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My Ordeal with Jon Stewart and His ‘Cone of Silence’ Event

Want a press pass? Dear Leader cannot be reached at this time.

by
Richard Pollock

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October 29, 2010 - 3:15 pm
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Members of the MSM, who might have once thought they lived in the capital of the Free World, found themselves doubly degraded during Jon Stewart’s interview with President Obama. The entire Washington press corps discovered they were in the very uncool position of being outsiders at Mr. Stewart’s insider extravaganza. This is how the intimate White House pool report began:

The taping began around 5:30 at the Harman Center for the Arts. Pool held outside of auditorium in a hallway with a live feed of the event in progress.

Yes, the pool amounted to watching a TV in a hallway.

This is not what you would expect from a comedy show broadcasting from an upscale Shakespearean theater in the nation’s capital. I’m not sure exactly what the PR commanders-in-chief at Comedy Central were expecting with this blanket undercover operation, but this entire week feels more like a CIA field action in the Swat Valley rather than a PR rollout in the nation’s capital.

The most intriguing question this week: what happened to Stephen Colbert? He has all but disappeared from this event. Where is he?

First, the two show hosts were to wage “dueling” rallies. Then they merged. Then Colbert lost the title of his event (March to Keep Fear Alive). Then Colbert disappeared from D.C. altogether.

In this highly scripted event, this is what we know about this rally-cum-promo. According to the Washington Post’s Gog Blog:

The jumbotrons will flicker to life with music and videos at 10 a.m. but the live entertainment won’t begin until noon, when the Roots — by now, no strangers to playing on the Mall — will perform a 40-minute set.

The rally/march begins in earnest at 1 p.m. with remarks by Stewart and Colbert, the latter of whom will be joined by actors Don Novello (Father Guido Sarducci) and Sam Waterston (Law and Order) before musical performances by Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, and Sheryl Crow. That takes us up to 2:40 p.m. or so, when the show goes pre-taped for what is being called “The Sanity and Fear Awards.” Everything ends by 3 p.m.

If that all seems mighty quick to you, rest assured that the itinerary released by the National Park Service has plenty of “to be determined” space built in: there will be “a comedian” to warm up the crowd.”

And for those of you who want to see it, well Comedy Central will own all the rights, which is what Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert do when they embrace capitalism and authoritarian control of the media. According to the New York Times:

The channel will also carry the press conference with Mr. Stewart scheduled after the event; Comedy Central will own the rights to the broadcast but has no plans to replay it.

I don’t quite know what this is. So far, the only legitimate comedy I’ve come across from this experience was when terrorist Bill Ayers told reporters he believes the event is “worth attending.”

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Richard Pollock is the Washington, D.C., editor for PJ Media and the Washington bureau chief of PJTV.
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