Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jon Stewart is a bad enemy to have

Remind me to never get on the wrong side of Jon Stewart or the staff of The Daily Show.

If you haven't been following this, basically what happened was, there was a CNBC analyst who had an outburst on the floor of the Stock Exchange about the potential bailout of some home owners because of this financial mess as part of the stimulus package, and he was supposed to sit down with Stewart to discuss matters, including that on-air outburst.

But he backed out of the interview and then the claws came out.

So every night since last Wednesday (the date that guest was to appear), The Daily Show has been just massacring CNBC in particular, and financial channels in general for not only their mistakes but for how sycophantic they were during the run up to the meltdown.

Stewart also went on Letterman to expound on the same subject.

And there is one target in particular that Stewart has been zeroing in on, it is Jim Cramer, though there have been shots at his expense on the show since the failure of Bear Sterns. Since this onslaught has be unloosed, Cramer has been trying to tell his side of the story online and on other NBC/GE owned stations, and frankly, it isn't going to well.

I think the maxim that should be followed in most cases is, if Jon Stewart and The Daily Show is coming after you, just stay down. It is like that advice you hear about avoiding a bear attack... just play dead. Because trying to fight him only gives him more to work with, and because he is a comedian rather than a policy maker or shaper.

There is a concept from a particular episode of King of the Hill which I think applies here. Cotton was trying to break Bobby at a military school to remake him into a model soldier by doing all the things that work on himself as a child at the same institution. However, despite his best efforts, Bobby just wouldn't be broken, and it was only after Hank compared him to mud that Cotton finally understood. You can't really build mud up, but at the same time, you can't really break it down either. That is what having a war of words with Jon Stewart is like.

And that was going to be the end of this entry, but as I was writing this, I decided to look at a few other MSNBC shows to see how they are reporting this, and when I was watching a clip from Countdown about this feud, the following information was disclosed which I have provided from The Daily Show's website:

As a relatively recent reborn wrestling fan, I know this play/storyline. You have the two combatants trash talk each other and set up what looks like an epic battle before they finally clash through a war of words.

I don't know how long that interview has been on the books for, or if it was something that was hastily arranged in light of these attacks, but if Cramer was scheduled for tomorrow before last Wednesday's show, well, then I am calling shenanigans on this whole thing. But if this is a new booking, well, then this should be entertaining indeed, because given Stewart's history of not backing down during a heated conversation (as his appearance on Crossfire reveals), there should be some real sparks and not a lot of slow pitch going on. And when Jon Stewart is tough on someone, it is some of the best television he does.

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