More on That John Gibson Moron
I see that, while I was out of town, Jon Stewart made a passing reference to John Gibson's nasty remarks about the quality of his grief in the aftermath of September 11th. Gibson, anxious for any attention he can get whatsoever, desperately tried to turn this reference into something larger than it was-- I suppose when your entire shtick is right-wing talking points embedded in "wacky morning guy sound effect jokes" (BOING!), if a talented person is willing to hand you a scrap, you'll take it.
Anyway, here's what Stewart said during a conversation with guest Stephen Hayes about political discourse and questions of patriotism:
"You know, I myself had some idiot from Fox... playing the tape of me after September 11th, very upset. And them calling me a phony because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence."
That's it. It was a short reference to Gibson's callous downplaying of the September 11th tragedy, and he didn't even identify him by name. So, naturally, Gibson has to completely fly off the handle, all the while claiming that he's just being iconoclastic and a "trouble maker." I've written before about the way the fanatical right has tried to appropriate the language of rebellion in order to make themselves look anti-establishment, and there's probably enough material there for an entire book (or at least its own blog post), but let me just reiterate, for those joining us late-- you can either be a rebel, or you can be a conservative. Conservative ideology is inherently not rebellious.
The best part about Gibson's response to Stewart's non-response is the fact that Gibson tried to maintain that Stewart is being thin-skinned, all the while proving through his sniveling and whining that, in fact, he's the one who can't stand to have people disagree with him.
"You know, there are some people in the media, in this society that think they are -- have been convinced by their audience they're so wonderful that they are beyond any criticism at all, that if you do criticize them, that you've committed a horrible, horrible sin."
You'd think he's talking about Bill O'Reilly, wouldn't you? Or maybe Rush Limbaugh. Hell, I might even be charitable and say he could be describing Michael Moore. But Jon Stewart?
"And, you know, some of the jokes are pretty cheap. It's really easy to get a Bush laugh."
It should be noted that, earlier in this segment, after explaining that he is and always will be a thorn in the side of "The Man," John Gibson played an audio clip of a woman saying "You go girl." Jon Stewart may go for the cheap and easy laughs, but I want us all to remember that John Gibson goes for cheap, easy, and horribly dated-- a man being told "You go girl" was briefly funny in, about, March of 2000.
"I think there's a purposeful misunderstanding. We did -- we did tease him about his grief, but it was to compare it with what he's been saying lately. Yeah, he thinks -- Jon Stewart thinks the war has been fought wrong. To say that the liberal side hasn't called people traitors is absurd. It certainly has. Bloggers who idolize Jon Stewart have been trashing me for mocking Stewart do precisely that."
Ridiculous. To suggest that the liberals are the ones who have been calling conservatives' patriotism into question is patently absurd. We're not the ones putting flag ribbons on our cars or saying "You're either with us or against us." We have, on occassion, pointed out that dissent is patriotic, and that the Founding Fathers were, in many ways, influenced by liberal intellectualism. But the people most often being accused of "hating America" are, in fact, liberals.
"Stewart's funny. He's a -- he's a comedian doing the news. He should expect some shots once in a while."
I like this argument that any lie one can think up is a fair "shot," so long as the target is a public figure. It makes it easier for me to suggest that John Gibson is a puppy-molesting serial arsonist.
"I want to know, where is the Jon Stewart that was so grief-stricken, and why does he think what I think are reasonable measures to fight the war on terror like wiretapping, like going after Iraq, like Guantánamo Bay -- I think those are reasonable measures. He thinks they're absurd."
Gibson's logic is what's absurd here. The issue at hand is not wiretapping-- it's Jon Stewart's sincerity in his grief. What Gibson is suggesting is that, if Stewart had been sincere, he would support warrantless, illegal wiretapping, the war with Iraq, and the detention of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay without trials. But this does not reasonably follow-- in fact, it is more logical to suggest that a person truly grief-stricken would want to see the people responsible for the planning and funding of these attacks punished before the government launched an invasion against a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. In fact, Stewart's position is entirely consistent with a person who was upset by the injustice of the attacks, and is similarly upset when his own country commits injustices in his name.
"He thinks they're almost beneath argument, and he thinks he's right without having to engage in an argument. And I guess he's come to think, and a lot of other people have come to think, that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then. And I'm sorry he thinks that way 'cause I think he's funny and I like him and I think he's one of the most dangerous guys on TV. He certainly was when I was there."
And in this passage, John Gibson deftly undoes any argument he might have made earlier in this self-indulgent whine-fest. You see, he's trying to claim, on the one hand, that Jon Stewart can't stand to have people disagree with him. He's suggesting that Stewart's skin is so thin, and his understanding of the situation so tenuous, that he can't involve himself in an argument. Again, this is an accusation that could be levelled against Rush Limbaugh (who won't allow dissenting points of view to be expressed on his show) or Bill O'Reilly (a man who will scream at, talk over, or simply silence-- through the "cutting" of the microphone-- any guest who expresses an idea he disapproves of). Stewart, on the other hand, routinely has discussions with his guests-- even the ones he disagrees with. In fact, it was while disagreeing with a guest that Stewart referred to what Gibson had done. What's more, though, in the end Gibson tries to extend a bit of an olive branch-- remember, being called "dangerous" is just about the highest compliment this rebel without a brain can pay to someone-- and accidentally reminds us all that John Gibson has actually been on The Daily Show. John Gibson, who says that Jon Stewart is too timid and cowardly to engage with John Gibson's ideas, has been on Jon Stewart's show.
And let's be clear-- playing audio footage of someone choking up while discussing the terrorist attacks of September 11th and then berating that person for crying (and going so far as to call that person a "phony" without any evidence to support the allegation other than a "gut feeling") does not actually put an argument out there that needs to be discussed. Gibson's stunt was crass and insensitive, Stewart refused to descend to his level, and now Gibson is bitching that Stewart won't address his "argument." I mean, what's Stewart supposed to say? There's only one thing to say:
"You're arguing that I was a wimp for crying about September 11th? Or a phony? Yeah, well, fuck you. You think I'm a fraud? I think you're a dick. And nice fucking hair by the way, you little asshole."
There. I just won this "argument" on Jon Stewart's behalf. You're welcome, Jon.