Rock ‘n’ Roll TV: Stewart’s Sayonara (Springsteen video included) & Ten Angry Men

Posted: August 7th, 2015 | Filed under: Culture, Politics, Ruminations, TV | 3 Comments »

newsIt’s just the morning after. (Actually afternoon, but I’m speaking metaphorically.)

So, it’s way too early to tell if last night’s television fare — the most compelling in memory — was a watershed moment of the medium?

It might have been. Stay tuned.

Even if not, what a fascinating double dip it was.

It was Fox News’s finest hour. The network that has turned passing off conservative propaganda as news into a fine art proved itself capable of at least one shining moment.

Moderators Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly actually moderated a captivating Q & A with the ten GOP presidential candidates currently leading in the polls. They asked tough but fair questions, the kind that had they been presented by Rachel Maddow would have had Hannity and O’Reilly calling her a “commie femoNazi Demo Dyke, pushing the Obama/ Clinton socialist agenda.”

Listen, I dislike Fox and what it stands for as much as the next old hippie liberal. But when the network did it right last night, even should it turn out to be not only the first time but the last as well,1 it deserves plaudits.

The forum — which it was more than a debate though interchange broke out periodically — was Must See TV between the hours of 9:00 and 11:00.

At which time slot, the nation turned its yearning eyes to John Stewart’s farewell gig as host of Comedy Central’s groundbreaking “Daily Show.”

It was a sweet sendoff, much more so than the night before when Stewart and his writers tried to hard to hit a grand slam, but ended up grounding out meekly back to the mound.

The capper to the whole evening — Stewart’s “moment of Zen” but a fitting final comment on the Fox Forum too — was the Boss, singing “Land of Hope and Dreams/ People Get Ready” with a segue to “Born to Run.”

So, before I consider the evening further, let’s enjoy that musical interlude one more once.

So, today’s question, though arguably premature, is, will last night’s doubleheader someday be considered a watershed cultural moment?

What with Fox News proving it can be worthy, honestly “fair and balanced” when it chooses to be, on the same evening its arch nemesis bids his adieu?

It’s a high bar. Television’s been there when it mattered for over a half century now.

Joseph Welch calling out Joe McCarthy in the early 50s. Man walks on the moon. Twin Towers falling. Richard Nixon, shvitzing like a pig on a stick, losing the ’60 election in the first televised debate. M*A*S*H’s finale. U.S. beats Soviet Union in Olympic hockey. Watergate hearings. Vietnam War nightly on Cronkite. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot and killed. The ’68 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Elvis’s ’68 Comeback Special.2

Okay, looking at that quickly assembled, far from complete list, I realize last night’s events might not stand the full test of time.

But it was stellar nonetheless.

Stewart’s been on Fox’s case for years now. Most objective people would say fairly so, even if Stewart’s methods have been more than a bit smug.

So, how ironic it was. On the night he ends his run, Fox News actually steps to the plate and connects.

It may be just coincidence.

It may mean more.

We’ll have to see.

And, no, I haven’t the slightest idea who “won” the debate? But, more important, it was illuminating. Some candidates gave reasoned answers. Some were presidential. Some seemed not ready for an Oval Office.

What’s curious is how differing the reactions have been in social media and among the nation’s pundits. Some liked Rand Paul’s strategy of trying to interject himself, several times out of turn. Others thought it foolish and defeating.

Anyway, I’m not going to get into all of that.

What I know is the bar’s been raised. Much to my surprise. Are any of the “liberal” networks going to host a Democratic debate? Will their moderators be willing to ask tough questions and demand answers? Same query for those who emcee when the Final Two are head to head?

As for the future of TV punditry, well, in the short run there’s a huge void.

In the long run, only time will tell who has fell and who’s been left behind?

What I do know is that Thursday night’s telly was a double bill for the ages.

Rock ‘n’ Roll TV.

3 Comments on “Rock ‘n’ Roll TV: Stewart’s Sayonara (Springsteen video included) & Ten Angry Men”

  1. 1 david said at 10:47 pm on August 7th, 2015:

    My wife and I made it til 9:30 when we turned on When early on one of the candidates said that “if the race is about who has the best resume then Hillary Clinton wins hands down,” that was enough for us. Anybody dumb enough to say that, even though true, is not worth listening to. What is it that gets most people hired if not their resume. Hillary Clinton, based upon her experience is the most qualified American to be president since Richard Nixon who, little did we know, was a psychopath. But he did open the door to China, passed the EPA, and introduced enterprise zones all while being a crook. Not one of those bozos
    last night can carry Hillary and Bill’s jock straps. I doubt that any of them said anything of substance in the last hour and a half we chose not to watch but you can let me know if you want.
    By the way if you want a Veep nominee for Hillary keep the congresswoman from Hawaii, Tullia (I forget her last name) who is incredibly impressive, in mind. She is an Iraq war veteran, is outraged that we have spent millions of dollars training Syrian rebels who have cut and run as soon as challenged, and has actually read the Iran deal which she is opposed to. Incredibly
    thoughtful and articulate. Unfortunately Hawaii has two few electoral votes for it to happen.

  2. 2 Trooper said at 6:43 am on August 8th, 2015:

    I find it more difficult with each passing year to remain open minded. You inspire me to try harder.

  3. 3 Mohamed said at 12:31 am on October 24th, 2015:

    This is a great picture. I rlaley like the fact that it looks as if the picture was taken over a body of water with a reflection in it. You have to look rlaley closely to figure out that the reflection is on the roof of a car.

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