Why are there no funny Republicans?

Missouri’s senior senator, Kit Bond, will be on The Daily Show Monday night, promoting his new book, The Next Front (about spread of Islam in Southeast Asia). I learned of this from a blog post by Missourinet reporter (and Fox News mole) Steve Walsh.

Steve refers to Stewart’s “disdain for conservatives” and notes the senator “will have to be on his guard” as Stewart “probably tries to poke fun” at him.

Makes you wonder why any good conservative would appear on The Daily Show. Why put yourself through that ordeal? Wait, I think I’ve got it…

Book sales. And, ultimately, money. And the opportunity to sound a clarion call to warn the pinkos who watch Stewart of the next big threat to American freedom. (Didn’t we do the Southeast Asia thing already?)

My guess is the hubris and arrogance that courses through the veins of every member of congress assures them they are more than a match for some comedy talk show host.

A final note: Why are there no (intentionally) funny Republicans? Didn’t Fox try to produce a conservative answer to The Daily Show a couple of years ago?

DirecTV iPhone app

directv-appI got out of the fitness center a little late tonight and realized I wouldn’t make it home in time to watch or record The Daily Show re-feed. Comedy Central used to re-run TDS and The Colbert Report one day later at 7:00 p.m. For some reason they moved the shows up an hour. I could watch the first run at 10 p.m. but I’m deep in REM sleep by then. And I think Barb Tivo’s the shows, so this was hardly an emergency.

But I remembered the DirecTV app on my iPhone. I got it mostly for the schedule but seemed to recall that I could set a show to record from the phone.

It was easier to make this happen on the iPhone app than it is with the remote from home. Seriously, the app UI is much easier than the on-board software that comes with the service.

Why @anamariecox wears pants to the White House

When you have almost 50,000 folks following your Twitter feed, a little guide book comes in handy. Here’s a snippet from Ana Marie Cox’s:

Amc150“I cover Washington and am somewhat obsessive about politics in general so you’ll be getting what is a basically a live feed from inside my head regarding whatever I’m doing that day: Attending a White House briefing, going up to the Senate, watching C-SPAN, trying to figure out why that small man from Alabama is so angry… (Here I am referring to Sen. Jeff Sessions, aka, “the littlest Senator,” aka “the Southern leprechaun.”) Because I also have a “blue” streak (not talking politics here) you will also get hopefully funny interpolations of wonkspeak into what I like to call “sexytalk.” See here, for examples, for what happens when congressmen start talking about how a “stimulus” requires a “big package.”

If you like your politix serious, you can skip AMC. Has she been on the Daily Show yet and why not?

Is Ana Marie Cox wearing pants?

Suppose you had a friend that was really smart and funny, and that friend got to cover and live-blog White House press briefings that you could watch “with” her (on  C-SPAN) and chat back and forth. Does that sound like something you might be interested in?

AMC-liveblog

Okay, Ana Marie Cox isn’t a friend of mine but she feels like one. I’m one of her legion of fans that go back to the Wonkette days. She now works for Air America.

I don’t know if this is journalism or not and I don’t care. In the same way I don’t care what you call The Daily Show. I call it fun and interesting.

I think of this as the MST3K effect. Even a boring press conference is fun if you’re watching it “with” fun people.

“All the news stories — first … before it’s even true.”

This New York Times story wonders if Jon Stewart is the most trusted man in America?

“When Americans were asked in a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to name the journalist they most admired, Mr. Stewart, the fake news anchor, came in at No. 4, tied with the real news anchors Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw of NBC, Dan Rather of CBS and Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Offices for “The Daily Show” occupy a sprawling loftlike space that combines the energy of a newsroom with the laid-back vibe of an Internet start-up: many staff members wear jeans and flip-flops, and two amiable dogs wander the hallways. The day begins with a morning meeting where material harvested from 15 TiVos and even more newspapers, magazines and Web sites is reviewed. That meeting, Mr. Stewart said, “would be very unpleasant for most people to watch: it’s really a gathering of curmudgeons expressing frustration and upset, and the rest of the day is spent trying to mask or repress that through whatever creative devices we can find.”

After reading the full story I took a moment to try to come up with some public figure I trust more… and coud not.

If it’s all the same to you, we’ll wait for the next war

Flagdrapedcoffiin

I was talking with a co-worker about Lara Logan’s (CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent) recent appearance on The Daily Show. She posed the question, “When was the last time you saw a dead American soldier on TV?” She was making the point that media in the U. S. has been MIA on the war in Iraq (except for that victorious march into Baghdad).

My co-worker’s take was: “The only reason to show a dead American soldier would be to turn someone against the war.”

Or maybe that war is news and death is part of the story?

Actually, I didn’t have a response. I can understand that view coming from W or Rumsfeld (back in the day). But how many citizens feel the same? How many would rather not to see the bloody reality of war on their TV screens?

By this logic, we also shouldn’t be seeing the critically wounded at Walter Reed. Or can we translate missing limbs to a “don’t-let-their-sacrifices-be-in-vain” message?

So I’m asking myself why we saw more dead troops during the Viet Nam war, and it came to me. We had lots of reporters on the front lines in that war. But not so many on the mean streets of Baghdad.

In the old days, you could make a career filing reports from the front lines. Sure, you could shot, but you weren’t likely to wind up the star of a YouTube beheading video.

Naw, American journalism took a pass on this war. Better to let the Brits cover this one.

Daily Show “documentary” about Fox News

The Daily Show’s John Oliver put together a stunning smackdown of Fox News on last night’s show [Part 1, Part 2]. Fox News is a problem for me. I have some friends who genuinely believe Fox is really "fair and balanced."

I can understand their blind allegiance to Bush… in the same way I understood the mass suicide at Jonestown or members of the Heaven’s Gate cult cutting off their testicles and offing themselves in order to leave their bodily "containers" and enter an alien spacecraft hidden behind Comet Hale-Bopp.

But really buying the shit Fox News broadcasts requires a scary kind of intellectual hysterical blindness. So, I find myself talking to them in carefully measured phrases, designed to keep us on safe ground. Because if we stray into current events and they source Fox to support some idiot neocon idea, I can keep my tongue, but they’re liable to see the pity in my eyes. And I need every friend I can find… even the misinformed.

The Daily Show, Colbert Report return sans writers

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, will return to their television shows on January 7 but will have to improvise their monologues and interviews without the help of their writing staffs.

In a statement, the two hosts said they would prefer to return to work with their writers. “If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence,” they stated.

Photo Booth not quite ready for prime time

One of the new features (toys) in Leopard I’ve been most excited about is the addition of green screening in iChat and Photo Booth. This is the effect they use on The Daily Show (and the evening news) to make it look like the reporter is standing in front of the White House or the Supreme Court.

Mr. Jobs left me with the impression that I could put a still image or video behind me and have hours of fun. You can see the result above. I think I could get the lighting and the green screen working but the sound is off for some reason. One hopes this is fixed in a future update.

“How did the mainstream press get it so wrong?”

Bill Moyers'That’s the question Bill Moyers attempts to answer in “Buying the War” (Bill Moyer’s Journal on PBS). A damning indictment of the coverage of the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Tim Russert looked silly and Dan Rather was pathetic. I kept flashing on the old pre-WWII Nazi propaganda footage.

I always thought a good, strong, free press would be our last line of defense against the crooks and thieves we keep electing. (“Gooks in the wire!”)

After watching Buying the War on Tivo, we watched Moyer’s Conversation with Jon Stewart. An insightful look at The Daily Show. What it is and what it is not.

Following that, Moyers did a great segment with Josh Marshall, the political blogger from talkingpointsmemo.com. Blogging for Truth looked at Marshall’s perspective on the role of politics in the recent firings of federal prosecutors.

Watching these back-to-back was interesting. And somewhat reassuring (if you watch them in the right order). You’ll find video and transcripts on the PBS website. Good stuff.