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Jon Stewart is being heavily marketed by the rightist corporate media as a "liberal" or a "moderate," but I stopped watching him over the past two years when it became clear that he was putting a more reasonable sounding patina on the same agenda as extremists like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Fred Phelps, and Rush Limbaugh. The last straw was when he did a couple of rantings filled with misogynistic, heterosexist, and pro rape jokes defending the notoriously bigoted rightist, Scott Brown.

However, Stewart keeps getting more smarmy, bigoted, and rightist in his goals. His alleged "Rally to Restore Sanity," is an extreme example of his efforts to market right fringe ideology to moderates and liberals. Much has been made of Stewart's efforts to fictionalize false equivalencies between perfectly reasonable behavior of progressives and liberals and the dishonest, bigoted, and fanatical rantings of the far right. One example of this is when Stewart tries to pretend that CODEPINK is insane and even plausibly comparable to the teabaggers.

This obviously reflects Stewart's pro war agenda and his previously demonstrated hatred of women. CODEPINK is a perfectly sensible organization whose behavior is entirely consistent with reason and actual facts, though it strongly contradicts the desires of Jon Stewart's bosses in corporate America.

However, his claim that stating the fact that Bush is a war criminal is somehow insane goes even further, stretching into Rush Limbaugh or Carl Paladino territory. Let's look at what Bush's regime did with the Iraq War.

1) The Iraq War was a war of aggression, which is a war crime under international law.

2) The Bush regime's policy of routine torture of prisoners is a war crime under international law.

3) The Iraq War was an act of racist and anti Islamic genocide which killed over 1.3 million people, a horrific war crime.

Keep in mind that these international laws that Bush broke were written by the US to prosecute Nazi war criminals after the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II. This wasn't something foreign or alien imposed on the United States.

You might try to use ignorance as a defense for Stewart. For the war of aggression, that might work. Most Americans don't know that wars of aggressions are war crimes, and Stewart isn't exactly the most well informed person on TV, much less in the real world. The second war crime of mass torture is more difficult to defend. Stewart may be a dumb comic, but is he really that stupid and ignorant? However, Stewart cannot be defended on the grounds that he doesn't know that genocide is a war crime.

Ever Jewish person learns at some point in life that genocide is a war crime. Everyone else should too.

Why does Stewart think that stating the fact that Bush is a war criminal is "insane"? It has to do with Stewart's own racial and religious prejudices. Like so many on the far right, Stewart doesn't see Muslims as humans, nor does he see any person who isn't white as human. Keep in mind that he is loudly proclaiming this himself when he says that it is "insane" to acknowledge the fact that Bush is a war criminal.

Stewart's decision to go rabidly bigoted and pro war didn't occur in the absence of the context of corporate power. All the cable news networks, the old school news shows, and entertainment networks like Stewarts' Comedy Central have gone on a spasm of rightist hatred and bigotry every since Barack Obama has been inaugurated. Part of it is due to network executives and advertisers reasserting their extreme right agendas over what the own or pay for.

However, Stewart's scapegoating of oppressed groups and cynical efforts to attack and divide the left also reflect a strategy of corporate America and its propagandists to deflect attention from how the banksters, the brokesters, the speculators, and the CEOs are ripping the rest of us off while we all suffer. At the same time that the scapegoating goes on, the corporate propaganda networks heavily censor liberal or progressive alternatives to the crap we are getting from politicians and pundits.

Jon Stewart is gleefully leading efforts to equate thoughtful and factual analysis with the far right's incendiary lies. This is an intimidation tactic against liberals and progressives, and I'm not falling for it.

 

5 comments

  1. JayV Says:
  2. Good post, thanks. I've shared it on Facebook and await strong reactions to it!

    Apart from links to the Daily Show that friends send me, I don't go out of my way to watch Jon Stewart. Indeed, he's only allowed to go so far; if he were to cross the line (which he won't), his corporate cable network and sponsors would yank him.

    What's troubling is that a lot of young people get their "news" from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

     
  3. libhom Says:
  4. Thanks for the comment and reposting.

    I just checked your blogger profile, and you are one of the people working on a blog against Instant Recall Voting. I always thought that IRV would end up screwing over third parties. When I actually have done IRV ballots for political clubs or for other organizations, I'm never willing to vote for the candidates that I don't like anyway. I will have to look at that blog and give it more thought.

     
  5. Mauigirl Says:
  6. Catching up here - Libhom, saw your comment on my post about Jon Stewart and had also seen your headline over here and didn't have time to respond until now. I have to disagree with your contention that Jon Stewart is racist and bigoted. While, as a liberal, I too feel that the actions of liberals are not heinous the way those of the right are, I do think they do occasionally go over the top just as the right does, particularly Keith Olbermann. That rant about Scott Brown, however justified, was, let's face it, one of his over-the-top moments. Jon Stewart just called him on the over-the-topness, IMHO, not that he was supporting Scott Brown. Of course this happened awhile ago and I haven't had a chance to re-watch the whole Stewart clip, but that is what I remember. I think Stewart's main purpose is to call out people on either side of the fence - and to get some laughs while doing it. It is harder to do when the left is in charge, but he is doing his best to keep going. It was a much easier thing to do when Bush was in charge. Maybe in some cases he goes too far bending over backwards to make it look as if he criticizes both sides. But I have never felt he is racist or bigoted. Since I am going to this rally in DC, I'll definitely report on what was said there and how I feel about it. I will keep in mind your thoughts about Stewart and see if I notice these traits that you point out, at the rally. I still feel he and Colbert point out a lot of things that are going on that you never see in mainstream news.

     
  7. libhom Says:
  8. Mauigirl: I would have to strongly disagree with what you are saying. It is difficult to see any reason why KO's comments were "over the top" as Stewart claimed. Everything that was said about Brown was entirely fair, completely accurate, and perfectly legitimate. What particularly offended me about that particular ranting by Stewart was that he ridiculed criticizing someone for being truly vicious in their misogyny and heterosexism.

    As for racism, Stewart's claim that it is "insanity" to state the fact that Bush is a war criminal, for someone to think such a thing means that the speaker thinks it is perfectly OK to commit genocide and mass torture against people as long as they aren't white. All denials of the fact that Bush is a war criminal are inherently racist.

    When I did watch Stewart, I never personally learned anything in the news that I hadn't already heard or read. But, I listen to Democracy Now, read Alternet and CommonDreams.org, and go to a wide spectrum of liberal and left blogs. Because I compare the Daily Show to those news sources, I can see how heavily censored it is.

     
  9. Mauigirl Says:
  10. Libhom, I agree, I'm sure Stewart is censored. He can't just say anything he wants, for sure. I too follow the liberal blogs and Common Dreams, etc., so I get info from around the spectrum of politics. I understand your point and we are both on the same side. I am just more apt to cut Stewart a break because he is, as he himself proclaims, a comedian, not a politician. I'll be interested to see what he does at this rally.

     

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