Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cramer vs. Stewart and a continuing debate

Picture by Tulane Public Relations office
For those of you who haven't seen this episode - and it is painful to watch - you should watch the now infamous Cramer appearance on the Daily Show (advice: never appear on a show with prepared clips of your hypocrisy).

This thing is just background. I read Hollander's post about Tucker Carlson's comments concerning Jon Stewart. I have mixed feelings. First, I agree that the excuse, "I'm a comedian," is a massive dodge. He participates in public discourse and the last few weeks have proven him to be a major player in such discussion.

However, I do not think his role as a political comedian places a proactive responsibility upon him in the same way it would an actual journalist. As "vanguards of democracy," it is the journalists job to stand in defense of the people an act with proactive investigations to prevent crises more than to report on them.

Stewart seems to have positioned himself as a whistle blower on journalist in particular, but anyone who shovels bullshit on a daily basis. I'm not sure what his role really is, but I think he exist somewhere in the realm between comedian and journalist. I see his role as reactive and possibly one of advocating. So in this sense, Carlson is write to say Stewart can't keep using the comedian excuse, but Stewart is right that proactive and preemptive coverage are not his job.

Stewart watches the watchmen, and I think that has value. Though, admittedly, I feel bad for Cramer who has become the face of a much larger problem, not only at CNBC but across the entire economic climate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I got a fever...

...and the only prescription is more basketball. Yes, apart from it being Spring Break here at UGA, I've also not posted a thing lately because I've been so consumed with Championship Week and Selection Sunday.

My beloved Louisville Cardinals got the overall #1, so I'm hopeful, but deep down I get the feeling this year will be another "maybe next year." Here are my Final Four picks:


I'm going with an all Big East group here for a few reasons. First, these teams - while some have individual stars - play more like cohesive units than most others I've seen this year. North Carolina and Duke are both great, as is Oklahoma, but the loss of one player makes too great a difference, and it's hard to be 100% for six games. Second, I have no faith in the Big Ten. Screw Michigan State; nothing good has come from there since Magic Johnson. Third, the ACC has been inconsistent at best, and I'm not sure they have the wherewithal to run the gauntlet. Fourth, who has Memphis played? I mean, really?!

In a month I'll have to eat these words, but I'm going with Louisville. I think the city is due some glory.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The "New" Rhetoric

I've been noticing this thing a bit on my own and have been really surprised that nobody has made much effort to point it out, but Obama and Bush both have very similar rhetoric and strategies for dealing with the wars in the Middle East. Of all outlets, "The Daily Show" seems to best illustrate this point:

They did a similar segment following Obama's inauguration and how his rhetoric toward terrorism is eerily similar to that of Bush II:

We know that Bush's rhetoric was completely empty and that his actions in no way reflected his goals, or maybe it is simply a manifestation of the fact that his goals were unattainable. As far as judging Obama, not enough time has passed to do so, but there is cause for concern. Obama's commitment to Afghanistan, though inarguably a more noble cause than that of Iraq, is a reflection of yet another unwinable war fought with the same ill-advised Iraq surge tactics.

No one talks about these similarities because the two presidents are markedly different in their domestic approaches, and the economy is the greatest concern right now. Still, there is no question that, either intentionally or unintentionally, that Obama has created a cult of personality around himself, and I would argue that inherently such a thing is not a problem, but it most certainly becomes one if our infatuation with the man (or the myth) leads us to stop questioning policy, or at least trying to understand it more fully.