Where exactly is the overlap between what Jon Stewart does on The Daily Show and what Rachel Maddow does on her show? It's all bout discerning the line that satire draws between news and entertainment.
JON STEWART: But the one thing I don't have that you have is the ability to really do something about it. You're in the game. Like here's what people--
RACHEL MADDOW: You're in the game too. We're in the same game.
JON STEWART: I don't think so. I think you're in a better game than I'm in.
RACHEL MADDOW: How? What's the difference. What's the material difference?
JON STEWART: You're on the playing field, and I'm in the stands yelling things.
RACHEL MADDOW: Everybody sees you as on the playing field too, I think.
JON STEWART: Well, that may be but--
Does the fact that Jon Stewart opts out of literal political engagement make him less of a political player? Does anyone other than Jon Stewart get to decide Stewart's role in the national discourse? Can the Daily Show viewers who cite Stewart's show as their primary source of news or who identify Stewart as the most influential political figure in their lives veto his insistence that he's not in the game?
Or does the confusion between criticism, news and politics stem from the fact that news coverage has shifted so far toward entertainment that it brushes up against satire?
RACHEL MADDOW: I think that even-- that you think of it differently, but I think a lot of people who watch your show, and who watch cable news, think of what we do as not-- not being that different, which sucks for me.
Even if you're not launching it in the same way, it's being received in the same way. And-- and the barriers between what actually happens on cable news that you're satirizing, and what you're doing, we're not seen as being all that different.
JON STEWART: The only thing that I would say, it doesn't worry me. I can understand how it would worry people in the news. But what I do-- I have existed-- I am the Highlander. You know, there's been a form of me around in-- forever. A comedian who with political and social concepts criticizes them from a haughty, yet ultimately feckless perch, throwing things. Like that-- the box that I'm in has always existed. The box that you're talking about, I think is new. And so, I-- I do think if that's moving towards me, that's okay.