Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Forsaking the profession: Overall, I like the folks at the Daily Show, but they (specifically John Stewart) have struggled with the war and the election. Stewart’s increasingly apparent partisanship comes at the expense of his comedy. Satire should poke at the truth beneath the surface, not just at the surface itself. An example was his coverage regarding the recent stepping down of James McGreevey. Despite news of corruption and a pending harassment suit on McGreevey, Stewart chose to imply that the governor was forced to resign simply for being gay. The whole thing went over Stewart’s head.

When it comes to the evil right, Stewart and his audience are easily fooled. Friday featured Clinton who made two disingenuous charges regarding the Swiftboat Veterens for Truth. First was that it was the same group that led a smear campaign on McCain. Second, that there was some criticism of the charges on the recent commercial and that “some” had been recounted.

The “group” Clinton referred to is a Houston homebuilder that donated $100,000 to the Swiftboat Vets for Truth. The homebuilder is also generous donator to the GOP and has given money to the Bush campaign. The group did not exist in 2000. In fact, the leader, John O’neill, has been politically dormant since criticizing Kerry in the early 70’s (the Dick Cavett Show featuring a 1971 debate between O’neill and Kerry is a must see). So their funding is primarily republican. Duh. No matter how bipartisan the Swifties are, what Kerry supporters would give them money? Indeed, there seems to be quite a bit of reticence on behalf of the mainstream media in covering/scrutinizing the charges.

As for the recounted charge: one of Kerry’s commanders, Lieutenant Commander George Elliott, expressed regret that he signed an affidavit indicating that he believed Kerry was dishonest about his war record. Why did he regret it? Because, based on the ad, it appeared that his conclusion came from firsthand knowledge. The Elliott still holds the belief that Kerry was being dishonest, but this belief is based on what he learned from others. He also felt that the Boston Globe story misrepresented him.

But Stewart and his audience swallowed Clinton’s claims hook, line and sinker. That’s nothing new, Clinton is good at getting people to swallow.

Previously, Stewart ridiculed the vets because they did not serve on the same boat as Kerry – equating that to simply being in Vietnam at the same time. That too was disingenuous. There’s so much comedy gold in Kerry’s imaginary escapades into Cambodia – Stewart needs to wake up and start being a comedian again.


Steve said...

I watched the rerun of the McGreevy bit yesterday... and I don't think that they were making any implications at all... if anything they were simply satrizing the coverage of the issue in the mainstream media. CNN was all over the "gay angle", hardly any mention there of the corruption investigation. So it would seem to me that they were fulfilling the purposes of satire - taking something from daily life and blowing it ridiculously out of proportion to point out some inherent flaw therein.

As far as the CLinton interview, didn't get a chance to see it, so I can't comment on that. But, IMHO - lying about a blowjob in the oval office (granted while under oath) is a much more minor infraction than lying to the american people about the reasons for going to war.

RE: Swiftboat Veterans For Truth and the veracity of their claims... www.truthout.org has just linked to an article that shows military records contradict Larry Thurlow's (one of SVFT's central figures) sworn affidavits regarding the battle where Kerry was awarded the bronze star.

Also - Mediamatters.org has shown extensivly how Jon O'Neill has been ANYTHING BUT "politically dormant" since the 70's.

And since the repubs are getting so uppity about Kerry's war record - why doesn't Bush finally suck it up and throw his up on the plank against Kerry?

Be the Bigger Man Bush - show us your FLight REcords and Employment Data.

Jeffrey Hill said...

Clarification: I noticed that the Daily Show did a second story on McGreevey where they did mention the corruption. The one I wrote about aired on the same day as the story broke & made no mention of corruption or the harrassment charge, or NJ homeland security - though all that information was already out there. I'll give Stewart credit for addressing it again.

As for the swifties - there's confusion about whether or not there was enemy fire at the time - but I don't think it's settled one way or another. What is clear, is that Kerry was not Nixon's forsaken soldier in Cambodia during Christmas eve 1968.

Lastly, how many records does Bush have to release to prove that he did not go AWOL? The reason the swiftboat issue matters is that it is the sacred core of Kerry's campaign. Bush would be a fool to get involved in any Vietnam charges, but the veterans have a right to.

Incidentally, since Unfit For Command appears to be #3 on the NY Times Bestseller list, do you thing the Times will thinks it time to cover the story?

Jeffrey Hill said...

Correction: Steve was correct. I was sloppy using the phrase "politically dormant" since O'neill has made severl monetary contributions. I should've said that he hasn't actively campaigned against Kerry since the seventies.