Jon Stewart (left) appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" Wednesday and Thursday. (AP Photo)
If you were expecting explosions during Jon Stewart's two-day guest spot on "The O'Reilly Factor," you undoubtedly were sorely disappointed.
Stewart and host Bill O'Reilly simply did the same dance they always do, with or without each other. Stewart complained that Fox commentators turn political disagreements into emotional "panic attacks." O'Reilly complained that NBC -- and Stewart's show in particular -- is all about Obamaphilia.
The usual barbs were exchanged, but basically it was a civil conversation about issues.
Among other things, they argued about Sarah Palin's characterization of "Real America," with O'Reilly backing Palin, of course, and Stewart insisting that beliefs are individual rather than regionally proscribed. We disagree with both Stewart and O'Reilly. Party affiliations and ideological tendencies do tend to cluster by region -- but every region is "real." The implication that only people who agree with Palin are "real" Americans is ridiculous and insulting. Real people went to real polls and elected a real President whose real party is still in the real majority in both the Senate and the House. Real. Real. Real.
Who won the Stewart-O'Reilly debate (or as we like to call it, battle of the network blowhards)? That depends on whose show you normally watch. It's not as though this conversation was ever expected to get anyone to change sides. O'Reilly already has convinced his audience that they are the truly informed ones, unlike Stewart's viewers, whom the Fox host characterizes as "stoned slackers." But the fact is, a recent Pew survey found that Stewart's viewers were better informed than O'Reilly's -- although not by much.
You watch it, you decide: