Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 14, 2010

WHEN 'THE DAILY SHOW' PICKS UP THE SLACK.... Last week, a unanimous Senate Republican caucus blocked, and likely killed, the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. It's the bill that intended to pay health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers, sickened after exposure to the toxic smoke and debris. For the GOP, it was a simple calculus -- they'd consider bills like this, just as soon as they'd secured tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Even for a party that routinely dabbles in callousness, this was pretty stunning. But Republicans were willing to gamble that the country probably wouldn't hear a word about this, and they were right -- Eric Boehlert noted that ABC, CBS, and NBC blew off the story entirely.

As is often the case, "The Daily Show" was willing to pick up the slack, and aired a pretty devastating segment last night.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

It's worth watching in full, but among the gems from the segment was Stewart showing a CNN segment on Senate Republicans blocking three bills over a couple of days: DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, and the 9/11 health bill. It led Stewart to ask, "I get the other two, but since when does the Republican Party make 9/11 first responders stand over in the corner with the gays and Mexicans?"

The segment also noted that the Senate GOP, in an act of cowardice, was willing to unanimously block consideration of the bill, but not one was willing to speak on the subject: "They won't be so cowardly as to not vote without justifying their actions -- just cowardly enough not to do it on camera."

The host concluded: "So, guess what Republicans? Here's the deal: the whole we're-the-only-party-that-understands-9/11-and-its-repercussions monopoly ends now.... No more coopting 9/11 imagery to get yourselves elected. No more using 9/11 as the date when magically all your policies became right. No more using 9/11 to micro manage Manhattan's zoning decisions. No using 9/11 as an excuse for why your Bush tax cuts never stimulated the economy in the first place. Or 9/11 as an excuse to do what you were going to be doing anyway."

For what it's worth, I suspect the GOP will ignore Stewart's admonition -- they're a shameless bunch -- and go on pretending that they somehow "own" the terrorist attacks. But I'm glad Stewart took them to task anyway. Someone had to.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Republicans were willing to gamble that the country probably wouldn't hear a word about this, and they were right -- Eric Boehlert noted that ABC, CBS, and NBC blew off the story entirely.

Darn that liberal media!

Posted by: Gregory on December 14, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect the GOP will ignore Stewart's admonition.

Worse is that ABC, NBC and CBS will probably ignore their role in this, too. We can't expect the news organizations to report, you know, the news.

Posted by: sue on December 14, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party has/will/continues to ruin this country. Maybe that is why Boehner is so weepy!

President Obama signs the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Into Law

You have to look into the magnifying lenses to see what is being accomplished yet again by this administration and especially The Fist Lady Michelle Obama who championed this initiative to helping kids grow healthy.

Today, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama jointly delivered remarks during the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 at Harriet Tubman Elementary School, Washington, D.C. This new law will provide $4.5 billion in new funding and will give USDA the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods regularly sold in schools creating a national standard. It also will increase the number of eligible children enrolled in federally subsidized school meal programs by approximately 115,000 students.


Posted by: angellight on December 14, 2010 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth, I suspect the GOP will ignore Stewart's admonition . . . .

That's a given. They hate Comedy Central with a passion now that they've figured out that Stephen Colbert is making fun of them (those that have figured it out, anyway). We already know that the Republicans no longer have the human ability to feel shame.

The real question is, will the presstitutes in the corporate-controlled media feel any shame for their journalistic malpractice?

The real

Posted by: SteveT on December 14, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

ABC, CBS and NBC ignored this story?
Unless one remembers that only a handful of corporations contol all of the news in this country. Someone at one of those corps must have figure it might somehow cost the company a few nickels somewhere along the road.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 14, 2010 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart has some excellent punch lines...

in which he makes the point, clearly, cruelly, and amusingly. Why not start using them ourselves? Every time the "Bush tax extension AND MORE!!" bill comes up at the water cooler, for example.

The beauty of humor is that people remember a good laugh line, and are likely to repeat it. When it makes a valid point, it's even better - Gawd knows, the Democrats never give us any slogans or smart encapsulations like the professional comedians can.

Watch the video again. Take notes.

Posted by: zandru on December 14, 2010 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

In the universe that I live in, the press responds to political theater. The press will cover the issue if the Democrats raise a stink. We know that because when Anthony Weiner threw a fit -- "The Gentleman is correct in sitting!" -- the press had no problem covering it. Conflict! Exciting!

The fact is that the Democrats either didn't want to or didn't know how to make a public spectacle out of this. (Yes, I know it is really the GOP's fault. But I elected Democrats to solve that problem, not point it out to me.)

Where was the Weiner-like outrage over the GOP's obstruction from the Senate Democrats? Not only are the Democrats incapable (or unwilling) to stand up to the GOP over anything, they are incapable (or unwilling) to make the GOP pay a political price.

Posted by: square1 on December 14, 2010 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Article: "The segment also noted that the Senate GOP, in an act of cowardice, was willing to unanimously block consideration of the [9/11] bill, but not one was willing to speak on the subject: "They won't be so cowardly as to as to not vote without justifying their actions -- just cowardly enough not to do it on camera."

This is a perfect description of the modern Republican Party in America, i.e., hypocrites and cowards doing their mischief against the nation in the shadows.

Posted by: max on December 14, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

"presstitutes in the corporate-controlled media" Steve T

Presstitutes. Oh, that's gooood! As Jon Stewart says, "Me Likey."

Posted by: DAY on December 14, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Another reminder of the poor/very bad media we have.

Posted by: joan on December 14, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

At least New Yawkers have stepped up and are willing to pay the bills for those injured due to the terror attacks at the WTC. Once again a blue state having to pay the bills for those from red states who use 9/11 as some sort of political tool.


Posted by: flyonthewall on December 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

9/11 was a moment of shame for Bush/republicans, they ignored warnings while they played golf, they had a memo telling them how we would be attacked and failed in every way. Perhaps someone could enlighten me why they use 9/11 as a badge of honor when they should cringe at the very mention of how they messed up.After 9 months of Bush doing nothing he let us get attacked, now after 2 years of Obama we have not been attacked again in spite of the enemies being stronger now because of our wars.I can only think it is the Karl Rove plan of taking your failures and painting them as strengths to a gullible American

Posted by: JS on December 14, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Au contraire. Fox is trying to spin that the failure to pass the law is in fact a failure of "Congress". This piece redefines the word disingenuous.

Posted by: jomo on December 14, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I have been trying to figure out how to give the people at ABC, NBC and CBS a pass on this. I can't. We were all wrong for assuming they would report the story everybody here knew about. They must have assumed that we wouldn't notice. They were wrong on that one, or that we in the liberal blogosphere wouldn't raise a stink. They were right right up to last night.

Boys and girls, everybody has a little blame here including the MSM, the Democrats and us. Once we noticed that CBS, ABC, and NBC were missing the story we should have lit the lights on their switchboard. I am sure a lot of people here work at newspapers and for local tv stations across the country, where were your stories? Does your contract with AP say you can't write your own stuff? A little truth here, a little outrage there and you might even encourage people to read your rags.

At the beginning of the 20th Century a lot of small newspapers stirred up a lot reform publishing important stories William Randolph Hearst ignored. A lot of those small newspapers became important and made money for their owners, publishers, editors and reporters.

Where are the spirits of those old pioneers.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 14, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

It's ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS Okay If You're A Republican. ALWAYS.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on December 14, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

I am sick of IAOKIYAR. That is lame excuse for our inaction America can no longer afford. We have to pound on the doors of the editorial boards across the country.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

The truly surreal aspect of all this is the fact that the only other network (other than TDS) to broadcast a segment on this issue was FAUX NEWS, and the only reason they did that was because they omitted the fact that the failure to enact the legislation was due to republican obstruction. Unfuckingbelievable.

Square1 is right. Murkans and the press love a good fight, but the Dems aren't up to it. Why?!!

We need to start asking that question. I plan on calling my representatives again (and again and again).

Posted by: bdop4@yahoo.com on December 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Watching Stewart's show, you can tell when he's just having fun and when he's genuinely p*ssed, and obviously this is the latter. All of us need to spread this around as much as we can: Facebook, Twitter, email. Send it to everyone you know, the way right-wingers mail their silly lies to everyone they know.

Posted by: Wally on December 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

It is counter-productive to get upset with the corporate media for not reporting news that is unfavorable to republicans.

On the Health Care ruling yesterday in the Virginia federal court, did you expect the corporately owned media to report that it is the only one of 15 separate suits that have not been thrown out of court or ruled against or awaiting ruling? Did you expect the corporately owned media to report that the federal judge and the Va. attorney general who filed the suit are business partners?

It is a fact of life that rethugnicans have spent decades screaming about the 'liberal media' and that the Amerikan Sheeple have mostly bought into that lie. It is a fact of life that ALL of the major media are corporately owned and not a damn one of the owners is a progressive. It is a fact of life that the corporate media is not much more than an echo chamber for the rethugnican party.

Did you expect the corporately owned media to point out that the Obama-rethug tax plan will raise taxes on close to 30% of the lowest earners in our country?

You can call ABC/CBS/NBC all you want, but until you get filthy rich and buy controlling interest in them they will continue to promote repuke perspectives as 'the news'. The 'news people' of the corporately owned media will continue to do what is needed to keep their well paying jobs and continue to 'report the news' from the perspective of their wealthy and corporate owners.

Accept that we are fucked and move on!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on December 14, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Also, as c u n d gulag notes, net neutrality is a core principle we should be willing to fight to the death for. Literally.

If that goes, any chance at getting to the truth is gone.

These bastards are backing us up against a wall. At some point, we have to start asking who's really in this fight.

Posted by: bdop4 on December 14, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall hearing that President Obama absolutely could have gotten a much better deal on taxes because Republicans wouldn't dare let unemployment insurance lapse for so many people. Um, if Republicans will do this, is there anything they won't dare to do? Especially considering hw easy it is for them to get away with it?

Posted by: Steve M. on December 14, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

This is one of Stewart's BEST takedown pieces EVER!!

Posted by: bruce k on December 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Is it too late to bring the Zadroga 9/11 bill up again? If they can would ANY Dem be willing to perhaps make a video montage just like Stewart did and resent it on the floor of the Senate and see how it plays. I bet Bernie Sanders would. He seems to be the only liberal in that chamber with the courage and balls to do it.

Posted by: Chris on December 14, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce K has it right, as does wally. Stewart is more than pissed--he is righteously so. And this time, that reflex has led to some first rate interpretive journalism.
And to think that once upon a time, Mike Enzi seemed "mostly harmless." It's enough to make one wish Alan Simpson were still in the Senate--and almost enough to make Malcolm Wallop look acceptable.

Posted by: docdave on December 14, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, they are a shameless bunch so why the hell do I keep hearing Dems and the left saying they could be shamed into voting for unemployment extensions? learn and listen folks.

Posted by: Alli on December 14, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Steve M., the problem is Obama's logical inconsistency. Do I think that the GOP would have cut off unemployment insurance? No. Not because I think they have a heart. But because I think that even they would realize that it is stupid to overtly kick the voters in the teeth. But that isn't the point.

The point is that Obama has sabotaged efforts to portray the GOP as a nihilistic and completely obstructionist political force with his constant calls for bipartisanship. He's the one who is always telling us that "neither party has a monopoly on good ideas". He is the one that has spent two years vouching for their sanity and reason.

Well, if Obama believes that the GOP is sane and reasonable, why does he think they would really cut off unemployment benefits?

OR, if he believes that the GOP is so immoral that they would hold the unemployed hostage in order to give Wall Street bankers tax cuts, why hasn't he aggressively attacked them? Why isn't he holding press conferences and making Oval Office speeches directly to the public warning Americans of the "Clear and Present danger presented by an opposition party that will risk destroying the middle class in order to give tax cuts to special interest donors"? Why don't I hear that rhetoric coming from the White House?

There are two options. Either Obama is an extraordinarily weak negotiator who caves at the drop of a hat. Or he is pulling a fast one on his base and secretly wants all the Bush tax cuts extended. Take your pick.

Posted by: square1 on December 14, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart deserves a Pulitzer. In fact, they should probably just rename the prize for him.

Posted by: beejeez on December 14, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, they were all set to lead with it. Then someone yelled "Boo" at Prince Chuck and scared Lady Cammi-knickers, and that was the real story of the weekend.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on December 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Accept that we are fucked and move on!" sez the AngryOldVet

Yeah, that's what we should have told Hitler, right? Would have saved you a lot of trouble, eh?

But seriously - and less rudely personally - it's about time that lib/progressives quit just kicking back and whimpering, even when done in a sophisticated and cynical manner. Every time you lay back and "accept" it, you set the stage for getting screwed again.

There are things that individuals can do. Like calling your local affiliates and media HQ to complain. Expressing your outrage to your elected Reps, particularly if Democratic.

This country has made an overly-big deal out of "9-11" and the Republican Party has made it a literal trademark, even holding their presidential convention on the smoking ruins of the WTC: their most "hallowed ground" besides the grave of John Wilkes Booth.

People need to notice this vote, and stick it in their face. Tell the media so.

Posted by: zandru on December 14, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't I hear that rhetoric coming from the White House?

The only place you will hear rhetoric coming from the WH is the WH itself. Don't count on the media to repeat the WH like it does for Congress and specifically the repugnant side.


Posted by: flyonthewall on December 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Could you even imagine if a Democratic minority in recent years filibustered a, well, a moderate healthcare bill for 9/11 responders? The banshee screaming would be so deafening and sustained that media satellites would fall from the sky in smoking heaps from the overload. But switch the D and R tags, and given the our society's wiring that “mainstreams” all things right-wing, and what is it, again? Tree falls in the forest? That they still had to cower and hide a bit is telling to how crap of a craven political and soulless move this was, but ideology trumps all (including human lives, but we knew that), and when the Republicans have to bet that the corporate media will yawn and move on, they know, that one’s money in the bank.

Nice touch as well using “God Bless the USA” in the collage, a staple tune for the last decade’s worth of Republican 9/11 grandstanding. This segment should be run as a public service announcement every commercial break from here to eternity. But it won’t. It will fall quietly in the forest, unheard and quickly forgotten, or, more accurately, not even known of in the first place.

Posted by: jsacto on December 14, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

One of the reasons the establishment is trying to stop WikiLeaks is to keep the 9/11 fear alive.

It's just been reported that, "The head of Australia's intelligence analysis agency, the Office of National Assessments, told US diplomats in October 2008 that al-Qaeda 'ultimately has failed to achieve the strategic leadership role it sought within the Islamic world'".


Republican or Democrat, they're pretty much all crooks and liars.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on December 14, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

What a shame. The media is so consumed with the group think in Washington, D.C., it fails time and again to do its job. People in the news media are jockeying for positions to boost their own name recognition.

They are much more concerned with landing contracts to write their latest books, as opposed to covering issues that touch the lives of real people.

Better yet, if it was the Democrats that had voted in lock step against this bill, we would see them trot out one Republican after another telling us why Republicans care more for the troops and Democrats don't.

The nerve of a congressman to talk about how superior his party's principles are compared to others is just laughable.

These are some of the same people who vote against every measure to give gays their rights, but will secretly live their own lives as gays. Some principle, right.

Just like they claim to have he market cornered on God. But don't look or question any one of them for cheating on their spouses. Adultry must be a moral value. Those are the superior principled values they hold.

And time and time again, whether it is on such issues or the hypocrisy when it comes to voting on a bill for the 911 responders, their friends in the media will be there to coddle the Republicans.

These days, it is in vogue to trash president Obama, despite the obstacles he faces, not only from people in his own party, but from the recalcitrant Republicans.

It would be comical if we were not dealing with the serious issues we face in this country today.

Posted by: africa on December 14, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK
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