Daily Show 3/9: Interesting interview

So Jon’s guest tonight was former Bush speechwriter and author of the book “Courting Disaster,” Marc Theissen.

It got pretty contentious. I’ve never actually seen Jon get that fired up, emotional and argumentative. Theissen claimed Jon talked through him the whole time and didn’t let him make a point. I kind of agree, although I don’t think Theissen seemed like much of a debater. Jon was debating circles around him, even when Theissen got a point.

I’m interested in seeing the rest of the interview online when it gets put up.

Any thoughts?

I actually was getting annoyed with Jon because he really was just talking over his guest. Normally I’m a big fan of Jon’s interviews where he confronts people but Jon just kept interrupting over and over again; he’d even interrupt to apologize for interrupting! If I were talking to someone and they behaved that way, I’d get pretty pissed off.

I got the exact opposite impression. Every time Jon started to make a point, Theissen interrupted him (and then whined about being interrupted when Jon tried to finish his point).

It’s bound to be contentious when the topic of discussion is “people that think like you are terrorists.”

Jon did interrupt more than usual, but that’s because Theissen would make a disingenuous statement that Jon felt needed to be explained.

I haven’t seen the episode yet, but it’s a bad habit with Jon. When he gets a person on the show he doesn’t agree with, he tends to get aggressive and interrupts a lot. Sometimes it’s deserved, sometimes I wind up shouting “Just let him talk, dammit!” And I’m almost always on Jon’s side.

That’s how I felt here. I think Theissen was dead wrong (or at least selective with the facts) on many points, and Jon was eager to correct him and call him out on the b.s., but it didn’t do Jon’s argument any service to spend most of the interview talking over the guy.

I’m watching the interview again, knowing about Theissen’s complaints having watched it earlier, and it really does seem overblown.

Jon interrupts him a lot, perhaps him unfairly. But for Theissen to say he had no chance to make his point is a pretty pointed lie. He wanted to be asked questions, not debate his book.

Jon did interrupt him a few times and occasionally dominated the conversation, but not to the degree that O’Reilly usually would on one of his contentious interviews. Unlike a lot of other conservative guests Jon has had on, however, Thiessen seemed overly emotional and quite a bit sanctimonious himself. The way he was outraged and indignant at “not being able to even get one point across” because Jon “steamrolled over him” when he actually did do a fair amount of talking was a bunch of whiny, self-pitying bullshit.

I thought Theissen was a whiny little ponce who thought he was going on a promotional interview and got an honest debate.

This was annoying to watch, to the point where I don’t want to check it out again to see how valid Thiessen’s point is, much less sit through a full version. Thiessen was lying out his ass and Stewart was trying to offer some insights instead of talking points, but he did talk all over him and it was not a good interview.

John did talk over Thiessen, but the opposite was true as well. The difference was that Thiessen wanted to toss out his talking points and have Stewart sitting there nodding.

The problem with Thiessen was that his arguments just weren't all that strong and he knew it. So when Jon would begin to call him on his bullshit, all he had left was "poor me, you won't let me talk."  He couldn't make a counter point because it was fairly obvious that he didn't have on. 

Stewart had read Thiessen's book and done some research. Thiessen, came off a a pompous ass who didn't know enough about his topic to have a debate.

Maybe Theissen’s next book should be a cookbook.

I couldn’t believe Thiessen strolled right into Stewart’s trap about defending pedophiles. Dodge, dude, dodge! Of course, I side with Jon. It was just remarkable to see that sort of clumsy failure.

Meh, when you repeatedly make stupid points like Thiessen was, you can only expect to get talked over when someone with better logic corrects your points. I don’t think it was unfair or as bad as Thiessen made it out to be.

Part II of the interview.

Stewart did talk a lot, and the analogy to global warming was from left field. He also didn’t play fairly: At one point he responded to a point by saying the equivalent of, “we could debate this point and here are three reasons why you’re wrong, but let’s move on to a different point,” without giving Theissen a chance to respond to the argument Stewart made-without-making.

Having said that, Stewart was well-prepared and had very good points to make and retorts to Theissen’s comments. As much as Theissen protested that he wasn’t getting to talk, he repeated the “mob lawyer” comparison after Stewart had discredited it – if the guy wants more airtime, he should use it more wisely than that. Theissen also made points that were false, and Stewart doesn’t let those go by the way most “serious” interviewers do.

Part III of III.

This Theissen guy is not real charming or convincing in his arguments. He reminded me of Tom Cruise in his psychiatry debate with Matt Lauer a few years ago. I kept waiting for him to say something along the lines of “Jon, Jon, Jon…you don’t even-- you’re glib. You don’t even know what Army Field Manual is.”

In part three, the guy lied to Stewart’s face like 8 times in a row on what a hypothetical is. God, that’s infuriating. Not that it was even a huge point, but being that much of an ass undermines what you’re trying to do.

Isn’t the bottom line that this guy is suggesting that these people should not be defended? Isn’t he largely just calling people who would defend them in a court of law terrorist sympathizers? That’s horrifying. That’s unacceptable.

The purpose of a defense lawyer is not primarily to put criminals on the streets. The purpose of a defense lawyer is to, well, babysit the prosecutor to make sure that they play fair. To monitor the process and ensure that all the rules are followed. Without defense lawyers, our legal system would be fascist and totalitarian.

Stewart also make a point of letting the audience know that the discussion would (as is often done on TDS) continue off-camera without time constraints, and could be viewed on the show’s website.