The rumble 2012

In the aftermath of what seems like one of the most significant presidential debates in history on October 3rd, commentary after commentary on the most minute details of the candidates’ performances is enough to make anyone a little insane. Fortunately, young voters had at least had one thing to look forward to. One of the most popular liberal comedic talk show hosts (or can we call him news broadcaster?) was about to take on enthusiastic conservative Fox host Bill O’ Reilly in a mock-presidential debate. (Fitting for the timing of its live airing.) It was called “The Rumble 2012,” and boy did it cause a rumble. The debate was available online for viewers who paid $4.95, with half of the net profits to be donated to charities of the debaters choosing. But viewers apparently didn’t even need that incentive to watch the showdown. So many people across the world bought access to the live streaming debate that on the day of, just three days after the first presidential debate of the season, the website actually crashed. That’s right – so many people wanted to watch liberal funnyman Stewart and the conservative Fox News reporter O’ Reilly battle it out, that for some period of time the whole website fell into malfunction.

During the 2008 election, and even long before that, it was brought to public attention that Jon Stewart’s the Daily Show was used by many, particularly citizens of the younger variety, as a main source of political news. Stewart’s daily (4 times a week) rants and rages on the most ridiculous of political gaffes, at the same time expose the most interesting and provocative aspects of daily political discourse. Still, meanwhile, hitting on the big news and being funny to boot. Criticized for being a news reporting imposter, Stewart sticks to the argument that his show is first and foremost comedic. He once responded, “The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls!” But nevertheless, many young Americans still say they get the majority of their news from Stewart’s show. Apparently, this year is no exception, with thousands of viewers not only tuning in, but purchasing access to Stewart and O’Reilly’s 90 minute debate.

In a sense, this comedic parody of a real debate was far from being a mock-anything. There was no fakeness to either Stewart or O’Reilly’s equivocations but rather as straight forward and honest as you can get. As fake politicians, the two debaters had no reason to shift to the center, or play the part of the moderate to appeal to the other side. Stewart runs an admittedly liberal comedy show, and, well, O’ Reilly works for Fox News. There was no pretending there. Not only was ideological moderation unnecessary, but the two debaters actually talked the entire time about the salience of issues and opinions, and didn’t have to play up their leadership skills or “family values.” (Stewart did however make a jab at his own short stature, and, possibly former candidate for office Michael Dukakis who stood on a raised platform at a 1988 debate to make up for his height.)

The seriousness of the debate between these two opposing figures was far from lacking in heat or comedy, and each “mock candidate” seemed to touch on and clarify more hard-hitting issues than either of the real candidates did with their often long-winded or elusive responses. Because of this, parsing out ideological preferences couldn’t have been easier during “The Rumble” either. Surprised? It’s kind of like hoping and wishing for your politicians to be straightforward and clear, when along come a Democratic comedian and a Republican broadcaster for arguably the most right-leaning channel on television to put everything in order. Without the pressure of losing a race or disappointing constituents, these two seeming mortal enemies used the democratic process for good instead of evil. Or, at least, for sanity’s sake.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.