Why Jon Stewart Should Pick Himself Up from the Dirt

While passing time at work, I happened upon one of Ezra Klein's copious blog posts of the day for The Washington Post in which he lambasts Jon Stewart's extremely lackluster interview of former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo. Klein made some valid points about how Stewart could have done much better than he did yesterday but I felt he got a little too critical of Stewart's overall interview style. So, here's my critique on his critique.


I understand what Serwer and Klein are saying here. Stewart didn't do his homework yesterday, true. But I can't agree with Klein's claim that Stewart is now doing a disservice by continuing interviews of this ilk.

1) You're not likely to see interviews with the individuals Stewart or even Colbert get on their shows on most networks. These kinds of important but not often remembered people do need limelight for folks to understand their importance. I don't always catch Olbermann or Maddow

2) One bad interview should not entirely color how one should view future Stewart interviews. The Daily Show is probably still the most difficult interview on television today. Had Tim Russert not died, it would be #2. Stewart is, as Brian Williams noted today on NPR, a very agile mind. He is interested in finding the truth, especially in government and news media. He is able to balance the seriousness of the issues with impeccable snark that keeps his interview subjects ill at ease. He is also typically persistent in his questioning and will hold his subjects to task. Keeping toe to toe with Stewart is a remarkably difficult task. One must give John Yoo credit for doing remarkably well on it while Stewart was clearly having an off day.

3) It has been noted in the past that while Jon Stewart has a very clear agenda, Republicans have praised the show for still being a rather congenial forum when they have the chance to be on the show. It's why Gov. Mike Huckabee appears on the show so frequently. Stewart dallies in punditry but he truly does cherish the exchange of honest ideas. That is the essence of his show and it must continue.

Jon Stewart didn't adequately prepare for a rather important guest. It's a shame but it does in fact happen. Like a college student who didn't study for a big test, sometimes you fail. That doesn't mean you drop out of college, not retake the course, or change majors.


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