American satirist calls rally for sanity

TV satirist Jon Stewart has announced his plans to run a “rally to restore sanity” in Washington next month to combat the rise of the “Tea Party extremism” that has set the news agenda in America over recent years.

Stewart’s tongue may be slyly in cheek, but the event is serious enough – rightwing news channels such as Fox News have been ablaze with incendiary reports of Qur’an-burning and mosque-building following the ninth anniversary of September 11.

Signs such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler” will be given out throughout the rally, summing up its attitude to extreme media reporting.

Announcing the rally on his programme The Daily Show, Stewart warned that a minority of 15-20 per cent of the country has dominated media rhetoric, and the ‘Million Moderate March’ will stand to contest the attitudes that dominate mainstream American media.

Stewart has been one of a few critics of unbalanced reporting in American broadcasting, often hitting out at rival network Fox News for the way it has documented Barack Obama’s presidency. His last appearance on the network, on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor saw the comic labelling Fox a “cyclonic perpetual emotion machine”.

“They have taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao,” he told O’Reilly, whose programme is broadcast on the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox.

Stewart’s march will take place at the historically appropriate National Mall, having been the place where Martin Luther King made his “I Have A Dream” speech, and more recently where rightwing Christian Fox News commentator, Glenn Beck, held his ‘Restoring Honor’ rally, an event which saw a predominantly white audience gather to “reclaim civil rights”.

(Source: MediaGuardian)

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