Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity gifted the world some very eloquent protest posters over the weekend.


But that might be about it, Guy Rundle writes today. He reports from Washington:

“It was exciting, it was wild, it was a mad carnival — and, it has to be said, something of a fizzer. It was all a little bit nothing, a little bit meh, it was something that had to be great to be good, and was just all right. It was odd and underdone and half-assed. It was a perfect expression of American progressivism today.”

So what to take out of all of it?

Never mind the Tea Baggers, Stewart saved his best for the media machine, all of which can be boiled down to the same themes that we’ve been hashing over back here in the wake of the election:

“The country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

“If we amplify everything we hear nothing.  There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate — just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker — and perhaps eczema.”

Rundle’s right, Stewart doesn’t exactly reach a zinger of a conclusion; there’s no call to arms. But it took a satirist to get more than 150,000 people to show, with their presence and their piss-take posters, that the: “…image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin and one eyeball.”

Meanwhile, the father of Fox News makes an appearance in this week’s Essential Report on attitudes towards the media. When asked:

“Rupert Murdoch owns most of Australia’s metropolitan newspapers including The Australian, Herald Sun, The Telegraph and The Courier Mail. Should the government allow one company to own the majority of Australia’s major newspapers?”

Voters responded:

TotalVote LaborVote Lib/NatVote Greens
Should allow15%13%20%12%
Should not allow50%56%47%56%
Don’t care26%24%25%26%
Don’t know9%8%8%6%

If you’re looking for an issue that transcends the insanity of party politics, look no further.

Peter Fray

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