Rallies and Sanity

I spent Saturday, mid-day, watching Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity on Comedy Central’s amazingly clear live stream. I had considered heading downtown for the Restore Sanity Austin rally, but instead decided to avoid the hassles and actually watch a good quality version of the DC event.

Most of my thoughts about the Rally are mirrored by much better writers, but here’s a brief  rundown:

  1. The Roots/John Legend intro was okay, but much of the music was so down-beat… it may not have been the best the instill excitement and/or fun.
  2. The bits with the other Daily Show correspondents should’ve either been expanded, so they could do solo/team bits in the crowd… or cut completely.  The back-and-forth they tried was a bit of a train-wreck.
  3. Yusef(Cat Stevens)/Ozzy was a fun bit and a highlight.  My one, personal, complaint was I would’ve liked to hear “Peace Train” in its entirety.
  4. The Colbert “media/pundit/fear” video montage was great.  There really should’ve more of that.  If anything, their efforts to be non-political through most of the rally really hindered things.
  5. Stewart’s closing speech was near perfect.

What’s most interesting about the rally was the post-rally analysis. Obviously, people  in the media are going to push back at being criticized, like David Carr:

His barrage against the news media Saturday stemmed from the fact that, on this day, attacking the message would have been bad manners, so he stuck with the messengers.

Of course, as others have said, he really misses the point.  The “message” isn’t the issue here. All American’s hold different beliefs and different “messages”, but it’s the messenger that tries to pit these people against each other, for the sake of ratings.

Similarly, George Will on This Week misses the point:

We have two parties for a reason. We have different political sensibilities. People tend to cluster. We call them parties, and we have arguments, and that’s called politics.

He is conflating “sanity” with “not having an opinion”. Stewart was actually pretty clear that this was NOT his point.  Huffington tried to clarify, and brought up the quote from Stewart, “we can have animus and not be enemies”.  The idea is that we can have totally different beliefs, and we can fight for those beliefs… but we don’t insult those with differing beliefs or call them Hitler. Or Socialists. Or Communists. Or Nazis. Or Idiots.

Sadly, I don’t think the rally will have much effect on the 24-hour News Channels.  They have sunk deep into the “reality TV” notion that conflict = ratings.  And they’re right.  Maybe, though, the rally will have enough effect that people start turning off CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, especially for shows that encourage arguments  for argument’s sake.