Anyone who watched The Daily Show several years back might remember that Jon Stewart held a half-hour pay-per-view debate with longtime adversary Bill O’Reilly. It was the debate where Jon Stewart coined the term “bullshit mountain” as a takedown of the way O’Reilly constructs narratives to justify his points of view.
I watched the debate between Stewart and O’Reilly and by the time I got to the end, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of it was. I didn’t feel like anything of substance came from the debate besides a couple of funny lines from Stewart (like “bullshit mountain”). It was just a longer form of the same old debates Stewart and O’Reilly have on each other shows all the time, except now they were asking for money to watch it (I thankfully found an upload on YouTube to watch for free). The debate wasn’t about enlightening the audience in understanding differing perspectives of points of view. All the audience was there for was to rally behind whatever side they already supported. The whole spectacle was more comparable to watching a Dallas Cowboys/Philadelphia Eagles game than a robust, intellectually stimulating debate.