Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Jon Stewart has an off-night

I rushed home from the city just so I can watch FX and see the parts of "Phone Booth" that I keep missing (now my questions are answered), and then flip to Comedy Central to watch The Daily Show. John McCain, a stand-up moderate Republican found pandering to his base and, in a pair of episodes in April, painted by Jon Stewart as a politician willing to throw principles away after all, was interviewed tonight. Now, I get that the two are close and the senator has appeared on the show many times, but I at least expected a very intelligent dialogue about current affairs in between the comedic, disarming banter that keeps life from becoming too depressing.

What I did hear, from a reputed statesman who never ducks the tough questions, was alot of ducking. After his satellite interview in April, in which Stewart grills McCain on his giving the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, the senator was well prepared for as strong a confrontation, and proceeded to filibuster his way through two segments of the show.

The sad part is that even Stewart saw right through it in the beginning, when McCain evaded the question of American safety during the Bush administration. Stewart, however, let it slide, as he did with most every other question he posed. What's sad about that is he didn't ask that many, and just let McCain meander over his talking points.

When Stewart appeared on Crossfire and, according to blogosphere legend, singlehandedly killed the show, he made it perfectly clear that his was not a news show and was not to be taken as seriously as the real news shows should be, if network news directors ever got around to doing their job. Tonight's episode appears to be the first example why. In the end, he is a comic on a comedy show, and has license to waive any journalistic responsibilities those of us wish we could bestow upon him, no matter how big we fans of him are.

Let's just hope he has other good nights ahead of him.