rory brings to our attention this piece by Dan Drezner ’90 on the current state of political discourse and whether or not Jon Stewarts “hurting america” moment led to a better or worse TV punditry:

We’re coming up on the five-year anniversary of Jon Stewart’s verbal skewering of Crossfire in particular and the whole genre of left-right cable gabfests in general. Stewart said these kind of shows were “hurting America” because of their general blather and failure to ask politicians good, sharp questions.

Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire generated quite the navel-gazing among the commentariat, and played no small role in the eventual disappearance of Crossfire, The Capitol Gang, Hannity & Colmes, and shows of that ilk.

So, five years later, I have a half-assed blog question to ask — did Jon Stewart hurt America by driving these shows off the air?

If you’re expecting a lengthy defense of the Crossfire format right now, well, you’re going to be disappointed. My point rather, is to question what replaced these kinds of shows on the cable newsverse. Instead of Hannity & Colmes, you now have…. Hannity. Is this really an improvement?

Link to full article: Did Jon Stewart Hurt America?.

rory comments:

i’m always fascinated by the idea of unintended consequences/backlash. I’m not sure Jon Stewart really was as active a catalyst as drezner (and others) imply…a one-horse show was clearly the wave of the future before Stewart attacked Crossfire.

Considering how discourse in America certainly hasn’t gotten better since the election (maybe briefly during the election. maybe. And I’ll let the jury decide whether or not it’s gotten worse. that doesn’t matter to my point, I don’t think) what, if anything, can be done to improve the generally horribly disappointing lack of discussion/debate? And what can be done to make the discussion/debate that does happen significantly less embarrassing to anyone with a brain (I assume others are embarrassed by the debate that goes on in society at the moment)?

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