- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006

I’ve just about had all I can take of the increasingly haughty Tribunes of Truth Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They’re funny guys who, alas, read too much of their own press. I’ve written previously about Stewart and tried to make the point that by playing political hardball and then cowering behind his clown credentials — my friend Robert Schlesinger aptly coined it the “chuck and duck” strategy — Stewart either overestimates the standards of political rhetoric or seriously underestimates the power of satire.

As it is, he has it both ways and plays the game of “Truthiness” as shrewdly as he believes the Bush administration does.

I cringed all over again about Stewart recently as he interviewed (see the segment here) Ramesh Ponnuru, one of the sharpest young conservatives in the business, about Ponnuru’s pro-life treatise “The Party of Death” (which I’m reading, and learning much from, now).

Stewart is in full chuck-and-duck mode: he self-satisfyingly makes his points and then smugly hides behind audience cheers as though he’s just won a huge pot at the poker table. Ponnuru is a good sport throughout, and I can only hope he sold a few thousand copies of the book after having sat through Stewart’s shtick.


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