Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Reinhold Niebuhr award for Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart gets a (mythical) Reinhold Niebuhr award* for bringing good temper and integrity into the political fight.
The highest level of political ethics is to call out members of one’s own party. We expect to see Republicans calling out leftish commentators like Keith Olbermann, just as we expect to see Democrats criticizing Bill O”Reilly.  And to see Bill-O and Keith ranting out each other. Ho hum, no surprise there, and no contribution to the integrity of the political fight.
But when liberal Jon Stewart calls out liberal Keith Olbermann, that’s BIG, and surprising, and a contribution.
Our civic society is being ripped by the bitter antagonism between left and right, the worst since the bad old days of Senator Joe McCarthy, red hunts, and leftish defenses of Soviet spies. It’s made worse by the ease of getting all one’s news from a kind of “Daily Me,” an assortment of media that reflect only one’s own bias.
Stewart’s fair and balanced skewering of fellow-liberal Olbermann is in the highest traditions of Niebuhr’s goal of a healthy society. And funny as all get-out. Watch it at
Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, ‘The temper of and integrity with which the political fight is waged is more important for the health of our society than the outcome of any issue or campaign.”


Anonymous said...

right on!

Jack Marshall said...

Great award,and great choice,Bob. I felt badly giving kudos to Olbermann for taking the note rather than Stewart for giving it, though I reasoned that the bit was so funny that Stewart's motives could have been entirely pragmatic.

Bob said...

Stewart's motive is to have a funny show. But he could just poke at Cheney, Limbaugh, Boehnert, etc. They're rich targets. But he gets the award for ridiculing a fellow liberal. I'm anxious to make an award to Limbaugh when he attacks somebody on the right (for being too right--no credit for attacking a rightist for not being right enough).