Once upon a time I used to watch the Daily Show. Many many years ago, before the entire world had lost its mind, this Weekend Update clone was one of the funniest shows on television. With its mix of news satire, lampooning of so-called serious reporters and their story selection (as well as the subjects of those stories), and host Jon Stewart's very clever and often self-deprecating humor...the show caught like wildfire with younger Americans - especially college students. In fact, a 2004 Pew Research Center report found that 21% of people 18 to 29 rely on Jon Stewart for their news.
But things started to change in 2004. During the election that year something seemed a little...one-sided about the coverage. Yes there were jokes about both candidates, but there seemed to be something a little...harsher about the Bush jokes. The audience cheers and laughter only seemed at the expense of the Republican candidate. And then, there was this...
...Stewart's softball interview with John Kerry. Keep in mind this was at the height of the "flip-flop" and Swift Boat controversies. And just so that you don't think that Stewart isn't capable of hard-hitting interviews, take a look at this segment with National Review columnist, Jonah Goldberg.
So we can establish the fact that Stewart doesn't like conservatives and George Bush, but does like John Kerry. Which makes sense because that's pretty much the audience he's catering to. It's also not surprising because Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, is Jewish. And as we all know, Jews hate Republicans. Oh and like Sarah Silverman, he is JEWWWWWWWISH. Take this passage from a recent Moment Magazine writeup on him:
Dispensing Jewish humor like a tic, Stewart’s impish grin, self-deprecating punch lines and jokey cultural references are a staple of the show. He has referred to himself as “Jewey Von Jewstein” and cracked wise on Jewish noses, circumcision, anti-Semites, Jews who play baseball (a short list), Israel as “Heebie Land” and his grandma at Passover. When it comes to Jewish and Israeli politics, he stomps where WASPier comedians fear to tread. But although he regularly brings up the fact that he is Jewish, he rarely speaks earnestly about his Jewish upbringing or what being Jewish means to him.
Well of course he doesn't speak about what being Jewish means to him...he changed his last name to Stewart and married a Catholic woman. My guess is that it doesn't mean all THAT much. But it makes for some hilarious jokes.
In any case Moment Magazine came to the conclusion that Stewart is "the perfect Jewish ambassador" to represent us to the gentiles.
Is he really?
In his first show back from his Christmas vacation Stewart kicks off 2009 with a segment called "Strip Maul."
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
After yet another President Bush joke (will these ever end?) Stewart goes on (grinning and laughing the whole time) to remark that "it's not like Hamas lobbing missiles is an unusual and new occurrence, why does Israel feel they have to react so strongly now?" Why indeed. Stewart decides that it's because Israel is worried they won't have "carte blanche" in the "bombing department" from Obama. After some clips of American politicians supporting what should be a country he has an emotional connection to, Stewart appears frustrated with their one-sidedness.
But most galling is his mocking of Bloomberg's analogy for the "disproportionate force" argument at the end of the segment. Stewart actually appears to JUSTIFY the Palestinian rocket fire into Israel by making a joke about having "forced that guy to live in [his] hallway and make him go through check points every time he needs to take a [expletive deleted]."
He then goes on to have an awkward interview with the new host of Meet the Press, David Gregory. In it he remarks at how "surprising" it his to him that no one ever seems to criticize Israel in "any way" for their "behavior" (claps and cheers abound after his statement). Stewart brings up the Israeli settlements, also as an apparent justification for the Hamas action and refers to Israel as a third rail issue.
I'm not even sure where to start here...
Wait I know...SHUT UP JON! You've made it clear that you don't care about your heritage or about Judaism in general, except for as a cheap laugh on your show every so often. You've made it clear that you have a political agenda - you support the Democrats which by definition makes you biased. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's a comedian with an agenda. Your job is to make us LAUGH not to convince us to vote for your candidate, but that's a different conversation entirely.
Here's ANOTHER "ambassador" for the Jewish people ripping on Israel's right to self-defense. It's EMBARRASSING. And I'm so sick and tired of it already.
Jon - it's not your place to represent us to ANYONE. You don't like Israel's reaction to Gaza? You think Gaza rocket fire is because of SETTLEMENTS? You mean the settlements that Israel dismantled in Gaza? The ruins of which the Palestinians are now firing rockets from at your brothers and sisters? You ignorant, embarrassment to the Jews. Have you ever even read the Hamas charter? Have you ever watched Palestinian television?
You say Israel "forces" Palestinians to "live in the hallway" huh? You have a problem with checkpoints? Do you know why there are checkpoints? Let me educate you Jonathan. It's because when there were no checkpoints, Hamas and Fatah Palestinian SUICIDE KILLERS would do everything they could to sneak into Israel and bomb women and children in pizza stores. Do you understand what that means? You're sitting at the Sbarro on 33rd St in Manhattan with your son Nathan Thomas and your daughter Maggie Rose when all of the sudden
Oh and hey - those same poor people who have to go through the checkpoints that you are so upset over (who would kill you and your children the first chance they could) celebrated this event with a "Sbarro Cafe Exhibition" complete with body parts and pizza slices. Oh and Jon, that was just one of FOUR such attacks in the month of August/2001. So yes, we have some checkpoints.
You know what else we have though, Jonathan? Doctors. And that guy that we force to live in the hallway and go through checkpoints? We also treat his son for cancer. Would Hamas do that for your children, Jon? Or would they try to blow them up during your Passover seder? That is, assuming you have a Passover seder.
You get it now? You understand maybe why EVERYONE with any common sense or understanding of the situation backs Israel? You understand why no one in Congress criticizes Israel's response? No Jon, it's not because you can't criticize Israel and still get elected. It's because Israel is RIGHT.
Hamas is WRONG.
Israel is RIGHT.
It's that simple. But what does it matter who's right and who's wrong...it's all about the ratings and the Oscars and moving out of cable and onto a major network. Right Jon?
You may be a funny guy, but you are most certainly NOT our ambassador.
And for God's sake Jon, it's pronounced Is-RA-el not Is-REAL.