The video: After Bill Maher slammed "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart for drawing what Maher considers false parallels between extreme liberal and conservative pundits, Stewart has responded in trademark deadpan style. (See highlights from last night's "Daily Show" below.) The Comedy Central star intercut clips of Maher and other detractors of Stewart's recent D.C. rally (Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow) with a parody of Martin Scorsese's boxing classic Raging Bull featuring Stewart taking a slow-motion beating. Then Stewart drolly announced "plans" to stage a new rally on the National Mall this weekend to answer their gripes. He ended on a semi-serious note: "I disagree with their classification of [our message]. But I'm sure we'll all have a chance to clarify it on each other's programs for the next 10 years."
The reaction: Stewart dealt a roundhouse blow to his critics last night, says Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly, who don't seem to understand that he's "engaged in media criticism, not political activism." To use his own boxing metaphor, "Stewart remains the champ." None of Stewart's critics are actually contending with the real message of his rally, says Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post — namely, "that the singular excess of the modern media is the way they reflect American life in a distorted funhouse mirror." Watch an excerpt from "The Daily Show" here: