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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

"To call me a partisan hack is ludicrous. I am the least partisan person I know."

-- Tucker Carlson on CNN's Reliable Sources, March 15, 2009

And they say that conservatives don't know satire. Oh, excuse me. Carlson is a Libertarian. A Libertarian is a conservative who wants to do standup. I know. I wrote the comedy material for the Libertarian presidential candidate, Bob Barr.

As part of his attempted comeback to pundit hilarity, the fired CNN co-host, fired MSNBC host, Tucker Carlson has hit the political cable and news circuit with a bit on Jon Stewart and his take on CNBC and media-in-general's lack of oversight of big business and the stock market. I hated to give away his best punchline -- "To call me a partisan hack is ludicrous. I am the least partisan person I know" -- right away, but when you have comedy gold, you don't save it for dessert. You were waiting for Tucker to go Rodney Dangerfield.

"I tellya, Kurtz, I get no respect. No respect, I tellya."

Tucker had plenty more bullets in his frivolity belt.

"Jon Stewart is a partisan hack."

A-n-n-nd...snare drum.

See how that works? The juxtaposition of silliness is brilliant. Carlson's not myopic. Stewart is.

Shecky Carlson says so:

"(Jim Cramer's) real sin was attacking Obama's economic policies. If he hadn't done that, Stewart never would have gone after him. Stewart's doing Obama's bidding. It's that simple."

No matter that Stewart's been hammering CNBC for over a year. He had to know damn well that Obama was going to win even back then.

But Carlson's rare wit is not limited to his pundit standup. He waxes satirically in his own Washington Post column where he wrote, "Stewart is a player in the national conversation. He seeks to influence politics and policy, and he succeeds. It's time for him to admit that, and be held to the same standards everyone else at his level (including Jim Cramer) lives by."

And what standards are they? Are we talking about the standards that Cramer and Carlson report by? The pul-it-out-of-your-ass standard. How high is that bar ? Or is it the standard that should be expected of the supposedly real news people? Say, like Cramer's CNBC? A comedy show that because it is good at what it does is now responsible to be Meet The Press? Are we now talking CCFNN, the Comedy Central Financial News Network. It's the responsibility of a comedy show to report at the same "level" of investigative journalistic that the real news media is supposed to? Better get Samantha Bee right on it.

It's not to say that satire done well doesn't many times expose the absurdity of our policies and the shenanigans of those behind said policies, but to expect satirists to be held to real investigative standards is just as much of a foolish request as it is to expect a partisan hack like Tucker Carlson to admit that he's a partisan hack.

And if a serious financial channel becomes a joke are they then responsible to relegate a portion of their schedule to serious comedy? Introducing CNBC, the Comedy News Bullshit Channel... again?

The point is, Tucker Carlson is muy jealous. He has a problem with Stewart not only because Stewart called him for what he was four years ago on CNN's Crossfire, but because Stewart, while a comic, knows that when a bull takes dump it front of the whole world, it can only be called one thing. And that's what the market was unloading on the public long before Cramer and CNBC or most of the media smelled it. Carlson and the rest of good old pundits club stepped into the mess long ago, but refused to call the smell and the clump of dung on the bottom of their shoes for what it was. Now Carlson wants to heap the responsibility of watchdog onto someone who makes his living pointing out foibles. Foibles that are unrecognizable as such to Carlson and his pals.

"Where was Jon Stewart when the bubble was swelling? How many shows did he do on the coming financial collapse? Why didn't he warn us?"

Please. Tucker, if you want to be taken seriously, do your job. The media was held up to ridicule and shot down by a set up and punchline sharpshooter and instead of copping to it, your measure of analysis is to blame the messenger for not doing your job. Your "hack" attack on Stewart makes you look like a fool. Because he leans to what might be considered the political left may be true. But remember...

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean there's not someone following you.

Next up to our stage: The Prop Comedy of Mr. Bill O'Reilly.

Award-winning TV writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful, Steve Young was an original talk show host at L.A.'s KTLK and blogs at

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Albion Monitor   March 20, 2009   (

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