My Freebie Five List and the coverage of the President’s speech in Tucson, AZ

As many who know me are aware of, I am an absolute die-hard Jon Stewart fan. I’ve watched The Daily Show for years, I frequently recount jokes from the show with the same glee as when I first watched it, assuming those listening will find it as funny as I do…and I’ve said several times that I would have Jon Stewart’s babies, if he asked.

So far, he hasn’t but I and many other American women wait with bated breath.

Last night on the show, Stewart lampooned the criticism that some of the press (do I even have to name the news station that started it?) leveled at the President, his speech, the audience and even the timing of said speech in Tucson, Arizona. The criticism appears to me to be nitpicking about everything from the seating arrangements of the heroes of the day to the “most peculiar” opening prayer given by Native American Carlos Gonzalez.

By the way, the term ‘most peculiar’ that was used to describe the prayer was said by Fox News analyst Brit Hume. If you watch the clip, he sounds like a patronizing  asshat who is prepared to tolerate the quirks of a different culture while clearly making it known that he considers it an abnormality. Full Disclosure: I already think Brit Hume IS a patronizing asshat. But I digress…

Back to the analysis of the analysis.

Stewart brought up an excellent point, which is that the memorial in Tucson was a service of mourning, not the Emmy Awards. Criticizing the President for ‘capitalizing on the moment’ is tacky. He was there and gave a great speech. He didn’t politicize it- but Fox News sure as hell did. Glenn Beck mentioned that he should have done it sooner…”but better late than never.” Michelle Malkin seemed to think the timing was bad…as though the President should have rushed there straight afterwards to give a speech, leaving the Tucson community no time to catch it’s collective breath and begin to process what happened….yea, cause Fox News would have had nothing to say about the President if he’d gone to Arizona on Sunday, a day after the tragedy. That wouldn’t have been criticized as well for being an attempt to ‘capitalize on the event.’ Additionally, the idea of the media trying to tell people how grief should look is (and I agree with Stewart on this) tacky as hell. Period. I challenge anyone on the right or left to tell me that they honestly believe that anyone can tell another person the form and flavor that their grief should take, or how it should manifest.

I outline all of this in order to reach this point….the best commentary on this came, not from Jon Stewart (although it was awesome and I applaud him for saying what needs to be said), but from a post in the show’s comment section for the episode. Someone had this to say about the criticism from the Right and why it matters:

The initial story reflecting on the reviews on the The President’s speech is significant. It is the evidence of fear in the hearts of those that want to diminish all that represents hope and charity in our country and this world. Nothing is off limits to them and they need to be revealed to all as the frauds they are, the purveyours of fear, and their selfish agendas. This country’s future,our way forward does not exist at the ends of any spectrum. It is found in the common ground we share, of our beliefs, our ideologies, and our dreams for the legacy of our democracy. While some rely on fear mongering and devisiveness others seek peace and unity. Count me as one of the latter. All over this country and all over this world men and women have died supporting our democracy and what America stands for. Do not let that legacy be hijacked by those with motives that diminish all of us. And these people that give their lives serve us, not only in the military, but equally as civilian patriots in the jobs they do every day. I’ve watched the military use the honorable deaths of their personnel to legitimize and sanction their failed wars. Do not think for a minute that of the 4000 +/- civilians that die each year, on the job, have not paid just as high a price for freedom as someone in the military does. You cannot, absolutely cannot, have a military without the honorable men and women that go to work each day, pay taxes, and live as civilians. Ennobling and elevating those that serve, in the military, above their countrymen is propaganda that benefits an agenda that feeds the military industrial complex and that is not good for anyone. Because it is all part of the agenda of fear and selfishness.

I think this assessment is absolutely spot on. It is naming something by it’s proper name. Calling it what it is. Fear-mongering and agenda-pushing.

Those who profit from a society that is constantly afraid and whom you have convinced that you are the savior for them from their fears will seek to promote their agenda at every opportunity, no matter how inappropriate. I see this on the Left and the Right, but right now the Right in this country is ridiculous in it’s continued assertion that the country is going to hell as long as they’re not in charge, and that anything they disagree with is against the Constitution. Both sides do it, but the Right does it better. And that’s not a compliment.

So I wanted to post that comment in connection with the Daily Show from last night and with my take on the entire subject. It’s eating me up to see this happening, to see the level of rhetoric drop so low. I hope that as long as there is a Glenn Beck on the air, there will be a Jon Stewart to call him out on his shit.



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