Jon Stewart takes on Olbermann, Maddow, and Maher; also announces a new rally

Jon Stewart began Monday night’s Daily Show by congratulating Conan O’Brien on his new show… and feigned shock upon discovering that Conan is now his time-period competition. “Now I’ll never be able to watch me!” he howled.

But Stewart was just winding up. As we kinda knew he would, Stewart wasted no time in taking on the past week’s criticisms of his “Rally to Restore Sanity” leveled by Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Bill Maher.

In response to these commentators’ barbs, Stewart announced a new project: “The Rally To Determine Precisely The Percentage Of Blame To Be Doled Out To The Left And The Right For Our Problems Because We All Know The Only Thing That Matters Is that The Other Guys Are Worse Than We Are And/Or Fear.”

Be there, in D.C., Nov. 13.

UPDATE: Seriously, Stewart’s rallying point was that, in varying degrees, cable news shows are sometimes (and in the case of Glenn Beck, often) guilty of high-volume anger, fear-mongering, and near-conspiracy theorizing, all in the name of Our Side Is Righteous, Yours Isn’t.

The idea that Maher presents a more coherent argument for his views than Stewart is as laughable as — well, as one of Stewart’s better jokes, which is to say: hysterical.

Stewart and Colbert are engaged in media criticism, not political activism. That’s the “point” Maher didn’t see or hear in his attempt to decimate the rally. At this, and at knocking the wind out of his own sails, Stewart remains the champ, to continue the boxing metaphor he used on his show on Monday.

Oh, and as far as Stewart vs. Conan? Last night, it was Stewart the victor by TKO.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (148 total) Add your comment
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  • Bill

    Bill Maher really ripped Jon a new a$$hole and exposed him for what he is.

    • Stella

      What nonsense. Everything Bill Maher said was precisely was Jon and Stephen were rallying AGAINST. And it was a lot braver, rousing, and original than snide snickering.

      • thin

        Exactly right. Does Maher really think that the talking heads on the right don’t say the exact same things to their followers? “We’re the moderates here, the other guys are the ones taking this all too far!” Both sides do it, and making everything an Us versus Them war is only going to promote more fighting instead of the working together that this country needs to survive.

      • Todd

        This.

        Bill isn’t helping.

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      • BlackIrish4094

        Bill Maher is a douche anyway.

    • pablo

      You are a tool Bill.

      • KXB

        BOTH Bills are toolsheds AND prick my fingers!

    • DiMi

      Bill Maher was absolutely correct. I think John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are nice, smart, entertaining guys, but their rally really was thin on substance and based on a false premise of equal guilt. Bill Maher’s critique was completely accurate.

      • kris

        Except for the part that there IS equal guilt. I’m a liberal moderate, and I can’t stand MSNBC (and I used to like Olbermann).

      • Lisa Simpson

        While I admire what Stewart and Colbert did and the desire for a more civil discourse, Maher is right. The right keeps moving so far to the right that what were considered moderate Republican ideas a few years ago are now considered whacky liberal and socialist ideas. You can’t compromise with those who are unwilling to compromise. Yes, we need to raise the level of political discussion in this country, but both sides are not equally guilty.

      • Slovo

        Sorry, there isn’t equal guilt. Spend a few days watching Fox and a few days watching MSNBC. Fox is so beyond MSNBC in guilt that they really can’t even be compared.

      • @ Lisa

        I was at the rally and I think you missed the point. We are not a nation of talking heads. Most of us have friends that are of all stripes, liberal, conservative, Dem, Repub. We are letting the media speak for us. If you are a conservative watching Fox, you would think ALL liberals are socialists and if you watch MSNBC, you would think ALL conservatives are as crazy as Glenn Beck. The truth is somewhere in the middle and we as Americans need to find our common ground and work from there, not us vs them but just us.

      • Jack

        Slovo, just because you applaud MSNBC’s spin all day doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

      • Lisa Simpson

        @@Lisa – No I didn’t miss the point, and I think that both Stewart and Maher are correct – to a point. It would be great to meet in the middle on policy, but that’s become almost impossible to do in the current climate, and Maher is correct in pointing out that the right wing media is far more responsible for this than the left wing media is. (And yes, I have friends on both sides of the aisle, like almost everyone else.)

      • Eddie Brown

        The liberal left media (MSNBC) is not as bull headed, disrespectful, dismissive, crazy, partisan, divisive, or plain wrong as the conservative right media (FOX)?!?!? You have got to be kidding. I just listened to Maher, maddow, and Olberman without hesitation say,…We are right, They are wrong. And if You don’t see that, or agree with that, You are dumb…It’s simply Palin, Beck, and O’reilly in different clothes.

      • lori

        Lisa, I’m not so sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. I used to be like you. I just wanted “everyone to get along”. BUT, THEY and yes i mena THEY , the idiot tea baggers and right wing religious fanatics, have made ANY hope of “getting along” virtually impossible. THEY actually manufacture lies and propagate these lies though fear and the looney fringe ie: Glenn Beck, Rush, Palin, Engle, Mcdonnell on and on. So, while I adore jon Stewart, alas, Bill Maher (in his infinite wisdom) is right again! We (the liberals), don’t scream and fight NEARLY enough to be heard!

      • William Wallace

        Eddie Brown go look for Obama’s birth certificate…youre an idiot. Anyone without a high school or college diploma please DONT comment!! Youve done enought damage to this country with your voting. Let us all welcome Rand Paul!! Because if you had ANY real education or ever picked up a book other than the bible or guns and ammo, it would be fairly obvious that FIX NEWS and MSNBC are not the same. C’mon people really??? Oh and Jon Stewart needs to stop trying to be so witty and go back making funny faces. Otherwise shut up…Bill Maher keep talking the truth

      • Jeremy

        @Lisa Simpson You said “that’s become almost impossible to do in the current climate.” That is what the rally was about, to change the climate so that actual discussion can occur. The problem is that with our two party system, they have found it easier to get votes and corporate donations by demonizing the other party, then by offering solutions. Both parties are guilty of this and I don’t feel Stewart tried to say MSNBC was equal to Fox Opinionews and even said “MSNBC is playing AA ball compared to Fox” on The Daily Show while interviewing Chris Wallace last week.

    • Jeff

      At least I can rejoice in the fact that Bill Maher does not believe in God, so one day will be going to Hell, which is where this ‘unfunny’ comedian belongs.

      • Michael

        No need for that sir.

      • Edwin

        heaven and hell don’t exist except in the minds of the weak. Once you die, that’s it.. there’s no heaven, there’s no hell.. there’s only nothingness. You cease to exist and the world moves on, end of story.

      • Hannah

        Guess you’ll be neighbors, then.

      • BethB

        jeff, I have no pick with whatever solace gets you through the end of your life (the promise of heaven, paradise, whatever). The fact is, most people just can’t face their own death, or have such a suck-y life, they have to look forward to a heavenly reward to keep from killing themselves. Send me a card when you get “ther.”

      • JohJ

        But is your God so petty minded and egotistic that he’d want non-believers to spend eternity in Hell? And want his followers to rejoice in their pain? Is your God a 10 yr old bully?

    • Elizabeth

      Not surprised that the people he called out are slamming him. I bet Jon isn’t and probably knew thats was heading their way.

      The thing about all of them is they don’t like to be questioned – they have the only opinion. Don’t challenge them! Whether its a competing network, or a basic cable comedy news anchor!

      • TuneDelicious

        The point of Bill, Rachel and Keith being on air at all is that they give opinions. Whether the broadcast channels describe their performances this way or not is another story. But the fact is these are commentators, not news journalists, and should be seen as such. Thus, Jon probably doesn’t care one way or the other about Bill’s rebuttals. He knows it’s just part of their jobs.

    • NYC

      Bill is a joke!

    • Fran V

      Bill Maher used to be funny. Now he’s just nasty and in love with the sound of his own voice.

      • Ellen in NYC

        You obviously haven’t been watching Bill. He’s very funny.

      • Jolibeth

        Good to hear it looks nice on atenhor display. I use 1024×768 and I like the way it looks on my screen also. I personally love the three columns. My blog is about giving information, and links is a big part of that. An extra sidebar helps in that aspect. I think many people are hoping for Blogger to release some fresh templates!

    • yuma

      Olberman and Maddow are ripe to be made of. Their self righteous indignation and hypocrisy are so over the top, they are are perfect for lampooning. The old ‘we’re here for the poor folk’ thing….oh boy….it’s startling that people actually still buy that. You’d think Rachel and Keith were working as volunteers or something. Rachel and Keith are making bank, driving multiple nice cars, and living in affluent, white neighborhoods, while earning giant paychecks for their ‘we’re here for the poor’ shtick. It’s amazing how much money there is in that old ‘we’re here for the poor’ chestnut. Stewart is mocking their overt hypocrisy, as he should.

      • TuneDelicious

        Kindly remember that no one else is even purporting to “speak for the poor” on cable these days…so more power to Rachel or Keith for even bringing the subject up before their fat and sassy middle-class white audience. Goodness knows, most cable viewers are actively squinting their eyes to avoid any mention of what’s REALLY going on out in the world.

      • Sean

        Sooo…..you’re saying that Olberman and Maddow’s hypocrisy is A-Ok with you because at least they are pretending to care about the poor…..and noone else is pretending. You have, um, unique logic pathways, to say the least. But you you have proven my suspicion that libs are cool with hypocrisy as long as is feeds their emotions and delusions.

  • Richard Whitman

    I’m still waiting for Ken Tucker to explain how he got his ratings prediction so wrong for Walking Dead.

    Second episode down only 11%. Unheard of. Key demographic was the biggest in cable history.

    Suck it, Tucker

    • the vicster

      first of all, what does that have to do with jon stewart? second, when has ken tucker been right about anything?

      • Brian

        Oooo, ya burnt!

      • Mikos

        lmao – Brian wins best post of page one!
        Blerg.

    • caps

      Since desiovircng your blog, I’ve always envied your 3 columns. Now, I really dig the fluid more. I use 1280×800 and it fills up the space nicely.This really makes me hope that Blogger releases some 3 col templates soon!

  • Lenny

    Stewart tried to be bi-partisan. While Maher is funny, I disagree. What Stewart did was admirable.

    • Kelly

      this.

    • Lucky7

      Maher is saying is that bi-partisanship for its own sake isn’t valuable, especially now that the conservatives have proven they just aren’t interested in it. Liberals are doing all the compromising.

      • james

        lmao that is sooo funny cause your soo misguided on that fact silly liberal

      • blaaaake!

        Right, Obama was compromising when he told Republicans to get in the back of the bus.

      • Vickie

        Well at least the liberal is the one with the proper grammar.

      • Jeremy

        He never told them to get in the back of the bus. Fox managed to take Obama’s analogy and twist it into something it wasn’t. He said that the republican party crashed the car into the ditch, the democrats have been trying to push it out, and now the republican party is asking for the keys back, and that it would be a severe lack of judgment to give them the keys, but that they can ride in the car, but they need to ride in the back seat. Never once did he make reference to a bus.

      • SteveStrifeX

        @Jeremy, yes to everything. It’s funny since Jon Stewart himself had a whole segment about the “bus” comment on his show. I think blaaaake! missed that one :P

      • TuneDelicious

        Should have said, “throw the Republicans UNDER the bus” instead of the back of one!

      • Sharkfarts

        Though – as Stewart freaking ran on his show – the GoP guy, Steele or whatever did tell a rally of supporters two years ago that Nancy Pelosi would have to go to the back of the bus. But that was okay because Fox didn’t make a sad retard pie out of that joke.

  • Dean

    Is there enough content here to qualify as a post? Focus on quality, Ken, not quantity and speed. Post this in the morning as a more fleshed out piece with some Stewart clips, rather than just throwing it on the site as quickly as you can with nothing really to say.

    • Craig

      I agree with you, Dan. This is a horrible summary of the show. If this is how Ken Tucker is going to review episodes he might as well not review them at all. This article has absolutely no insight or substance.

      • Alexandra

        See, I do care for people. I think it is a cmnoumity effort, I agree. Government is NOT the cmnoumity. Neighbors, friends, family ARE cmnoumity. I don’t want someone who has all the power in the land to have even more, being able to control most anything. That’s not freedom at that point, it’s communism. I enjoy charity. Charities have REAL people who REALLY care for the cause.. the government has over-payed employees who could care less, as long as they get paid and have benefits.

    • Noelbelle

      I agree. I had to read it over to get his point, and I’d already seen both shows.

  • Alan

    While Jon Stewart is funnier and more “lovable” than Bill Maher….Bill Maher is SO MUCH more freakin right than Jon Stewart. Bill Maher is a bit of a douche, but he’s so much more right.

    • Carl

      Bill Maher can afford to be right because all he does is smirk/sneer at people. He loves to have Republican shills dominate his programs, like O’Donnell or Ann Coulter. Why he also wants to act like some partisan warrior just shows his constant need for attention.

    • Michael

      Or, they’re talking about different things. Maher’s complaint, essentially, was that the right fringe is way more crazy and way bigger than the left fringe and Stewart refused to acknowledge that. Well, that wasn’t Stewart’s point. He avoided partisanship altogether very deliberately. His point was that there was a sane majority somewhere in the middle that acts reasonably, doesn’t mind compromise, and gets ignored.

      • Linda

        Yes, but no. That has been Stewart’s stated point, but the clips at the rally clearly put Olbermann and Glenn Beck on the same playing field. Maher pointed out, rightly, that they aren’t.

        And I think Stewart knows it. I was at the Rally and I love Jon Stewart, but Fox and MSNBC are not the same. President Obama’s trip to India is indicative of that. Fox happily disseminated incorrect information (that would have taken almost nothing to verify) and made no effort to correct the record. MSNBC, as a part of the NBC news team, corrects errors all of the time.

        Stewart’s point has been that the entire political dialog needs to calm the f down, where as Maher says that Fox and the right winged blogosphere is far more guilty of screaming lies than the left.

        They are both right.

  • J

    I got the impression that the rally didn’t really have a point. People showed up with “funny” signs? The end.

    • Stella

      Um, WATCH JON STEWART’S ENDING SPEECH. THAT WAS THE POINT.

      The media’s response to the rally has been just to play it off as a fun gag that two hundred thousand Americans happened to travel days (18 hours roundtrip myself) just to play around. None of them tried to analyze how much it meant to the people (people who don’t typically go to rallies) who showed up. What a disappointment.

      • Marco

        It won’t have meant anything to the people, other than a fun trip, if they turn around and resume their lives without making any change. These are the same “independent voters” who seem to flow wherever the winds of interest take them.

      • Lisa Simpson

        I know several people who went, and they are all die-hard voting liberals.

      • Johnson

        Marco, the point wasn’t for the people who attended to change their lives. It was a chance to say I’m not a crazy/socialist/liberal or a crazy/tea partier – just someone somewhere in between who isn’t represented in the media. The rally was all about the craziness of the media in politics. I don’t understand why people keep missing the simple point.

      • Aly

        I don’t get why being independent is associated with being wishy washy. It’s not like an independent voter is going to be pro-choice one day and pro-life the next, or pro-life one day and pro-choice the next for example. Part of why we are nonpartisan is we aren’t willing to compromise on our values to squeeze into a box in which we don’t fit.

    • Lyric

      I agree. Couldv’e been clearer in its intention. Anyone that watched it on TV has to admit it seemed disjointed and the comedy bits were so overdone, it was painful. In the end, you have to have a point.

  • Silverskreen

    I love me some Jon Stewart but Maher just hit the nail on the head.
    I liked Jon’s analogy of “you go, then I’ll go” with the cars, but I don’t think his reply here holds any water. True enough, there’s always three sides to every story: Yours, theirs, and the truth. But if the right-wing commentators, tea partiers, and Fox news hadn’t gone off the deep end, Jon wouldn’t have had the damn rally to begin with.

  • Caroline

    It seems like nobody in the media really understood what the rally was about, after all.

    • Bruno

      WOW she is something else, what a fox. Haven’t seen her on TV or read any of her books, but she sure looks good to me. I’ll have to watch fox news if she is on to see if she is as smart as she looks. I enjoy watihcng a show that the women are smart.

  • Monica

    I feel like BIll Maher just disproved his own point about the liberals being not as bad as the conservatives…The rally was about being moderate, saying lets calm down a stop bashing each other. So Bill Maher, calm down and stop bashing!

    • DiMi

      He wasn’t bashing. He was critiquing. Conservatives like you just don’t know the difference.

      • John

        Irony

      • Peter

        You tell him, DiMi! Those other people are so stupid.

      • Sunny

        DiMi, you’re a fool. Critique is best left to one more skilled and accomplished. Maher can only bash. It’s what happened to his brain from not treating the syphilis.

  • B

    Did u have to post that douchebag response after that short lame ass article. Seems like someone favored the comments they’re throwing a Stewart. I’m one of those people that think all politicians are a@#$(les so the whole partisan thing is bull@#%^ to me, and Maher just seems to preaching to his little left wing choir in his audience. Stewart tried to achieve something worthwhile, and it’s not surprising he was voted most influential. If it was Maher, I’d be worried about America’s state of mind.

    • Kelli

      Achieve something worthwhile? LOL… Jon only did it to stroke his ego. Besides he isn’t going to change anything. His corporate handlers (Viacom) keep him on a short leash.

    • Agastya

      true @BloodyCape200 true.and alcohol rllaey isnt the problem. the problem is the idiots who cant control themselves.they say pot is a gateway drug yes, but thats because its illegal. one day your dealer asks you if you want to try some coke. and this is the guy who gives you weed so how can you say no? if it was legal it wouldnt be a gateway drug anymore.

  • Glenn Beckk

    I saw my reflection today and promptly wet myself.

  • jenpisces74

    I like both Maher and Stewart, bottom line – they are entertainers who get paid to do just that – entertain and say what they think (and what their writers think). If Stewart’s and Colbert’s rallies were politically motivated I am sure they would have contained more of what Maher is looking for, but they were not. The rally was entertainment. It is getting really hard to separate journalists from the entertainers.

    • Joe

      I love Jon, but his excuse — and yours — that it’s all just entertainment is now tired. He obviously was trying to make a serious point, so let’s stop using “it’s comedy” as a defense. Now, the truth is that the serious point was actually trite and idealistic. Bill makes a stronger point, as Jon does in his shows. But the rally was pretty weak. (And, by the way, not all that funny)

      • Linda

        This.

  • Skip182

    I think Bill just crystalized Jon’s point. Bill is a nutjob, but he doesn’t get it. He’s still trying to argue that his far left views are right and that the other side is wrong. Bill = Fail.

    • Ethan

      Well Maher certainly thinks his views are right, but I feel like his point is hard to dismiss. Those “nutjobs” on the left aren’t as nutty or powerful as ones on the right, and the Center keeps moving. I wonder if many people’s negative reactions on here are just a protective feeling around Jon Stewart. Bill Maher’s point is, unlike what Ken Tucker’s asserting, pretty well argued.

  • Mike N.

    Bill Maher just sat there like a moron and proved Jon Stewart’s point. “My side is right and there side is wrong” is no way to open a dialogue, especially on something that is based almost exclusively on opinion.

    • DiMi

      You missed the point of what both men were trying to assert.

      • TJ

        Um, no, he didn’t. Definitely seems like you did though.

  • Gon

    Bill has a point.
    You can’t compare sane people with right wing nutjobs and say: “The truth lies somewhere in the middle”.
    1+1 doesn’t become 3 just because some believe 1+1=4.

    • Scott

      Exactly!

    • Lisa Simpson

      I agree, Gon. Compromise can never change facts, which is what the right wants to do these days.

      • Aly

        It’s not about compromise so much as it is about not generalizing and reducing people to “left” or “right.”

        As far as saying the truth lies somewhere in the middle, that’s the other problem: oversimplification. You speak of truth is if there’s one great overarching truth. Life isn’t that simple.

        For me, the issue isn’t left vs right, it’s career politicians/big business/news media vs us, only we’re allowing them to pit us against each other to line their own pockets.

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