Jon Stewart's D.C. rally: The backlash

With the rally now just days away, critics from both parties are saying it might do more harm than good. Why are people so upset?

Stewart's rally is meant to "dial down the temperature on the nation's political rhetoric." Will it succeed or just create more noise?
(Image credit: Screen shot)

Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are gearing up for their big "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on Washington's National Mall in a few days — but not everyone thinks the event is a laughing matter. Democrats are concerned it will distract from voter-turnout efforts, while conservative are decrying it as disrespectful of traditional marches. And the critics in the media? They only seem to agree that Stewart, especially, should stay home. What's the big deal? (Watch an AP report about the rally preparation)

Stewart's desecrating the Mall: "Marches on Washington are forums for proclaiming truths about human beings," says Mark Judge in The Daily Caller, especially those "tied to ideas about God, morality, and the common good." So Stewart is the worst person to lead one. "Trapped in his own smirk," he won't stand up for anything, except "the smug decadence of the liberal West, which valorizes choice and irony above all else, even truth."

"The paralysis of Jon Stewart liberalism"

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The rally's not the problem: "When conservatives turn to fury, liberals take solace in irony," says Michael Tomasky in The Guardian, and Stewart will deliver. But his "laudable" rally will only feed the fury. No doubt Stewarts' "Million Moderate March" will be "excellent in real life," but when Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are done trashing it, after Election Day, half the country will think it was "another liberal hatefest."

"Jon Stewart still calls out to sensible America. Fox won't"

The haters need to "lighten up": The growing chorus of "cultural critics" are overthinking Stewart's rally or maybe losing their critical faculties, says Ryan Kearney in TBD. Stewart is an entertainer, and his rally is about one thing: "fun." Everyone else sees that, so why can't the critics? Maybe it's fear and "bitterness" — we journalists want Stewart to give voice to our cynicism about media figures and politicians, not become one.

"A guide to the misguided criticism of the Stewart/Colbert rally"

"Funny" won't restore sanity: The problem is that Stewart can "hilariously skewer" politicians all he wants, says Jesse Singal in The Boston Globe, and it won't change anyone's mind or, as the rally is ostensibly geared toward, "dial down the temperature on the nation's political rhetoric." We are way past that point. The best we can hope for is that "the image of the Mall packed with folks advocating for sanity will send a message."

"Funny won't cut the hate"

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