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Oprah sends Daily Show audience to Stewart's retitled Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear



rallyposters.jpgAt a time when even a local TV station used the term "Obamacare" to reference the government health care legislation, it is interesting to see  the boldfaced name lining up behind Daily Show host Jon Stewart's anti-hysteria Rally to Restore Sanity.

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey became the latest celebrity to sign up, announcing on Thursday's Daily Show that she was going provide transportation for everyone in that day's audience to attend Stewart's Oct. 30 rally (why Stewart, who reportedly earns millions between his Daily Show gig, standup comedy shows and books, didn't do it himself, remains a mystery).

Stewart and pal/onscreen nemesis Stephen Colbert also announced they would merge their rally efforts into a newly-named event dubbed the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The enthusiasm that Stewart's idea has unleashed may have the unfortunate impact of shunting Colbert's shtick to the side, as those desperate to sidestep the noise of this year's election season turn to this event as their beacon of hope. (fans can upload their own signs and vote on whether thy are sane or scary at or

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington made headlines earlier by promising to bus New Yorkers to the rally; an effort latest estimated to cost about $250,000 (no wonder Stewart didn't step up). Comedy Central employees are also going to reportedly be on the road in buses; more than 205,000 people have promised to attend on Facebook, with another 111,000 "maybe" attending and more than 324,000 invited but not yet decided.

News organizations have also warned their employees about attending a rally which seems like entertainment on the surface, but may boast a political message beneath. National Public Radio has told its employees not to attend if they are not covering the event; others have cautioned staffers to merely observe and avoid actions which look like participation (some columnists have noted no similar directive went out about rallies organized by Glenn Beck, Al Sharpton or the One Nation organization, others have said NPR seems to be telling its employees not to be curious)

The line, for journalists is sticky one; when even attendance at a rally is construed as support -- hence all the arguments over how big the audience is for these events -- reporters must be careful a curious look-see isn't taken the wrong way.

As humorist Andy Borowitz first pointed out to me, this is a bonanza of publicity for both Stewart and Colbert in the final weeks before Conan O'Brien debuts an hourlong late night talk show on TBS which would directly compete against both of them. Parceling out announcements about details on the rally ensures a buzz leading up to the event, which will follow a week's worth of shows in Washington D.c. right before the elections.

I think hypocrites on both sides of the aisle better be very afraid.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear Announcement
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

[Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 12:32pm]


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