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Jon Stewart: Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Are Not Our Enemies

4 years ago
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"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart sat down recently with Terry Gross, host of NPR's "Fresh Air," in front of a live New York City audience.

Stewart, the popular liberal comedian and satirist, made a point about political civility, which I think deserves attention.

When asked about his criticism of the radical Muslims who made death threats against the creators of "South Park," Stewart said:
There's a difference between disagreeing with people, like newscasters on Fox News that I think are incorrect in their analysis of the days events, and people that threaten to kill you for putting a cartoon image of Mohammad in a bear suit [which is what "South Park" did]. And that's a line that we too often forget. And it's very easy to dehumanize -- and I will say in this room, I would imagine [Glenn] Beck and [Sarah] Palin are easier punching bags -- and we think of it as, 'Oh, my God, I'm so scared if they take over.' . . . And you know what, we will be fine. . . .

I think we always have to remember that people can be opponents, but not enemies. And there are enemies in the world. We just need the news media to help us delineate. And I think that's where the failing is, that the culture of corruption in the media doesn't allow us to delineate between enemies and opponents.
Kudos to Stewart for highlighting this distinction between our real enemies and our political adversaries -- a point that I've also been making.

What is more, Stewart is correct that the media spends a lot more time talking about what separates us than what unites us (which is why I wanted to share Stewart's quote with you).

Regardless of your political viewpoints, I'd encourage you to check out Terry Gross's thought-provoking interview with Jon Stewart.

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Million $ Coon

I vote Glenn Beck for President. Put values & honesty in the Washington, taking away GREED & Deception is the only way our Country will survive! We took God out of everything else, when we take God out of our Country we will no longer be a Free Nation, but under police rule. People have a choice; wake up America! For the Love of God; 'Get your heads out of the sand.' AMEN

November 26 2010 at 11:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Your new approach to submitted comment sounds reasonal to me. I am so tired of the mass sound bits that take small portions of a statement out of context to make a ridiculous point. It is about time someone take a stand. This years mid year election TV campaigns were absurd. Can anyone really believe that our President does not want to make America a better place to live, considering he pulled us out of one of the worst finanical crisis America has every seen. GET REAL This crazy fantasy about government taking over your life is ridculous, it is just the fear they want to instill to win a vote so they can make money!!

November 24 2010 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At least Jon Stewart, does understand that because Beck and Palin voice their opinions at least you still at present can disagree, If we keep the Govt. in this present state we will become same as other Communist countries, where you will only have the right to work for a small amount of food. and no Say into what the Elitist want. I am an older American when we could Work and Earn what we wanted and Eat what we wanted without the Washington ADM. wanting to take it away because they think we should not be allowed to spend our own Money or Cook or Eat what we want. And meanwhile they can keep making as much as they want and have all their wonderful Trips and Extravagant Vacations.

November 20 2010 at 2:47 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

when we listen to Glen Beck miss lead the public with false statements; he is not a friend to the American people.

November 20 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Ryan

I'm a fiscal conservative / social moderate political Independent Stewart is the best news guy out there....and he's a comedian! He calls a spade a spade and he's right about this issue as well.

November 18 2010 at 11:47 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Miss Bridget!

Yes, Jon Stewart is a role model for civility.

November 18 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

agreed, e stanley foster! agreed. I believe the operative word in your statement is "dictate". When the govt gets to that point, I think "dictator" is closer to the truth. When and how did ambition, free enterprise, and obtaining wealth become a "bad thing" in America. These things USED to be the reason why folks came to the USA, they saw the oppertunities we had here (and I mean as a legitimate citizen,or to legally obtain citizenship and legally here). Obviously I am talking legitimate means, not the scammers, drug pushers, and con men that pollute the American way. No one said obtaining it was easy. Why and how do MORE laws solve our current problems? I am sure more laws will kill more trees for the paper. I am NOT so sure they will solve our problems. I am SO fed up with political correctness as a "legitimate" arguement among civilized, educated adults. If the "Founding Fathers" followed "political correctness" we would STILL be practicing English Subjects! OK, my rant is over. God Help America. God Bless America

October 27 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stewart is absolutely correct that while Palin and Beck are often misinformed and hateful and inflict much damage on our nation they are not terrorists who kill children, innocents and others. They are misguided but not truly evil.

October 13 2010 at 3:48 PM Report abuse -17 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ajcook111's comment

Just how are Palin and Beck misinformed and hateful and how have they inflicted much damage on our nation? Our Nation is a very big place. How can two people do this? I don't necessarily think Palin or Beck are misguided at all. They have their opinions and if you don't agree, don't. I won't accuse you of being misguided for feeling that way. After all, feelings are just that, feelings and feelings change moment by moment. I, too, agree with Jon Stewarts statement about delineating between opponents and enemies, but, do not agree that Fox news reporting is incorrect in their analysis of daily events. Fox news reports daily events in their own style, but, not necessarily incorrectly. That's up to the viewer. If they were that incorrect in their analysis, they wouldn't have the following as no one would give them credibility. Jon Stewart is entitled to feel this way as it is mine to disagree.

November 19 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I am not a Jon Stewart fan, but on this point I can agree with him.

October 13 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply

The enemy is the capitalists who portray their freedom from taxation as liberty while your liberty, the right to have a decent job is being shipped overseas. Read on. The conflating of laissez faire capitalism with liberty by some Republicans is a fallacy. In 1969, Isaiah Berlin, an award-winning philosopher, published his four essays, "On Liberty." In it, he investigated the concept of individual liberty in relationship to social liberty. One of the things he understood was that laissez faire capitalism, where an individual was allowed to acquire as much wealth as possible, was simply a form of anarchy, where the most powerful rule. He called it a form of "social Darwinism." Restraining of the base instincts of businesses and business people is part of the eternal watchfulness that preserves liberty. The study of American economic history shows that a marketplace unregulated by a government, or without marketplace mechanism to redistribute the wealth downward (ie., unions), unfettered capitalism leads to aristocracy (at best) and feudalism (at worst). We need a government that watches the marketplace the same way that police watch the streets so that those whose behavior is unsafe to society are not unrestrained. Economics anarchy is no more desirable than social anarchy, and anarchy is as much a threat to liberty as tyrannies.

October 13 2010 at 3:08 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to drbuckles's comment

I don't want or need the government to dictate to me how successful I might become. We may have been born as equals but my dreams and aspirations are different than yours and that doesn't give the government the right to penalize me. I'm sure you guessed I'm Black and Republican.

October 14 2010 at 12:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

...and a government that "takes over" free enterprise is WHAT...socialist? As we slowly throw the importance of our educations away, thus not "knowing any better" and "leaving it to the government FIX", we eat away at Liberty. Slavery never died; those that don't want an education have voluntarily become slaves to ignorance! We mock the education system, yet every day people graduate, and bettor themselves. Those who abuse drugs have become a slave to dope! We have arisotcracy right now, i.e. elected officials (who took a SWORN oath to support the Constitution, and defend it from ALL enemy's, foregein & domestic) deciding they know better than what the voters want, disregarding the people's voice and concerns. Drbuckles, with all do respect,have union's "redistibuted the wealth? Common, or should I say UNCOMMON ambition is looked upon as GREED!. I have no degree, not that a degree guarentees success, but what government program has produced fruit without overexpenditure or within budget. We the people have to live within our own earnings or pay the consequences, but our government keeps printing currency and spending/borrowing. What would do to you and I (maybe bankruptcy or jail) But Big Bro keeps on keeping on. I don't need a degree to see that, although I AM working on one, mostly for self satisfaction. I appologise for any mispelling, or drifting from topic, but I had to air my beliefs, rambling they may be. BUT, I think we have ENOUGH regulation! To much of the EXSISTING regs ARE NOT enforced. (See illegal immigration, gun control, etc). Believing more regulation will solve anything is like believing MORE speed limit signs will slow down speeders! Enforce the existing laws, GOVERN BY THE OATH YOU SWORE TO!

October 27 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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