White-a-Palooza: Jon Stewart's Rally & TV Show Less Diverse than Tea Party?
***UPDATE: Because it might not be the most up-to-date, the photo of the comparison crowd shot has been removed and replaced.
I can think of a lot of rough jobs for a cameraman. Despite being the dream job of every adolescent boy, I imagine that working on an adult film can get quite tedious, (and often disgusting). Working for C-SPAN has to be difficult, fighting to stay awake during long Congressional procedures. On the other hand, if I had to shoot an episode of the new NBC comedy “Outsourced,” I would envy the cameraman working for C-SPAN, if only for his job security. But I think the roughest camera job of last weekend had to be working behind the lens at the "Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear."
I can only imagine some of the screaming that was going on in the wireless earpieces from the directors van: “You idiot, that’s Sarah Palin in a Hitler costume, find something else!” or: “Pull it in, you’re showing too much green space!” and the inevitable: “Find another black person, we’ve shown her three times already!”
This was probably the roughest order. Finding diversity at the rally, was like looking to for clams in the chowder at a discount seafood buffet: nothing but potatoes, cream, and crackers. I kept wondering when the director would slip backstage, and ask some of the musicians to wander out into the crowd, so they could get a couple shots.
Because the lack of color did not go unnoticed. During the Rally, John Stewart even said, “if you have too many white people at a rally, your cause is racist.” Who was he referring to? I’ve known many hard-core Stewart fans, and they all point to the monochromatic nature of the the Tea Party as proof of the underlying racism. Stewart himself once referred to the Tea Party as being “Thousands of disgruntled people of non-color taking to the streets.” (Yet polls demonstrate that the tea party is only around 79% white.)
The truth is, that if the people at the rally were to see pictures of it, and be told that they are looking at the Beck rally, they would say, "look at all the white people!" It’s not unlike the phenomenon of parakeets looking in a mirror, and seeing another animal. Daily Show fans have a problem recognizing themselves, they think they are younger, more diverse, and smarter than they really are.
A recent Hollywood Reporter article points out that it’s not just the audience of Jon Stewart who are lacking in melanin. Apparently their guests are as well The Daily Show ranked dead last in a survey of Late-Night guest diversity. Perhaps it has something to do with the writing. The staff of the show is mostly male, and except for Wyatt Cenac, they are as white as the front row of a Justin Beiber concert. Fox News has more diverse shows.
CBS News is now putting attendance at 215,000 (compared to their estimate of 83,000 at the Beck Rally. --strange, because people on our side tend to invert those numbers). This might seem like a disappointing success, but you have to remember their advantage: Not only did Oprah and Arianna drop a few van-loads of kids off at the concert, there were people who work for Viacom bussed in from New York as well. As my buddy Mike Wilson pointed out: You probably noticed them, they were to ones in the special VIP section, pretending to have a good time.
Also, a lot of the people at the rally live and work in DC. Since Obama took over, the only people who have jobs and free weekends are government workers. Beck's rally was attended by people who had to drive hundreds of miles to get there.
Since their back-up excuse of, "We don't care if our numbers were low, it was a just comedy show" was negated by the startling lack of comedy; the numbers had to be inflated. The final skit with John Oliver in a Peter Pan costume was embarrassingly unfunny. The applause at its conclusion was more from relief than a compliment.
The whole crowd seemed to be there by out of duty, rather than genuine enthusiasm. (In the case of the Viacom employees, they had to feign both). If this is any indication of how people will vote on Tuesday, the Democrats should start packing right now.