Opinions require serious takes
Whenever my friends post clips of the "The Daily Show" on Facebook, I usually keep my comments to myself. Recently though there has been a sudden influx of these video postings that have over-taken my news feed. Maybe this can be attributed to the fact that I have added too many liberals in the past few years, but nonetheless, I find more and more people publicly displaying their love and adulation for Jon Stewart. So I feel like I have no choice but to write an entire full-length opinion about my beef with him. Hopefully this will give you a different perspective on the show, or just make you angry. Either way, I always enjoy both.
"The Daily Show," which first started for the purposes of placing comedic value on politics, has slowly transformed to a completely bias left-wing television program. People either see it as a legitimate source of news, or the only source in which they receive objective information about relevant issues. As a result, this has propelled Stewart from the status of simple comedian to "brilliant commentator." Now do not get me wrong. I have no problem with "The Daily Show" being on television. I will even admit that Stewart has his moments during interviews, where he appears that he could actually pass as a real political commentator. On the other hand, people believe these few moments of legitimacy translate to the rest of the show. Consequently, it produces the same uninformed decisions about politics that shows like "The Glenn Beck Program" perpetuate.
Most people will disagree with me, but I believe Stewart is just as bad as people like Glenn Beck, if not worse. For any of you who watched the March 18th episode of "The Daily Show," Stewart made fun — as usual -— of Beck's use of the chalkboard and subsequently took a shot at his ideology, "conservative libertarianism." First, I would like to state that I am a conservative libertarian and do not believe that Beck is a fair representative of this belief. Moreover, I do not think he and Fox News should be placed in the same context of the tea party movement. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Stewart does. While simultaneously ridiculing Beck and associating his outrageous opinions with conservative actions — such as the tea party movement — he artfully makes these extreme individuals representatives of Republican or Libertarian beliefs. In effect, people who watch this show irresponsibly replicate these views on The Daily Targum opinions page. They go on with their lives thinking they are fully aware and more informed about politics, when in fact, these individuals are just as ignorant as those who swear by "The Glenn Beck Program."
I tend to have more respect for people who are completely straightforward with their opinions, whether it is Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reilly. Right from the start, audiences know exactly the agenda and motive of the commentator. When people watch Glenn Beck, they understand that he is going to call President Barack Obama a Fascist. He makes his biases absolutely clear. On the other hand, Stewart gives off an illusion of objectivism, especially to the young and impressionable viewers — usually between the ages of 18-25. So, how does he do it?
Stewart engages in a passive-aggressive approach in which he uses sarcasm to make his point, without actually making an argument. For instance, he will mercilessly attack a Fox News clip, and by the end, he will have presented nothing that stands on logic. There is no need to defend the merits of his own views, as he successfully shows the silliness of the other side. He wins because Fox News is stupid. Other times, he may win his arguments by exaggerating the superficial nature of his own position. On the March 18th show, Beck made a comment that progressivism leads to fascism. Stewart then fired back in agreement by stating, "If you are progressive, you are not naïve, or well-intentioned stupid person, you are metastasizing malignancy on America's colon." He places an extremely sarcastic slant to his own side to show why right-wingers are ridiculous to attack it in the first place. Thus, he successfully overcomes the attack on his ideology, by implicitly conveying that conservatives are just plain old ignorant to liberal beliefs. These tactics end up working so well, because the opposing side has nothing to rebut. If they respond with more sarcasm, they look like tools. If they respond seriously, they look like humorless tools. There is just no defense.
For the record, I love sarcasm. If I could not use it my articles, then I would have just opted to be a staff writer for the Targum. I only disagree with its use when it becomes the only basis for arguments. I think people, especially those who are relatively new to politics, need to understand that Stewart — and even Stephen Colbert — is just as partial as any other news source or political commentator. They are very funny comedians but should only be seen as such. All I ask is that you take these types of shows with a grain of salt. Only then will you be able to make judgments absent of the anti-Fox News and Beck rhetoric.
Brian Canares is a Rutgers College senior majoring in history and political science. His column, "Pure Rubbish," runs on alternate Tuesdays.