Fairness And Balance

« November 2010 »


Rhetorical question, of course. Because I strive for fairness and balance in all things, it makes sense that I follow up Friday's pre-rally column criticizing some of the motives behind this weekend's rally with a post-rally column on Monday mocking the ever-loving shit out of the psychotic douchebags at Big Hollywood for whom this rally has been like a Kryptonite turd in Superman's punchbowl ever since it was announced.

The pre-rally tone of the coverage basically boiled down to "How dare he make fun of Glenn Beck! Why won't he admit he's making fun of Glenn Beck? When you make fun of Glenn Beck, you make fun of mainstream America! How dare he make fun of mainstream America! Well, apparently mainstream America can't draw as many people as the leftist fringe, so you're probably very busy miscounting and finding ways to rationalize certain numbers you thought were very important a couple of months ago.

I mean, just look at the "suggested topics of discussion" that kicked off their live-blog:

"1. Was Jon Stewart telling the truth when he told the news media 'Restore Sanity and/or Fear' wasn’t a response to Glenn Beck’s wildly successful and apolitical “Restore Honor” event?"

It's amazing how the two words "and apolitical" transform a sentence from mere ignorant ravings into automatic self-parody.

"2. Why is Sheryl Crow a star?" - I don't know why, but I identify her as a star the same way Big Hollywood does - by the fact that she's too famous to write for Big Hollywood.

"3. How many parents are using the rally as a rare opportunity to air out the basement where their slacker/loser thirty-something child dwells?"

Maybe you should have used the rally as a rare opportunity to come up with a new stereotype for Stewart/Colbert viewers. I mean, I appreciate you updating it to "thirty-something" after you've been using it for a decade, but Stewart comes up with new material every night - the least you could do is come up with one new bit?

4. Are the guys in raincoats from Media Matters?"

You're a Republican, and you're gonna make jokes about dudes in raincoats in DC? I think we all know the list of names that makes THAT joke backfire by heart now.

"5. Isn’t it marvelous to see all this left-wing energy being spent here as opposed to, say, getting out the vote?"

Yes, please, have it both ways. I know you Big Hollywood types like it like that. It's simultaneously a massive left-wing pro-Democrat love-fest AND a complete waste of left-wing energy days before the 2010 elections. I have no illusions about what will happen on Tuesday, but Saturday's rally isn't going to hurt.

Anyway, it was up to occasional comic writer and excellent example of delusional psychosis James Hudnall to kick off the coverage, and Hudnall left no glaringly obvious stone unturned. The title referenced shark-jumping, the second sentence mentioned "pasty-faced hipsters" and simultaneously expressed latent butthurt at the overwhelming and consistent whiteness of the Tea Party movement.

Then, of course, he played the numbers game.

"How many people showed up? Hard to tell from the crowd shots because they wouldn’t allow filming except from approved camera people (how Soviet!). But this says it all. Comedy Central’s park permit puts the crowd estimate at 60,000. (emphasis his). Beck’s 'Restoring Honor' Rally, that this was supposed to be an answer to, drew in over 200,000 people."

That is fucking genius. Take the permit, which Comedy Central used to guess how many people might attend, and compare it to one of the random numbers between 87,000 (CBS) and 1.6 million (Bachmann!). Because if you don't use the permit, the lowest of lowball numbers you can use is 150,000 (Mythbusters, at the very start). And even that number is too high for Hudnall's purposes, so he cheats, knowing his audience will buy it.

Hudnall eventually gets to the one point the hardcore Right has been hitting on ever since they caught a glimpse of a beard on the stage. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"And to show how inclusive they were, they had Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) singing Peace Train. The guy who supported the fatwa (Death Sentance) on Salman Rushdie. I guess he was there to appease the Muslims who want to blow up Comedy Central for daring to pretend to show Mohammad by not showing Mohammed."

The right's obsession with the former Stevens has now officially supplanted their obsession with Jane Fonda as their funniest-ever celebrity obsession. I mean, even assuming he was guilty of the worst possible interpretation of his quotes, it's been over 20 years, Salman Rushdie is alive and happy, and it's not like the guy called the fatwa, he was just asked by a reporter to comment on it. But it's all they have for an "A Ha, Radical Left" moment - one guy brought in as the first part of a three-part joke based around songs with the word "Train" in the title.

John Nolte picked up where Hudnall left off, mentioning Yusuf right out of the gate, before going into what I can only describe as the Bizarro version of Friday's column. Where I argued that Stewart's strange centrism was misplaced because sometimes, you've got to shout down crazy people, Nolte seems to think that Fox is on one fringe, MSNBC on the exact opposite fringe, and that's the way it ought to be.

"The fight going on in the media, the one that so offends Stewart’s sensibilities, is happening because finally! the healthy flag of open partisanship is being planted where once the dishonest but oh-so sober and thoughtful flag once few — the same flag that allowed an Uncle Walter to help lose a war and condemn millions to slavery and death with what I’m sure would be the Jon Stewart-approved tone of declaring Vietnam lost."

Let me get this straight. Nolte is saying that if we'd had the honest, hyper-partisan media of today, as represented on the far right by Fox and the far left by MSNBC, Walter Cronkite wouldn't have been able to single-handedly lose the Vietnam War (I thought Jane Fonda did that?) by reporting how badly it was going, because someone else would have reported that everything was awesome and the Pentagon was telling the complete truth. And that Jon Stewart's a bad person for wanting to go back to a time where old journalists made America lose wars.

I'll give Big Hollywood this. They are committed to proving, every single day, that a Rally To Restore Sanity is doomed to failure.