The Daily Show's Jon Stewart opened his show this Tuesday with some coverage of the protests and rioting we've seen in Baltimore this week, and of course the media's reaction to what's happening, and in particular, CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
After noting that even the kids in Baltimore probably weren't too thrilled about being kept home for a "riot day" and that "once again the combination of an economically struggling city and a police force charged with keeping its citizens out of everyone else's view has combusted" just as we saw with Watts and Detroit in the '60's, Georgia in the '70's, Miami in the '80's, Los Angeles and St. Petersburg on the '90's, where the events are depressing in "their predictability and intractability".... or as Wolf Blitzer put it... "hard to believe this is going on in an American city right now" -- Stewart weighed in on what would actually be surprising, and it's not that poor people are rioting.
STEWART: Elvis leading a herd of Orthodox Jewish unicorns through a city street...that would be hard to believe! This shit... this shit happens all the time! Ferguson was just a few months ago and you were talking about it.
After showing a clip of Blitzer saying the exact same thing about Ferguson, Stewart said he's worried about Blitzer and asked if he needed to get "Sandler to go by his house" and just "run shit by you every morning."
After getting a few shots in on the back and forth between the mayor and the governor over whether there should have been National Guard brought in to help out and when and the media for opining over when a state of emergency was called in Baltimore, Stewart quipped:
STEWART: Sure, they could have declared a state of emergency in Baltimore on Sunday, maybe Saturday, or maybe somewhere in the 1970's? And this seems to indicate the issue in our city emergency alert system. There appear to be only two points on the scale, normal and on fire. Even volcanoes have a four step warning system.
After showing some footage of the media finally paying attention to the root causes of what's going on in Baltimore and cities just like it, he wrapped things up with a suggestion.
STEWART: It's not sustainable. Maybe a more nuanced alert system could allow for more productive intervention beyond, you have ten seconds to disperse. Or we can agree to keep ignoring the root of how systemically, historically disenfranchised many African communities still are, only paying attention to them when we fear their periodic fiery ball of anger threatens to enter our airspace, like some kind of Alex Haley's comet, and once again, breathing a forgetful sigh of relief when it's another near miss.