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Friday, November 12, 2010

Stories to Watch: 11/12/10

Check this out. Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams calls this "Rachel Maddow's must-see Jon Stewart interview." Whether you think Jon's right, whether you think Rachel's right, or whether you think -- as I do -- that maybe they're both a little right and a little wrong (hey, nobody's perfect. Rachel's right more often in my mind, though), what you see here is a reasoned, interesting, informative, and even entertaining debate between two very smart people. In a way, that's more important than anything they have to say or any points either want to make. By showing what cable news should be like, they demonstrate what's wrong with what it's usually like. And in that, we all win. The media may be broken, but we learn it's not hopelessly so.

"It was riveting, at times utterly thrilling stuff, with both sides gracefully doing the dance of abundant, obvious admiration while firmly maintaining their own convictions," Williams writes. "This is what happens when people don't scream and hurl nonsense invective at each other. Watch and learn, America."

This is the condensed cut, by the way. You'll find nearly an hour of uncut blessed sanity here.

I can't sum this up better than Williams does.
They disagreed, at times with great force, about just how evil George Bush really is, the accountability of cable news in polarizing the country, and more. Yet they were throughout it all decent and ungimmicky and relentlessly courteous. It was quite the refreshing novelty. Speaking of his gig as America's premier fly in the media's ointment, Stewart declared modestly, "I feel like I am where I belong. There is no honor in what I do but I do it as honorably as I can." To do anything at all with a self-aware degree of honor is nowadays a rare and extraordinary thing. The execution may not always be flawless and debate may abound, but in a cable television morass of bullies and bigmouths, he and Maddow both prove quiet -- but encouragingly bright -- beacons of hope.
A-freakin'-men. Now here's the news...

While we're on the subject of what's wrong with the media, here's a problem: super serious, reasonable, and important Meet the Press likes booking a disgraced former House speaker, an unrepresentative Democrat, and President McCain. So, yeah...

And, as long as we're talking about what's reasonable and what isn't, the ACLU takes the totally unreasonable position that when a former president confesses to a war crime, somebody ought to do something about it. Imagine living in a world where you know someone committed a crime and the cops tell you to screw off when you report it. Now stop imagining living in that world, because you probably do.

Who do Republicans really represent? Who do you think?

If "admiration" is essential to reasoned debate, then let it be known that I don't admire Mitch McConnell. And neither does his home town paper.

Pat Buchanan joins Sarah Palin in dangerous economic flateartherism.

Is "America's sheriff" Joe Arpaio of Arizona -- darling to the right, xenophobes, and racists -- nothing but a crook? It sure looks that way.

Are you from Wisconsin? Then save the damned train!

Talking Points Memo turns 10. Here's what it looked like right off the bat. "Memo" was an apt word.

A top Palin aide is also on the payroll of the evil and all-powerful Bond villain mastermind, George Soros. How long before Glenn Beck's head explodes? We should start a pool.

What happens when a tea partier gets their wishes?

Finally, Michael Steele's troubles officially begin.

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