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The Daily Show's first 100 days under Obama

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 6th 2009 12:03PM
Barack Obama and Jon Stewart on The Daily ShowWhen Jon Stewart announced before a studio full of deafening cheers and Stephen Colbert's deafening silence that Barack Obama would become the 44th President of the United States, the show seemed to be in an interesting pickle.

Could the show be just as funny as it had been under an administration that didn't blur the line between setups and punchlines? Could Stewart and friends find the funny in a president who inspires more love and fear in people than a teddy bear with a switchblade?

So let's grade The Daily Show's first 100 days under socialism President Obama report card.

The show started taking pot shots at some of its most deserving targets: media. Stewart and The Daily Show excel as a smarmy media watchdog, calling the press, particularly the cable news empires, on everything from over-simplifying complex issues to letting public relations and photo-ops run their assignments desks. Here, Stewart jabs a sharp spork in CNN's dull eye for covering the Obamas' move to D.C. with the fervent rabid excitement of a paparazzi photographer discovering Lindsey Lohan at Lilith Faire.

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Of course, no montage of media cynicism is complete without a few post-emptive strikes from the CNN of the Bizarro World, that is Fox News. Fox's merry band of hope succubi exhibited the kind of rampant fear that would make most paranoid speed freaks tell them to "calm the #*$& down." The Daily Show took just about everyone on the Rupert Murdoch network to task for attempting to spread "fearonayse" (from the makers of "oranage marmalaise") on everyone else's "hope sandwich".

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But what about the big man in the cushy Oval Office chair? Would The Daily Show get in a few jabs against their new Commander-in-Chief even though he had shared a chair in their studio on more than one occasion? Of course, he's the President. Anyone who thinks The Daily Show has a liberal bias or operates as a tool of the underground blue-state movement doesn't really watch the show at all. They take all authority to task for their actions, phoniness and pompousness, and they may not get everyone who has it coming in a 30 minute span, but those who do get a face full of fingers every time the show takes a swing at them.

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Stewart put himself even deeper into the spotlight by taking on some of the more egregious issues with his own stances during the show's interview segments. His calm anger over issues such as Wall Street's indifference to the lower classes and the CIA's use of torture in interrogations pushed him over the edge and consequently his show into less funnier territory.

They were a welcome diversion from the usual blurred news filter that doesn't take the time to fully flesh out important stories before they are fully digested. But in the case of the debate with CNBC's Jim Cramer, who went right back to his financial sideshow sound effects and all, it didn't seem to accomplish much more than make Cramer look like he was sitting on a bicycle with no seat for 30 straight minutes. The show really shined when they took on the entire cycle of crystal ball gazing and exposed the consequences of their carelessness and self-centeredness.

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However, Stewart is just one cog in the show's complex machinery, and even if some interviews become debates, he and his guests are well-read and educated enough to have an intelligent conversation that doesn't turn into a screaming match. Yes, certain stories and episodes will illicit a certain raw anger that in these days of want and worry can turn white hot with rage, but those are rare. Humor always comes first, and it has shined this year both in scope and substance.

The Daily Show always is and will be a comedy show, and any attempts to find bias or unfair coverage is futile. So button up, sit down and watch the show. Frankly, you could use the laughs.

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Ellen

In the penultimate paragraph, you say "illicit" when you mean "elicit." Or do you mean to use "illicit" as a play on words, Danny? Very funny!

May 13 2009 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

smg77: he hates America because he's a Christian. If he really loved America, he would not only quit whining about paying taxes and protesting tax day, but he'd WANT to pay taxes to fund the greatest country in the world, and tax day would be his favorite day of the year. He'd celebrate tax day, the day he personally gets to contribute to the land of freedom and democracy.

But no, he doesn't want to pay any taxes, and he wants this to be a Christian-only country where the Christians can torture people without people bitching at them. After all, what's more Christian than torture? WWJD? He'd torture the crap out of people he didn't like. You know... revenge for that whole crucifixion thing. It's not like Mr. Christ would ever FORGIVE anyone or have mercy. Meanwhile there are tax cheats who need to be protected... if they can't avoid payment of taxes by putting their corporate headquarters in a P.O. Box in the Bahamas, that would be an unfair raise in taxation without representation. And there's just not enough time for tea parties when there's torture to be done.

It's okay for them to hate America, because they say they love Jesus Christ. As long as you say you love Jesus you can do whatever the hell you want. Jesus loves tax fraud torture-traitors. The Bible says so so it must be true. Have faith.

May 06 2009 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
C.A.

Hey bruce, chill out man. If you "use common sense, rationally think about things" you'll see that hunter1riley never even said he was a conservative, a republican or anything else. He didn't say he hated The Daily Show or Jon Stewart. The closest he came to anything was asking how much effort Stewart would put forth in going after Obama next slip up.

In your next reply you have him as a America-hating Christian who is whining about taxes?!? Try cooling down and taking some of your own advice. Use some common sense.

I think it's fine if you feel one way or another, but for your own health, ease up on the rage or you might burst a blood vessel or something.

May 07 2009 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hunter1riley

You people are hilarious.
"Anybody who actually voted for Bush twice hates America"
"Anyone the voted for BUSH for 2 consecutive terms should be ashamed. Thank you for ruining our planet"

Love the immaturity. It's almost worthy of content for Stewart's show.

Of course Stewart is a liberal. Of course the show is biased to the left. But I'm guessing the average viewer wouldn't take the time to recognize that. However, as liberal as Stewart and his writers may be, he is far more interested in entertaining. The difference is the elite media will present more material for him to use during a GOP administration than during the Obama administration. Obama is far to big to fail. They cannot cast him in a bad light, as it were. Stewart will have to work much harder to obtain content to make fun of Obama. I wonder how much effort he will exert.

May 06 2009 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to hunter1riley's comment
bruce

Stewart is an intelligent person. Liberal and conservative do not mean what they used to 20 years ago. "Liberal" means you're willing to use common sense, rationally think about things, and consider cause and effect. "Conservative" means you want to pay less taxes, you want to force your Christian beliefs on the rest of America, and you object to the "reality based community" because your positions cannot be supported by actual facts.

I voted for Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Dubya for his first term. By the time his first term was up, it was clear that he was not a real Goldwater conservative, and he was on the path to being the worst president this country has ever had. Unfortunately I was right. It will take decades to undo the damage Bush caused to America. Frankly, I don't think it will be able to be repaired.

Barry Goldwater is one of my heroes. Goldwater is further to the "left" than Obama on every position. Today's Democrat party is far closer to Goldwater conservatives than today's Republican-Christian party is. Of course, most people are blind followers and will support the party based on the name, rather than what the party actually stands for. I was smart enough to realize the GOP turned into a fascist christian cult which stood for NONE of the principles that caused me to support the GOP in previous years. While I don't agree with the Democrats on everything (i.e. gun control - I completely support the right to own firearms), I no longer agree with the GOP (now the Republican-Christian party) on anything (except gun control, I suppose, though they don't even talk about that anymore).

Think. Use your brain. No rational intelligent person can support the Republican-Christian party. If you support the principles once espoused by Barry Goldwater, that's great. But you have no reason to support today's GOP. If Goldwater were alive today, he'd be ashamed at what the GOP has become. Tax cheats and torturers.

May 06 2009 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CM

So I can assume that you voted for Bush twice. Why do you hate America so much?

May 06 2009 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Craig

You only had to watch the show the day after that plane buzzed New York to know that Stewart will bash whatever is in front of him. No doubt, he is a liberal Democrat, but like another poster said, he's not a Limbaugh or Hannity who will blindly follow his party.

May 06 2009 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zachary

New correspondent debut last night!

May 06 2009 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
saint libido

Anyone the voted for BUSH for 2 consecutive terms should be ashamed. Thank you for ruining our planet!!!
There is no man I detest more. Sheer stupidity. I thought I would never say this but "I hate BUSH".

I thank Jon and the Daily Show team for making me laugh through all the terrible times. And showing the RIGHT for what they are 'total loonies'.

Can you say 'Cuckcoo'??

May 06 2009 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to saint libido's comment
CM

You're right. Anybody who actually voted for Bush twice hates America. It really is that simple.

May 06 2009 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric

"Anyone who thinks The Daily Show has a liberal bias or operates as a tool of the underground blue-state movement doesn't really watch the show at all. "

Danny, are you sure YOU have watched the show at all? Seriously, if you can honestly sit there and think that Stewart isn't unabashedly biased, then you too have drank too much Kool-aid.

Before you attack me for being a right-wing nut-job, I am a solid Independent. Unlike the rest of the Right/Left lemmings, I actually research the issues to form my political opinions, not some political party's agenda.

May 06 2009 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Eric's comment

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