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Bill Moyers - Jon Stewart

Bill Moyers interview with Jon Stewart. You can watch the entire show in either Qucktime or Windows Media here It also includes a great interview with Josh Marshall The Jon Stewart John McCain interview is here

Part I

Quicktime Video 8.16 MB : 00:08:26
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Part II

Quicktime Video 9.74 MB : 00:10:20
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Part III

Quicktime Video 10.36 MB : 00:11:44
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Man, it almost makes me wish Jon didn't do so much comedy. What an interesting brilliant interview.

I love how Jon describes finally figuring out how the Bush admin works, and illustrates by comparing Gonzales to Henry Hill in "Goodfellas". Indeed, Gonzales' willingness to look like a total pinhead in front of Congress was what increased Bush's confidence in him. In the end, Gonzales didn't give anything away.

That was great interview, but Moyers always brings that about.

And it is nice to remember that Stewart is just a guy. Not a symbol, not an icon, not someone's mouthpiece. He and the writers are doing comedy and some commentary. When he pokes at someone we don't like it is for the humor and social commentary, not because he is doing our bidding.

And that is why he and Colbert are at the top of the heap.

May Bill Moyers live to be 100. The corporate media is such is miserable joke now that the obvious answer to Moyer's question, "The young people that work with me now, think they get better journalism from you than they do from the Sunday morning talk shows.", isn't that Jon is really doing journalism, it is that corporate media is just that bad. That, of course, means that Moyers is nearly alone in delivering serious documentary. Sure, Olbermann is tough on the wing-nuts and Bushies, and Scarborough has a good measure of integrity on the right, but neither of them really deliver consistently thoughtful shows.


Jon Stewart for President!

This was Brilliant.

Also, if you guys want to learn more about living in Iraq, check this little documentary out.

Heavy Metal Baghdad

"May Bill Moyers live to be 100."

I'll call that and raise it by 200 years!

Jon Stewart's magical formula revealed: Humor with context


Great, great interview. It really captures Stewart's very deep ambivalence about his public persona--he doesn't want to take himself too seriously, and he rejects the title of social critic, but he spent half the interview giving his interpretation of our political situation. At times it seems like he believes his comedy is a powerful political tool, at other times he calls it a game. I'm still ambivalent about the Daily Show as politics, though I'm continually impressed that Stewart himself is a remarkable and authentic citizen.

Jon as a concerned citizen is very impressive. The guy is simply smart and knows enough that if he ever decides to become a "journalist" he could become one of the best. As for Bill Moyers, I would like to think that he is the "Jon Stewart" of serious journalism. To those who didn't see his documentary on the Media and the rush to go to Iraq you have to see it.

Doing informed comedy requires a mind that can move 90 miles a minute. When it slows down and speaks seriously - wow.

It is crucial to our national health and awareness that Jon Stewart/TDS continue to exist.


absolutely fantastic. stewart is so smart, so perceptive, so literate, so damn EMPATHIC and PRESENT, i was almost moved to tears at a few points. i'm talking about jon stewart, not the character he plays on the daily show (which of course i also love). i've read and seen a lot of interviews with a lot of entertainers, great entertainers even, and i don't know that i've ever seen an entertainer who's impressiveness as an individual SO far outstrips the character he/she plays, esp. when that character is as great as jons on the daily show. jon stewart for president indeed.

i realize i'm gushing, perhaps the cynics are sharpening their swords, but what i saw in this interview was a human being on a level i would wish for us all. what almost moved me to tears was the realization of the absolute rarity of this kind of character.

the look on his face when he spoke of "the sadness inside us all that we can't get away from" (i paraphrase from gutted memory) should earn him an honorary degree, with the highest honors from barnums' clown college. it was one of the most perfectly executed spontaneous expressions of the very essence of all that is holy about "clowning" i have ever seen.

and btw, his point about "if the war's so important why no draft"- i seem to recall bringing that up here in exactly the same context and getting slapped around. well, a little bit. it was great to see someone with the courage to say it on tv, i've always wondered why this point isn't hammered home more often.

great, great interview, and i can't thank you enough, norm, for posting all of it. kudos.


The draft thing is very important. Look at the extreme measures they have taken to avoid it. One of the key things in this war is that to pull it off the American people must suffer very few direct consequences.

A couple of years ago I thought they were going to be forced to reinstitue the draft. I hoped so as I thought the war would be over in six months if all Americans were paying a direct price for the war. And that is exactly why the draft has not been used.

Ergo using up the National Guard, the reserves, the stop loss program and extended tours. All to avoid the draft.

These days, no matter what period of enlistment you signed up for, you can't get out of the Army until you are dead or too wounded to be of use.

Support the troops, in deed.


"Jon as a concerned citizen is very impressive. The guy is simply smart and knows enough that if he ever decides to become a "journalist" he could become one of the best."

I disagree with this. He's clearly a serious person and pretty well informed. But his criticism of the war is basically a hodge-podge of low lying fruit. He complains about stop-loss programs and injured soliders and then in the next sentence says that Bush isn't asking people to sacrifice enough, and then suggests sending a half million troops into Iraq. He's grasping at any criticism of the war that will stick. If the war was insane 4 years ago, then it's insane now, and it's insane to send 3 times more troops into it now. Because Stewart is a Bush critic no one ever challenges him on it, but what he's suggesting is very bad.

If Stewart were not an entertainer no one here would even know his name, let alone call him so brilliant and smart and literate. The appealing thing about him is that he realizes this.

it's insane now, and it's insane to send 3 times more troops into it now.

I can't speak on behalf of Stewart, but I don't think he meant to advocate sending more troops than Bushed originally proposed. I think he used an argumentative device of begging the question in the same way I've seen Sam Harris use it. Sam once said in a debate that if a Christian could say 'you can't ask how God was created because God always existed' then why would it be incorrect for an atheist to say 'the universe always existed?' It's not that Sam believes the universe always existed, he was simply using that response to show that the argument begs the question in the same way I think Stewart implied it. Why did Bush ask for such a low body count? Why not more? He then elaborates his point about the installment of the draft and how the country would then process this issue centrally rather than peripherally. In psychology there are two famous researchers that come to mind.

According to Petty & Cacioppo’s Elaboration Likelihood Model, people centrally process when:

  • they think deeply about a message
  • they are persuaded by the strength of the argument
  • are motivated to process and have the ability to think deeply about the message

Peripheral processing on the other hand occurs when the complete opposite occurs. When motivation and ability to process are high, very little persuasion depends on credibility. Rather, when using central processing, it’s the quality of the message that persuades.

So, by bring the issue to their doorstep in reinstalling the draft people would more likely than not stop peripherally processing this issue. When this happens, rest assured the American public would put an end to the war. This administration is very careful not to tread on thin ice. They fine tune their political schemes in such away that allows them to get away with such atrocities.

Jon Stewart proves here that 'The Daily Show' is the most patriotic show on TV today. He wants to affect change and he goes after the illogical, the lies, the mistakes, the power mad in order to make it better. Just wrote about it in my blog:

"But his criticism of the war is basically a hodge-podge of low lying fruit. He complains about stop-loss programs and injured soliders and then in the next sentence says that Bush isn't asking people to sacrifice enough, and then suggests sending a half million troops into Iraq."

Dende blogger, you obviously missed his point. He said that the reason that the war has been allowed to drag on is that the average American has not had to sacrifice much. And if this war was truly important then the American people would support it even with the sacrifice required of a draft.

Also you are critiquing Stewart's suggestions regarding how to fix the war, and I don't think Stewart ever stated that he was an expert on the subject. I bet if asked all he would say was that he doesn't know how to fix the situation. We are over our heads, with no real plan, and almost nobody wants us there -- so why are we there?


Quite brilliant! I would vote for him for president in a second!


What i thought was very enlightening is Jon saying that comedy was his way of fighting back. My question is, what are we doing to fight back? Are americans all talk? Do we just grumble and then go back to stuffing our faces while the big boys of the world get away with murder? Where is our responsibility in this? We live in a republic, or at least thats what we are constantly told, so then arent we as much to blame as our leaders?

Does anyone know where one can download a high quality MP4 version of this interview?


Book Review of Michael McHugh, The Second Gilded Age: The Great Reaction in the United States 1973-2000, by Ed Bloomer.

When I was working on the assembly line at General Electric in 1979, a boss came down one day and gave each worker a share of stock worth $3.00. I tore mine up and threw it in the trash. Even so, the company kept it on record, and from time to time in the 1980s and ‘90s contacted me to say that the stock had split and increased in value. To make a long story short, by August 2001, that lonely share of GE stock had multiplied like capitalist loaves and fishes into 90 shares—now worth $4,500. Not being much of a capitalist, I gave away my totally unearned loot to my family or the Catholic Worker community. Even so, when I imagined from this one example just how much the rich, the near-rich and the obscenely rich must have increased their wealth during this time, I understand just what Michael McHugh meant when he called it a Second Gilded Age.

Anyone interested in politics, culture and race will certainly be enthralled with this book! It describes the cycles of US History from the time of the First Gilded Age (1873-1901) to the Second a century later. Both were periods of laissez faire capitalism, of Robber Barons who exploited new technologies to establish giant industries such as John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in the 19th Century or Microsoft a hundred years later. In these capitalist heydays, wealth and incomes are highly concentrated in the hands of the top 10% of the population, while the living standards for most of the population stagnated or declined. Far from protecting and defending the interests of the common people, politicians serve the oligarchy during these Gilded Ages, while manipulating the voters through the calculated use of racism, religious and cultural issues, law and order and nationalism. It is no accident that these capitalist heydays are also the heydays of right-wing populist movements like the Ku Klux Klan and Moral Majority.

McHugh compares these Gilded Ages with what he calls the Historical Exception Period of 1945-73. He shows us how prosperity after World War II, when the American Empire was at its strongest, also gave working people social democratic and modern liberal capitalist welfare state. Building on the New Deal and Fair Deal of the 1930s and 1940s, the New Frontier of John Kennedy and the Great Society Lyndon Johnson created programs that uplifted the city’s and fed the hungry plus Medicare, which enriched the elderly with help on their medical expenses. As a result of the Second Reconstruction of 1954-65, new laws were passed to protect minorities in voting rights, affirmative action and desegregation of schools and work places.

In the 1968 election, the Vietnam War was tearing the fabric of the nation apart. Nixon beat out Humphrey for the presidency. Nixon was the last president of the Historical Exception Period and the initiator of the Second Gilded Age. He promised to dismantle the Great Society programs that benefited poor women with children the so called ‘welfare queens’. He was effective in manipulating the backlash of white voters, which Republicans called the Southern Strategy. Nixon also used the issue of ‘law and order’ to erode the gains which minorities and working people had gained during the Historical Exception Period. Reelected in a landslide against George McGovern in 1972, only the Watergate break-in and his disgrace and his ouster from office prevented him from establishing a new Republican majority. Nixon self-destructed in 1974, but the conservative backlash endured and prospered despite this.

Even so, with the declining economy and massive public distrust of government and politicians, the Second Gilded Age was being ushered in. Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976 by labor minorities and the Old New Deal Coalition, but he was basically a moderately conservative southern Democrat. In the last two years of his term, Carter had on the drawing board massive increases in military spending, the neutron bomb, and the B-2 bomber—all of which robbed the poor and it took. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 was the High Noon of the Second Gilded Age, which featured huge cuts in social spending longstanding hostility toward civil rights for minorities, the Draconian age of more prisons, tougher penalties and ushered in a backlash against gays, feminists and minority rights. Reagan and his advisors were experts in using the Southern Strategy, beating Carter and Mondale with issues of culture, race, flag-waving and family values.

By the 1990’s, after twenty years of declining living standards, the majority of voters were alienated from the political system and favored a third party candidates, from Pat Buchanan on the right and Ralph Nader on the left but. In the 1992 election Ross Perot stole enough white votes from George Bush Sr to hand the election to Bill Clinton. Like Carter, he was a moderately conservative southern governor, who made promises about improved social programs and universal health care, but was unable to keep them. Once again using cultural and racial backlash issues, the Republicans under Newt Gingrich seized both the House and Senate in 1994.Their Contract on America was a radically free market version of capitalism to which Clinton accommodated with a welfare ‘reform’ law that dumped the poor into the street. Thanks to this ‘triangulation’ strategy, Clinton was elected for a second term in 1996. By then, the Stock Market was riding high, although by 2000 -2001 its bubble began to look deflated even before 9/11. This Gilded Age version of ‘prosperity’, like that of the 1920s or the First Gilded Age, was concentrated mostly at the top. In an election that further disgraced the political system, George Bush, Jr. came to power in 2000 thanks to a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. His War on Terror and Second Oil War brought about big deficits, high inflation with big tax cuts and breaks to the rich.

I cannot do this book a great enough service. In The Second Gilded Age, Dr. Michael McHugh has given a concise critique of the history of the workings of our society and political system in an amazing way. This book should be read by scholars or anyone who is concerned about the future this country and our world. It at least offers the hope that the Gilded Ages are cyclical and that although they might have seemed endless at the time, they have never been the last word in history.


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