One of the most entertaining things about the 2004 US Presidential Election (and no, it wasn't being in a state of denial about Kerry's chances of victory — he only lost by 100,000 votes, after all. And given some of the stories coming out of Ohio, it might have been a lot closer than it initially appeared) was Jon Stewart's appearance on CNN's Crossfire. I saw it while in Washington D.C. waiting for a plane to Florida; the audio was turned down low, but it seemed very entertaining. A copy of the transcript (plus video links) can be found here. Choice highlights include:
STEWART: I enjoyed his [Al Sharpton] way of speaking. I think, oftentimes, the person that knows they can't win is allowed to speak the most freely, because, otherwise, shows with titles, such as CROSSFIRE.
STEWART: Or "HARDBALL" or "I'm Going to Kick Your Ass" or...
STEWART: Will jump on it.
In many ways, it's funny. And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.
BEGALA: We have noticed.
STEWART: And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America.
BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is -- if the indictment is -- and I have seen you say this -- that...
BEGALA: And that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.
BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.
STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.
BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.
STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.
BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.
STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.(if you can, download the video. It's much funnier when watching Stewart being assailed by Tucker Carlson. And you need to see the bow tie.) Well, Stewart seems to have been granted his wish: Crossfire is likely to be no more. And, in another example of how The Daily Show's influence seems to be extending far beyond a channel more often known for puppet making crank calls, the many deaths of a child called Kenny, and reminding people who Rick James is, the chief executive of CNN's US network had this to say about the decision:
CARLSON: OK, up next, Jon Stewart goes one on one with his fans...
STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp.A small victory. But anything which reverses the mindless partisan bickery that takes place on most of the US news channels is to be applauded. Of course, we're also at the point where US Attorneys General have to be asked whether they support torture or not…