The Best Coverage of the 2004 Elections. Period.
America and the rest of the Media should be ashamed.
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2004, 1:48pm PT  

Last night's Daily Show was as good as it has ever been. From top to bottom. The ball was hit out of the park.

Jon Stewart's opening monogolue answered to the continuous "stoned slackers" charge that O'Reilly made during his pompous interview with Stewart last week. Funny story...As it turns out, two different studies rebut O'Reilly's self-serving claims. One shows that Daily Show viewers are actually more educated than O'Reilly viewers. The second study, from the University of Pennsylvania shows that Daily Show viewers are better versed on current events than those who only watch news channels! Hopefully those will be the "stoned slackers" that save this country.

The opening "news story" then was about O'Reilly's (barely hyped) three-day interview with Bush. Amongst the highlights, the segment from O'Reilly's 'Talking Points' where No-Spin Boy lauded Bush for doing the interview:

O'REILLY (on tape): You have to admire his willingness to discuss the issues in a venue like this.

STEWART: You have to respect the President of the United States for doing an interview on the most conservative TV network in the country?!!

...

O'REILLY (on tape): The President did not recieve any of the questions in advance, nor were there any restrictions on what I could ask. Again, that's impressive.

STEWART: No! No it's NOT! It's not impressive!!! It's the least you can do and still qualify as an interview!!!

Yup. That would be the President's JOB! And it should be the MEDIA'S job, as well!

Most of O'Reilly's "not-stoned, not-slackers" apparently bought O'Reilly's "courage" spin and the notion that Bush faced "hardball" questions. Also they failed to notice that O'Reilly didn't press Bush on the several answers on which Bush was obviously prevaricating. Stewart drove it home.

I look forward to O'Reilly's appearance on The Daily on Oct. 7th, I believe. Stewart ripped him a new one last night, so I'll look forward to his response.

Stewart was equally on the money in his critique of Kerry's Diane Sawyer appearance yesterday. Once they release any of the video from last night's show, I'll try and link to it here.

There was much more in the body of the show including an Ed Helms report on how the "reviews" of tonight's debate are already written by the Media days in advance, and an amazing interview with Seymour Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, detailing the extraordinary missteps, incompetence, and arrogance of the nine or so Neo-Cons who have hijacked virtually every facet of our Government (from the Congress to the Defense Dept. to the White House to the CIA) and the country itself in the bargain. All while Americans have simply stood by and allowed it to happen. He referred to this period, and specific situations like the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prison atrocities, as something that we will look back on as one of the most "shameful" periods of our history.

Frankly, it made me think of how we now look back at the shame of Japanese internment during WWII or McCarthy's Un-American Activities Committee in historical retrospect. It seems we've done it again. And the only question now is whether Americans will figure that out before or after November 2nd.

A tremendous show. I've said it before, but hands down --- and yes, also shamefully --- The Daily Show has indeed offered the best and most accurate and incisive coverage of "Indecision 2004" anywhere on television. Period.

UPDATE: Video of the Seymore Hersh interview here.