I haven’t seen much discussion on the intertubes of Jon Stewart’s interview with Marco Rubio last night. I find this somewhat puzzling, if not disappointing.
For those that haven’t seen it, I cannot recommend it enough. Unlike most cable TV interviews it is over half an hour long without commercials, and is absolutely riveting. In many (albeit odd) ways, it is as close to a Firing Line interview as I have seen on television in many, many years.
Both Stewart and Rubio come off as smart and passionate, and both seem to genuinely want to find some common areas of agreement. The degree to which they can’t is underlined by Stewart near the end, as he laments that they both seem to live in “separate universes.” The obvious world one sees directly before them seems a completely alien fabrication to the other. It’s a powerful testimony to how difficult the politicization of facts and data can make it to legitimately try and solve big issues in today’s political arena.
It also is – hands down – a million times smarter, more incisive, and more thought provoking than any of the many, many interviews (including one with Rubio himself) I saw in my FOXNews-MSNBC Taste Test. What’s more, it featured an interviewer in Stewart that actively worked to try find out what his guest was thinking, as opposed to the FOX and MSNBC hosts that mainly used their guest as a vehicle to talk about how awesome the host was. Rubio was challenged by Stewart, but was never treated with anything less than respect; the exact same can be said for Stewart by Rubio.
That the differences in quality of – God Lord, I can’t even believe I’m about to write this word in this context – journalism are this skewed toward a half hour comedy satire show that often features dick jokes over two billion dollar rival cable news networks is about as sad a commentary as one might make about TV journalism today.
This is the first third of the interview, which was on YouTube at the time of this posting. Comedy Central does not allow it’s content to be YouTubed, so who knows how long this embed will last. Also, I can’t embed the entire interview (which gets much, much better as it goes along); you’ll need to go to the Daily Show website to watch it. But watch it you should. It may be the only decent political interview you see on TV all year.