Life as an Extreme Sport

Counting the Coverage: The Daily Show and Dicks*

For the past week plus, there have been rumblings in the blogosphere that Jon Stewart has not done enough to mock, slam, satirize, or otherwise shame New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, and the charge is two-fold: Stewart won’t because Weiner is a Democrat, and Stewart won’t because they were, for a time, college roommates, and have remained friends.

The charge that Stewart isn’t as hard on Democrats largely and unsurprisingly comes from conservative commentators (feel free to read “FOX News and fans” here); Stewart and The Daily Show shot to prominence in a post-9/11 world, and a lot of viewers (and/or detractors) didn’t have the experience of Clinton years for context. And it can be a bit hard to compare administrations against one another – it’s rare that political situations are ever similar enough that an apples to apples comparison can be done. (And this would be one of the reasons you literally get apple to apple comparisons on The Daily Show – it’s easier to show Rand Paul being a hypocrite and why than it is to try to show contrasting clips across different administrations.)

But for good or bad (and/or “reasons I moved out of New York state”), the Weiner “scandal” is something that has an almost direct one-to-one correlation: NY Rep. Chris Lee, Republican, who resigned in February after emails and a shirtless photo were sent to a woman in response to a Craigslist dating advertisement.

Now, clearly these situations are not precisely parallel. While Lee and Weiner are both married men, Weiner (so far) has not been caught trying to lie about his identity or do more than send photos that were in bad (or at least juvenile) taste**. Lee, on the other hand, a self-described “classy guy”, lied about being a divorced lobbyist (and his age and other such things). He was looking for more, and the young lady involved wasn’t interested in liars. A quick Google search confirmed her suspicions; one eMail to Gawker later and Cuomo was holding a special election in Western New York.

So, not identical, but really damn close. Clearly the best thing to do, then, is to directly compare the coverage of these two events on The Daily Show. Now, Lee resigned Wednesday the 9th of February, which I believe was a dark week for The Daily Show. There is, of course, a problem here with a news cycle moving quickly, but surely something of such magnitude would be mentioned, right? After all, it’s a Republican resigning over a sex scandal, and given how “easy” Stewart has been on Weiner this past week and change, it’s inevitable that the Chris Lee resignation would be stretched out over several days.

Or, well. One.


On February 15th. That was interrupted by John Oliver’s need to discuss the Harry Baals government center in Indiana. You can view it here.

Note the similarities: jokes about the fitness of the representative, R.Kelly-esque R&B music with Stewart grooving in his chair. There’s even John Oliver involvement. But it was an entire “scandal” covered in approximately 2.5 minutes, highlighting the fact that Lee got lucky – he resigned the same day the Egyptian Revolution started. Lucky guy – the media was largely distracted.

Do I really need to compare the time dedicated to Weiner versus Lee, at this point? No, but I will anyhow.

The “event” begins on the night of May 27th, a Friday. While The Daily Show doesn’t film on Friday, rather coincidentally, they were dark that final week of May, as well. This means a lot of material to come back to on Monday – eerily similar to the Chris Lee scandal. The Daily Show even begins coverage on May 31st, a Tuesday. And this is how it breaks down:
May 3st, Tuesday: 6 minutes, 51 seconds
June 1st, Wednesday: 2 minutes, 59 seconds
June 2nd, Thursday: 4 minutes, 10 seconds, as well as an additional 2 minutes, 57 seconds and 2 minutes, 22 seconds.
June 6th, Monday: 4 minutes, 4 seconds
And for the most recent episode, Tuesday the 7th of June, we have:
5 minutes, 55 seconds
2 minutes, 49 seconds
4 minutes, 46 seconds

And that is not including several Moments of Zen.

Now, math has never been my strong suit, and even less so at nearly 6am. Nonetheless, it would seem that math is rather firmly on the side of “Weiner’s received far more coverage than Lee”, even though Weiner is actually a friend.

Any way you try to slice it, Stewart has given more time and attention and mocking disbelief to his friend than he did a Republican representative in nearly the same situation. 34 more minutes of time, just to be exceedingly precise.

*Metaphorical or otherwise.

**Have you met the internet? Let me introduce you to it, where everyone under the age of 35 has done at least one stupid thing involving it, and many, many people have done many stupid things involving body parts typically best only seen through the haze of beer and dim light.

small things that bring faith in humanity

I mentioned a bit back about David Cook (current American Idol contestant) wearing an orange bracelet in support of a seven year fan who has leukemia. I noticed this last week, and simply haven’t gotten around to mentioning it now: he’s continued to wear the bracelet at media events and on American Idol, but as far as anyone can tell, he hasn’t used it once, or mentioned it in order to gain attention or votes.

A serious class act, and the sort of gesture that, as stupid as it sounds, on days (weeks) like today, is the sort of positive affirmation that not every human being sucks that is nice to have.

David Cook Wins. Period.

It’s not like I really needed another reason to like David Cook, but yesterday morning’s Idol recap from a Tampa affiliate actually might send me over the voting edge on America, for the first time ever.

Basic rundown for those who don’t want to watch (although you should, because it really is sweet): the person doing the wrap up was in Hollywood last week for the Fox meet’n’greet, and met Cook. While talking, he explained to Cook that his teenage daughter, Lindsey, was a huge fan. He also told him how much it meant that she got excited about the show right now, because she was diagnosed with leukemia on Christmas day. So Cook stops what he’s doing, and asks for the guy’s cell phone so he can call her and say hello.

Score one massive amount of goodwill with me.

But it doesn’t stop there. The announcer also told him about the orange bracelets her friends and family wear, with the motto Lindsey uses to get through chemo, and her name. Cook asked if he could have one, promising to wear it on the show this week, and the announcer gave him the one off his wrist.

Did he wear it? Yep. At several points during Eleanor Rigby, his jacket pulls back and you can see the bracelet. Lindsey apparently went wild through the roof, and she and her father voted a million times each.

After that, so will I.

Apparently DCook’s older brother Adam has been battling cancer (from the sounds of it, leukemia) for a while, too. It’s a big and strange club of solidarity to be initiated into.

Edited to change the few details I got wrong, per the comment below. Thanks for the clarification!

American Idol, Top 12, Results

Huh. Well, I didn’t call that one, although it was in my bottom of performances. Goes to show – it’s better to be worse than unmemorable.

A couple of videos worth watching. First, the return of the Pimpermercial! Ah, Pimpermercial, how I love thee:

And a group sing! Sometimes the group sings are good, other times not so much. This one actually falls on the good side, especially Michael Oz, who seems to have found something he’s been missing – if he could pull out a performance like this next week on something, he’d rapidly find himself back in the running. I also thought it was interesting that he was the primary one to harmonize with the gals (and sounded great doing it). I always find it interesting both to see who gets the groupsing focus, and how each soloist sounds literally right next to one another.

Also, after seeing that, I’d really like to see Michael Oz bust out a full cover of Can’t Buy Me Love. Maybe David Archie and Amanda, too.

If you watched that last video, you know that next week? More Lennon/McCartney songbook. My poor father.

American Idol, Top 12

Oh right – we have a new stage and intro! Huh, I kind of like it, although I’m going to miss the seal. And the video screens everywhere are… strange. The band is all spread out, Ricky Minor’s getting some attention with prominent positioning. Looks like we have new lights, too – and tonight’s theme is… under the sea! Where’s Ariel when you need her?

Anyhow, they’re going to massacre The Beatles tonight. Let’s get this over with.

Top Three: David Cook, Brooke White, Amanda Overmyer
Bottom Three: Kristy Lee Cook, Syesha Mercado, David Hernandez
Top Six: David Cook, Brooke White, Amanda Overmyer, Michael Johns, Carly Smithson, Chikezie
Should Go Home: Kristy Lee Cook
Will Go Home: Syesha Mercado

Here’s your Must Watch performance of the week: