The producers pulled the YouTube video of the debate. There is apparently a way you can view it for a fee, but in a quick scour of the Internet, I could not find it, so I’m posting Jon Stewart’s recap of the debate from his show — although now this video seems faulty. We apologize for their problems.
“My friend Bill O’Reilly is full of … ” Stewart said at the start of his introductory remarks, helping set the tone.
The “Daily Show” host centered his remarks around the idea that many on the right live in an “alternate reality,” of which O’Reilly is allegedly the mayor. It’s a place, Stewart declared, where “problems are amplified, solutions simplified.” The name Stewart gave O’Reilly’s domicile was somewhat more spicy, but you get the drift.
O’Reilly, host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor,” pulled no punches either, accusing Stewart of defending an addled, entitlement-laden society, the “poster child” of which is Sandra Fluke. Fluke, the Georgetown law student who came under attack from Rush Limbaugh after she spoke out on behalf of contraception coverage, is the embodiment of a country that is “lazy,” “mooching” and overly dependent on the federal government, he said.
“Buy your own,” O’Reilly intoned as he read from one of his many flashcard props.
Stewart, defending Fluke and government spending for things such as public broadcasting from being placed on O’Reilly’s rhetorical chopping block, said that the U.S. already is an “entitlement nation” — citing Social Security and Medicare and, to roaring applause from the audience, the bailout of Wall Street during the recent financial crash.
On most issues, O’Reilly and Stewart bickered without any agreement – with the Fox News host calling for complete privatization of healthcare and Stewart endorsing a single-payer system, O’Reilly blaming unrest in the Middle East partially on President Obama being “weak” and Stewart citing a need for the U.S. to decouple from newly democratized countries. And so on.
But there was some common ground to be found.