The Daily Show Online

23:39 Sun 21 Oct 2007. Updated: 02:40 22 Oct 2007
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Viacom’s new site for The Daily Show is quite good. I love the show, but didn’t watch it that often even when I had a television feed. And now, all its archives are available online in one massive time sink.

One of the things I admire about it is its ability to continue satirical operations despite situations that appear to be simply beyond satire. I think that much of the show’s genius comes when they just show clips, and highlight certain parts, and look appropriately stunned by them.

One personal favorite of mine is from 07 April, 2004, involving Condoleezza Rice testifying about pre-9/11 anti-terrorist preparedness. I’d watched some of the testimony myself, and found it unbelievable. Not so much that I couldn’t accept the incompetence, but rather that it was so obviously on display. Essentially, the Bush Administration appeared to figure that if they showed up and didn’t get too flustered, and stuck to insisting that none of it was their fault, they’d get enough help (from the media and from the legislature) that they’d be okay. The Daily Show‘s primary purpose could be interpreted as one of reminder/antidote—that is, to remind and reassure its viewers that the utter bullshit they saw firsthand (yes, I’m making some assumptions about their audience watching other news sources) really was bullshit, and that it wasn’t reasonable and fine and acceptable just because political and media circles closed ranks and said so.

I remember a whole slew of media outlets claiming that Rice did really well in that hearing, and that she demonstrated the Administration had done all that could be expected. This despite the classics in that clip, claiming the the briefing was a “historical document” rather than any kind of warning, then admitting that its title was “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within the United States”, and later insisting that the previous Administration hadn’t left them with a plan, but rather merely with a “series of actionable items”.

Of course, the true satire here might be in the date, more than anything else. 07 April, 2004, six whole months before the Presidential election. And the US still voted for Bush again—or close enough, for even with large-scale fraud, that margin should never have been anywhere close to letting that gang near the White House again. not merely disgraceful, but obviously and openly disgraceful, but that wasn’t enough to push them from the levers of power.

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