and anti-Republican. They’re anti-stupidity. And anti-lethargy, and anti-corruption and anti-hypocrisy. If they spot something they think is ridiculous – at the moment, a favourite topic is how the US Congressional system is put together so it can be hijacked by any moron with an agenda (imagine Nadine Dorries actually managing to derail the stuff her tiny mind hooks onto) – they will get angry about it. Doesn’t matter which side the ridiculousness is on.
Obviously they’re liberals and, like many of we liberals out here, it’s tempting to wonder if they too have been affected by Aaron Sorkin’s vision of a President who won’t accept compromise, who will rip up a shoddy, watered down piece of legislation because it stopped doing what it was supposed to do, and start again. Obama promised a new type of politics, where he’d work with both sides, where he’d make both sides work with each other (watch The Daily Show for a week, I guarantee you they’ll dig out an archive clip along those lines), but now Obama and Biden are complaining about how hard it is to get the Republicans to do anything. (Hello, healthcare.) The Daily Show is definitely angry about that.
There are legitimate reasons for complaint at this administration. Weaknesses, wavering, floundering. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Allowing idiots talking about death panels to hijack the healthcare debate. Yes, it’s more complicated than this (right-wing media, America itself riven by internal divisions, blah-blahblah-blahblah), but gasping at The Daily Show pointing this out? Using phrases like “Stewart has been slamming Obama”? (Incidentally, I hate the verb ‘to slam’ in this context. It’s become meaningless.) Is this really more noteworthy than Stewart and his team “slamming” Bush? Their not “slamming” Obama for inaction would be as partisan as the childish antics in Congress they get so annoyed by.
This is why I love The Daily Show. (And that they bring John Oliver to my TV on a regular basis.) They are basically Good. They have beliefs and opinions and they stick to them (and do stuff about them, which I also love). They’re intelligent enough to objectively assess as opposed to standing there, arms folded, saying ‘he’s my friend and I won’t say anything bad about him’. (Hello, Fox.) I suspect it says more about the general attitude of the media that this stance is being met with slack-jawed incomprehension.