There’s news and then there’s The Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart. Mr. Stewart is clear his is not a news show. He is an entertainer. His show is, after all, on Comedy Central. Yet his insights on the health care reform are far deeper than anything you’ll find on CNN, Fox or MSNBC. While clearly liberal, Mr. Stewart has the smarts to be an equal opportunity lambaste-er.
Now, let me say, I recognize the health care reform debate is a serious issue. One has only to read a comment left by Tracey to appreciate that. She played by all the rules (purchased coverage, paid her premiums), but her son’s coverage will soon reach it’s lifetime maximum. The substance of health care reform is literally about life and death.
The politics of health care reform sometimes loses sight of that reality. Beneath the bombast and the shrill rhetoric human lives hang in the balance. Sometimes it takes humor to put things in perspective and to get us focused on what really matters – that the status quo cannot be sustained. Change is needed and our leaders and the media need to be focused on helping us understand the tough choices we need to make. They need to be clear and articulate. They need to avoid fear mongering and hysteria. When leaders and the media fail, they need to be held to account.
Enter Mr. Stewart and his comrades in humorous arms. Take, for example, this clip in which John Stewart gives both President Barack Obama and Fox News deserved reality checks (the president at about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the clip; Fox at about 4 minutes and 40 seconds). Warning: The clip is PG-13 rated – at least.
In another episode, Mr. Stewart captures the absurd heights the national dialogue on health care reform reached this August, when he observes “So the debate seems to have boiled down to one side screaming so loud and so angrily that they’ve drowned out the other sides’ incoherence.”
Congress is about to convene once more and the final push for health care reform is about to begin. Next week, as you leave what I hope is a terrific Labor Day weekend behind you, keep this in mind: for entertainment masquerading as news, tune into MSNBC or Fox (depending on your predisposition). For news delivered as entertainment, keep an eye on The Daily Show. Consider it the silver lining of the political craziness we call the legislative process. And let’s hope at the end of the day the result of all this is a system that works for Tracey and the rest of us.