October 19, 2004 11:48 AM PDT

Jon Stewart 'Crossfire' feud ignites Net frenzy

When comedian Jon Stewart blasted the hosts of CNN's "Crossfire" on the cable TV program, he ignited a frenzy of online activity.

On Friday night, the star of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" angered his "Crossfire" hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, saying they promote partisan political debate. The online transcript and video clips of the program immediately became an overnight sensation among Web surfers, bloggers and pundits alike.

As of midday Tuesday, online video hosting site iFilm said, more than 670,000 people had downloaded the CNN clip from its site. The clip runs for about 13 minutes.

Photo: Comedy Central
"The Daily Show" host
Jon Stewart fanned
Internet flames with his
roast of CNN experts.
The volume of downloads outpaced CNN's recent ratings numbers for the actual show, which has proved a hit for the network. "Crossfire" drew an average of 615,000 viewers per show during the month of September. But CNN said Friday's program attracted more than 867,000 viewers.

Links to the iFilm video and CNN.com's online transcript of the show have been posted to countless online bulletin boards and Web logs. Blogdex, a research project by the MIT Media Laboratory that tracks blog community activity, ranked the CNN.com transcript as the top online content being pointed to among bloggers on Monday. On Tuesday, the transcript was tied for the top spot on Blogdex's list.

The video clip also was a favorite among the peer-to-peer community. According to SuprNova.org, which tracks usage of the Bit Torrent file-sharing protocol, the segment is currently being offered for download by more than 1,100 different sources.

The rapid distribution of the clips and transcript illustrates the Web's growing political clout, according to at least one media expert. Jeff Jarvis, the creator of Entertainment Weekly magazine and current president of online creative firm Advance.net, said in his own blog that CNN may have missed the boat by not making the clips available for download to the general public. CNN also said a handfull of subscribers can access the clip online.

"What's fascinating about the Jon Stewart takedown of 'Crossfire' is not just what he said, but how his message got distributed," Jarvis wrote. "The really stupid thing is that CNN didn't do this themselves: 'Hey, we had a red-hot segment...you should watch; here, please, look at this free download because it will promote our (hosts) and our brand and our show and give us a little of that Stewart hip heat.' That's what CNN should have done. Instead, they'll charge you to deliver a videotape (what's that?) the next day."


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Read the new John Stewart book. It is the single FUNNIEST book I have read in ten years.

As for those scrotes Tucker Carlson and Robert "Pretty Boy" Novak:

Carlson, you're a fussy sixty-year-old man trapped in a pudgy 35-year-old(?) man's body (and quite possibly the most deeply closeted homosexual I have ever seen anywhere). Lose the bow tie, idiot. Dressing like you're a genteel and learn'ed WASP does not make one so.

As for YOU, Novak: Outting a CIA agent?? Are you out of your lily-livered mind?? There's a word for that in this country: treason. The only reason you're not tossing salads in Sing-Sing is because you went after one of Bush's enemies. If you had gone after one of Clinton's enemies your right-wing cronies would be calling for your head on a stick. You traitorous, treasonous, unprincipled SCUMBAG.
Posted by (25 comments )
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jon stewart re crossfire
I heard about the crossfire episode on the news last night and downloaded the show in question. Being a fan of jon stewart I wanted to know what was going on. After reading the transcript I have to say I am in total support of what Jon had to say,not only in regard to crossfire but all the news media and so called experts(pundits).
Keep the faith Jon, and tell it like it is.

S. Hale
Posted by (1 comment )
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It was hilarious
I don't usually watch CNN, but it was on one of the gym TVs and I saw Jon Stewart, and being a fan of Stewart's, I tuned my FM radio to the station that the gym TV was broadcasting on, and I have to say it was hilarious. I totally agree with Stewart's points. The media complained that Stewart didn't ask John Kerry hard questions when the senator was on his show. But Stewart's point, (and I agree), is that his show is a comedy show, not a tough question news show. I tend to lean to the conservative point of view, and I must say I was embarassed that the conservative host was being so jerky towards Stewart. I'm not sure what the host's name is, but he's the 35 year old that wears a bow tie, and I must say it was funny that Jon made fun that this guy wears a bow tie. Although I agree with Jon Stewart on this, I wish his show were a little more balanced in poking fun at each canditate. On Crossfire, Jon sayed he was going to vote for Kerry. Even without this information, I could have guessed that that was how we was going to vote based on how few jokes are made of Kerry's campaign compared to how many are made of Bush's. And it can't be argued that Bush's team provides more material, because Jay Leno seems to be able to be more fair and balanced in this regard than Jon.
Posted by jaximflash (236 comments )
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missed it by that much
Of course it can be argued that these evil freakin' geniuses off more material/// they are constantly undermining the very fabric of our way of like while blithely smiling and lying about it.. they are in power wreaking havoc.
Kerry is just a hapless candidate (who by the way is going to clean their clocks) wiht a doofus crew of mishandlers (who by the way are reaching the majority of americans with their message of vague hopefulness).
You act like Leno is in some way mildly funny!!??
Get the 411, dud.. lantern jaw is a tedious soporific for Hannity loving chumps. Real comedy viewers go right from Daily Show to wacky banal Dave (also for the hapless Kerry, without a doubt), if they go anywhere at all.
Posted by (22 comments )
Link Flag
I'm watching it right now - the entire clip is available on CNN for all to view at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/crossfire/" target="_newWindow">http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/crossfire/</a>
Posted by jmanico (55 comments )
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I know that some paying CNN subscribers can see it, but can everyone? I wonder if they put up the link after this story was published...
Posted by Bizplanman (13 comments )
Link Flag
Stopped watching a long time ago...
...The Daily Show was halarious years ago when Craig Kilborn hosted it. I gave John Stewart a chance, but my viewing dropped off. He's simply not as good as Kilborn. Me and my buddies would sit around the TV laughing so hard at his quips and five questions. The show has transformed into another bickering group of talking heads. Now he inverviews people who write books about his politics. Fire his ass! We don't care about your politics John. The show is NOT funny. Stewart has turned into exactily what he was making fun of. He has lost me. I could turn on the Daily Show and tune out of lifes problems. Stewart has highjacked the show for his own political ajenda.

You are a hack Steward, with your own ajenda. Please return Craig Kilborn to HIS show.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
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Message has been deleted.
Posted by (25 comments )
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But its just comedy!
..I've been watching the show since the beginning, when it was actually funny. Now clips are shown on other stoggy news channels. That's a warning that your show isn't cool anymore. Stewart has highjacked the show to push his own political ajenda. The show was about making fun of pundits. Now he has become one. Comedy isn't about hatred.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
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John Steward is as bad as them...
..his "comedy" involves bashing people. That's it. He has polarized his audience. I hope Bush doesn't get re-elected so his unfunny hack fest of a show shrivles up and blows away. Maybe then he can go back to talking about his spectacular acting job in "Big Daddy" (Mentioned in every episode.)
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
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..of how much of an a$$ Steward makes of hisself on national TV, I'm glad my vote for the libertarian party will cancel his out.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why do you think we care what you think of Jon Stewart? The discussion was about the Crossfire show, not whether you think Jon Stewart is funny, numbnuts. Jon Stewart was right on with his points on crossfire, and no, as Tucker observed, he wasn't being funny. Kind of the point. My favorite part was the audience backing up Stewart and laughing at Tucker and Bagala.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Video posted on AOL for Broadband
CNN's sister company was promoting it on their Welcome Screen on Tuesday -- marquee billing!
Posted by (1 comment )
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...nice one. I agree that Kilborn's network show was for $hit. I have not read Stewart's book so I will reserve opinion on that one.. But I must say that his show has gone downhill since ALL he talks about is politics. The Daily Show was a refreshing change. Now it's just another Bill Maher or Dennis Miller.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This thing workeed out great! No problem here.
I'm happy that CNN was left out in the cold on this one and
didn't profit any more than it did from the hoopla. Maybe then it
will get through to them that more people agree with Stewart's
POV. I have been getting ill watching the news channels for a
long time now and would boycott them if it weren't an election
year and didn't feel like I had to monitor them. I cringe when I
witness news anchors and "news show hosts" being flies on a
wall as the news I want to them to deliver I have to get from
other sources. I'm not looking for a left wing agenda. I simply
want to know about everything and not feel that "Big Brother" is
now finally upon us. I sincerely can't believe they've hung past
presidents out to dry and they're so forgiving to one that needs
to be. I just don't get it.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Theatre - American Gladiator Style
It's funny how I remember my histoy teacher once said in class that "history tends to repeat itself". Today, in America (whenever I am there), I am fascinated by the gladiatorial mauling of people, issues and neuroses by the media.

I am up one day at 7 a.m. getting ready for a meeting in my hotel. And on "Today" - one of the topics for the show was "You only have 1 minute to impress someone...and we show you how". Geez - no wonder most Americans are a bundle of nerves and fear their own shadows. Let's not even go near Jerry Springer or Maury Povitch.

But Jon Stewart hit it right on the nail. Most of the Big Media programs have become theatre. Not surprisinly people are turning to his show, or The Tonight Show or David Letterman's to get informed about politics and life in general. The absurdity of Big Media reporting is a joke and if that's the case, might as well get it from the daily funnies. It is hurting America, and to a lesser extent hurting us too all around the world.
Posted by (2 comments )
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john stewart and crossfire
Regardless whether you find his own show funny or not, Johns comments on Crossfire were for the most part right on the mark. And if our news media can't take criticism and do some introspection then we are truly in trouble.

My read on John's point is that shows like Crossfire engage in such excessive partisan dialogue there is little room left for any meaningful substance (at least for those of us who are not partisan idealogues and who would actually like to hear substantive points of view that might differ from our own). I felt John started off trying to deliver that message in a mostly comedic manner. Looked to me like Tucker immediately when to defcon 5 and basically refused to fully discuss Johns issue. Tuckers point about John being soft on Kerry when he was on the Daily Show is accurate, but Tucker was attempting to change the subject. I did think John was over the top calling Tucker a d1ck (even though Tucker was pretty much acting like one). Paul and Tucker should have simply took Johns point like men and debated it with him; that would have actually been a good discussion (and funny if Tucker could have kept the broomstick out of his a$$); and I think Paul and Tucker could probably have scored a few counterpoints as well  lost opportunity for them.
Posted by (1 comment )
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