Jon Stewart vs. Rachel Maddow: The Uncut Interview

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Daily Show host Jon Stewart went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show Thursday night to talk about the criticism of his rally—specifically the charge, made by Bill Maher and others, that Stewart was drawing a false equivalence between left and right, MSNBC and Fox News. The “Interview to Restore Sanity” was lengthy, contentious, and thought-provoking, but (as is always the case with Maddow’s interviews) remarkably civil. Here’s the uncut version:

There’s a lot in there to think about—really too much to easily react to in a short blog post. But this, from Maddow’s follow-up interview with Lawrence O’Donnell, is a good summary of the points she was trying to make:

The criticism is not Daily Show-specific. It is more broad… There isn’t a mirror image between left and right either in hyperbole, propensity to shout, propensity to say unkind things—or, I guess, indefensible things. I don’t think there’s a mirror image, and I certainly don’t think there’s a mirror image between what we do at MSNBC and what Fox does.

It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that Maddow, as a liberal, thinks that her side “plays nicer” than the other side. Stewart would probably point out that many people on the right feel the same way. That’s true—and as Stewart argues, it’s a good reason for people to not think of their ideological opponents as “evil” or “bad.” Most people have good intentions. Sometimes good people do bad things—but that doesn’t necessarily make them “evil.”

There’s a level of analysis that has to come after you acknowledge that both sides sincerely believe they are right and they are playing nicer than the other side: deciding what the truth is. Either one side is nicer and/or more correct than the other, or the two sides are equivalent. This is something that is knowable. People will of course disagree over the answer. But people like Maddow shouldn’t come in for criticism simply because they’ve decided that, in fact, their side is right and “nice.” She believes what she’s saying. She’s passionate. She’s open about her biases and opinions. Is that so wrong?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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