You might have noticed that a lot of the news coverage of Tuesday's elections was less about 2013 — the people and things voters actually voted on — and more about the 2014 midterms, the 2016 presidential fields, and other dalliances with prognostication. Jon Stewart has, and he doesn't like it. That was the main gist of Wednesday night's post-election Daily Show.
To be fair, a lot of news "analysis" is forward-looking, since, as Tom Waits says, we all want to know the same thing: "How's it gonna end?" And a lot of the guests and featured pundits on cable news actually make their living from positioning their candidates and parties for the next election.
But that's not how Stewart sees it. After running through the big races, in his "Indecision 2013: Wait, There's an Election in 2013?" segment, he flipped through the cable news coverage to show us how CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC covered the election. None of the talking heads in the highlight reel had much to say about what just happened in 2013.
Ostensibly to counteract this apparently compulsive future-gazing, Stewart brought out his own panel drawn from The Daily Show's patented Best F#@king News Team Ever: Aasif Mandvi, Jason Jones, and Al Madrigal. The panel at first seemed to agree with Stewart, calling Tuesday night's coverage "embarrassing" and "pathetic."
"Yeah, f--k those f--king guys," Mandvi said, to nods of approval from Stewart. But his follow-up line — "they were way off!" — prompted a Stewart double-take. The three panelists then trotted out increasingly ridiculous predictions for 2016. There's a cute dig at Tim Tebow in there. To prove how silly they're being, Stewart played a reel of terrible predictions various pundits have made over the past decade.
But Madrigal got the punchline. There's no downside to pundits "making up bullshit because there's no consequence for being wrong," he said. The TV personalities Stewart showed going out on comically wrong limbs may look a little foolish in hindsight, Madrigal said, but "they're all still on TV." High fives all around, except for Stewart, who pretended to still be grumpy.
For the wild card segment, Stewart brought out Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore to discuss Jay Z's controversial clothing line partnership with Barneys — the upscale clothing store accused of sending undercover cops to harass black customers. Stewart laid out the controversy, gave Jay Z some grief over sticking with the deal even after he boycotted other businesses and events for being racist, then turned to Wilmore for backup.
He didn't get it. Wilmore said that Jay Z doesn't care about the black people who want him to boycott Barneys, but why should he? Wilmore got in his share of potshots at the rap mogul, but ultimately called the story progress for black artists. "White people have been watching their musical icons sell out to corporations for decades," he said. "It's the American dream, and we're finally achieving it. You go, Jay Z Penney!" Watch:
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