The blogosphere (if not the entire Internet) is abuzz with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart's brilliant appearance on Crossfire, and with good reason: he spanks host Tucker Carlson on air... hard! For those who have never heard of it, Crossfire is a political show whereas a guest is invited to sit between a Left-Wing guy (in this case, Paul Begala) and a Right-Wing guy (the afore-mentioned Tucker Carlson) while the two of them battle it out over political and social issues. The guest is trapped in the crossfire of the two hosts, hence the name of the show.
Basically, Stewart sat down and was instantly on the attack, bitch-slapping the show for "hurting America" and calling Tucker Carlson a dick. And he's right. On both counts. And that's the reason his appearance is so noteworthy, Jon Stewart actually had the balls to say what so many haven't: shows like Crossfire and Hardball are not debate shows at all, they're two-dimensional puppet shows by partisan hacks that services their respective party agendas and nothing more. Debate actually explores the issues at hand with intelligent conversation. Crossfire doesn't really explore anything at all... it's Left vs. Right tearing into each other in black and white terms for nothing more than entertainment value. Since issues can so rarely be boiled down to black and white, it's a war that nobody (including viewers) can win.
It must be pretty good to be Jon Stewart just now. As if it isn't enough that he is championing true political discourse in the media, his show recently won two Emmys for the second year in a row, and his book America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction just hit #1 on the best-seller list...
The book is a parody of the past, present, and future of politics in America and well worth a look, so be sure to check it out at your local library or go ahead buy a copy so you can treasure it for the decades to come (Barnes & Nobel had the best picture for me to steal, so here's their link). I've also noticed that the Crossfire appearance is hitting the web in video, and it's worth tracking down.