Can we talk? (Yes, I’m stealing that line.) I’m personally getting a little annoyed at media folk who keep saying that Jimmy Kimmel’s new 11:35 show now “makes it a three-man race.” Uh . . . NO. It makes it a FOUR-man race! Why do they keep ignoring Stephen as a competitor? He and Jon get the most advertiser-desired audience of the group. It may not be largest viewership, but it is considered the most sought-after. It’s infuriating. Here’s an announcement: the big networks aren’t all that matter anymore. In fact, they may matter LESS now than others. Get with the times, understand what’s happening with media, and judge properly.
*I am now stepping down from my soapbox.*
Both Jon and Stephen delivered a sparkling first week back. Both of them seemed positively giddy to return to work and, clearly, both knew there was plenty of material just waiting for them. Kudos to Jon for his lengthy openers, which took on the fiscal cliff, gun control, and Sandy recovery funding. (Does it seem to you he’s using the correspondents less and less?) Stephen tackled most of those subjects in an equally brilliant, yet extremely different, way. It’s always fascinating for me to see how they each approach the same news story.
And then there were naughty couches….
Now, let’s take a look at this week’s guests! (Still no photos, by the way. The site is not cooperating. So sorry.)
Monday 1/14: Piers Morgan
When British-born newsman Piers Morgan exploded at Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro for claiming that Americans need assault weapons “for the prospective possibility of resistance to tyranny,” his words went viral. After Shapiro claimed that the tyranny would in fact come from the US government itself, Morgan asked him: “Do you know how ridiculous you sound?” The response to Morgan’s anti-gun tirade was swift: NRA activists circulated a petition asking that he be deported. Obama has since given his answer to the petitioners, and it amounts to “second amendment, please meet first amendment.” In other words, using your freedom of speech will not get you kicked out of the country. (For the record, in case you don’t read the attached link: if a petition to the White House contains more than 25,000 signatures, the president must issue a response. This one had over 100,000. Which is scary.)
The controversy didn’t end there, because gun advocate Alex Jones came on Morgan’s show next, screaming that if our weapons were taken away “1776 would commence again.” He also claimed England was a police state—and more. It’s madness. In any case, the long and the short of it is, I’m sure Mr. Morgan and Stephen will have a chat about the fracas and gun control. I’m assuming it will be fun.
In addition to his TV show, Piers Morgan Tonight, the prolific journalist also serves as editorial director of the English newspaper for children called First News; has written for several of Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloids (and, sadly, not only defended the mogul in the hacking scandal but is implicated himself), and has appeared on numerous purely entertainment programs, including guest host on America’s Got Talent.
Read his blog on CNN.
Morgan has actually threatened “self-deportation.” (He may HAVE to go to testify in Hackgate.)
CNN had an article about the tiff with Jones and the buzz it generated.
David Carr, the media editor for The New York Times, also discussed the flap.
Tuesday, 1/15: Jared Diamond
Most of us in the 21st century are connected 24/7 and our lifestyles hinge on technology. We even dream of more—I, for example, still hope that Scotty will beam me down. Being able to alight in Brazil in a split-second? I’m on board. Of course, we all know that most of what we take for granted would mystify our grandparents and great-grandparents, not to mention generations even further back. But geographer Jared Diamond suggests that the gulf between us and them may not be as wide as we believe. His new book, The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies, examines existing social systems that have more in common with those from the past and suggests that they might be more congenial to our physical and psychological selves. The groups he has researched come from around the world and range from Pacific Islanders to Amazon Indians.
Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA who has also delved into evolutionary biology and physiology. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has won the National Medal of Science, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for his book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies—which also inspired a PBS series.
The New York Times put a review of his book on the cover of this Sunday’s Book Review.
Here’s his page at UCLA.
National Geographic has a page for him, as well.
Professor Diamond was not happy at how Mitt Romney used the facts in Guns, Germs, and Steel, and claimed his views were misrepresented. My favorite line: “That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.”
He recently talked about the new book on NPR. Word to the wise: he recommends speaking at least five languages. (But he himself can’t–not exactly.)
Some of his diary was published in the Financial Times.
He commented on climate change.
This is his second appearance on the Report.
Wednesday, 1/16: Tom Brokaw
Okay: we all know who Tom Brokaw is, don’t we? The former NBC News anchor, current NBC Special Correspondent, and chronicler of the “greatest generation” is quite the friend of the show! Brokaw has been a frequent guest on both TCR and The Daily Show. In his last appearance with Stephen, which took place in 2011, Brokaw discussed reporting on 9/11. He also came to visit in December 2009, to talk about the ending of a decade and what had gone on during the 10 years before, and earlier that same year (in April) to analyze President Obama’s trip to the G2 Summit. There are other clips—but I think that’s enough for one BKAG!
Because Brokaw doesn’t appear to have a book or a news special to plug, my best guess is that he and Stephen will analyze the latest political news—Obama’s inauguration, the start of the new Congress, what might happen with gun control laws, and whether we’ll be taking another journey to the edge of the fiscal cliff. (Answer to that last one: oh, yeah. We can pretty much depend on it.)
Follow him on Twitter.
Read his NBC bio.
He spoke on the tragic Newtown, CT shootings.
During the campaign, Bill Maher criticized Brokaw harshly for adhering to “journalistic objectivity” in the face of birtherism. Maher felt the accusations against Obama should have been denounced as racism.
The Fair Blog criticized Brokaw’s definition of the middle class: $250,000 or more.
Watch Brokaw on The Daily Show, in September 2012.
Brokaw spoke about Sandy and climate change.
Thursday, 1/17: Akhil Reed Amar
The American Constitution is a magnificent document, and one with an openness that demands constant interpretation and reinterpretation—unless you’re someone who’s a fundamentalist about the matter. Political battles can get bitter over the exact meaning of what our founding forefathers meant. Having already written a book on the subject, legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar pushes a little further in America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By. For Amar, some of the ideals that we take for granted are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, but have developed over time, through laws, judicial rulings, and even our normal way of life. (Eg: the separation of powers in our various levels of government.)
Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, the university he attended as both an undergraduate and a graduate, and where he served as the editor of the prestigious Yale Law Journal. He has also taught at Columbia, Harvard, and Pepperdine, always focusing on constitutional law. Before returning to Yale as a professor, he clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer. He has authored textbooks on constitutional procedure and the Bill of Rights, and his predecessor to this new work, America’s Constitution: A Biography, received the Silver Gavel Certificate of Merit. This statement, from the publisher’s website (which I’ve linked to) particularly struck me: We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election.”
Visit his Yale Law School page.
Here’s a link to his articles on Slate.
Amar addressed the issues in Obamacare that the Supreme Court upheld last year.
The New York Times reviewed the book.
Last year, he spoke with Keith Olbermann. He did not have nice things to say about the House.
He also appeared on the Diane Rehm Show.
The Los Angeles Review of Books also reviewed America’s Unwritten Constitution.
Amar discusses why he writes his books for a general, not specialized, audience, in Publishers Weekly.
And now, let’s check in with our good friend Jon Stewart!
Amazingly, Jon has managed to book TWO of tonight’s Golden Globe winners!
Monday, 1/14: Roger Waters
He wasn’t just another brick in the wall—he built it! Bassist and lyricist Roger Floyd helped make Pink Floyd one of the world’s most influential rock groups of its time—and I wouldn’t be surprised if his music spoke to the adolescent Jon. Since 2010,he has been touring the world, performing The Wall in its entirety without the rest of the band. Waters also participated in the 12/12/12 concert and supports the charity, Millennium Promise.
Follow him on Twitter.
Visit his website.
Read his interview in Rolling Stone.
Tuesday, 1/15: Bob Schieffer
CBS newsman Bob Schieffer had the honor of moderating the third and final debate between Obama and Romney last year. More regularly, the award-winning journalist hosts Face the Nation and serves as chief Washington correspondent. Since joining CBS in 1969, he’s worked as a Pentagon reporter, the White House correspondent, as a contributor to 60 Minutes, and weekend anchor of the network’s evening news.
Visit the Face the Nation website.
Follow him on Twitter.
Like him on Facebook.
Wednesday, 1/16: Jessica Chastain
She got her Oscar® nomination–and tonight she won her Golden Globe®! Kathryn Bigelow may have stood Stephen up, but let’s hope her star makes it to The Daily Show. (In fairness, Bigelow was accepting a major critics award on the Monday she cancelled.) Jessica Chastain plays the relentless CIA agent, based on a real person, in Zero Dark Thirty, and she’s won raves. She also just appeared on Broadway in The Heiress, based on Henry James’s novella, Washington Square.
Chastain appeared on Charlie Rose.
She was interviewed in TIME.
Here’s a thorough fansite for her.
Thursday, 1/17: Lena Dunham
She won too–TWO Globes! The second season of Girls, the breakout HBO show Lena Dunham created, writes, and stars in, just began this weekend. Dunham’s buzzworthy series earned her four Emmy® nominations; her first film, Tiny Furniture, received the award for Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest. I’m glad for her victory, because Dunham has been on the receiving end of some pretty ugly stuff lately, especially a horrific review in the New York Post that focused only on her weight and body, and much not at all on anything else. Jezebel and other online media quickly defended Dunham.
Visit the Girls website.
Follow her on Twitter.
Huff Post wrote an article on Dunham’s “epic year.”
She’s received criticism for the show’s total whiteness, and she spoke about that on NPR.
Howard Stern acted like an a** (what’s new?); Dunham responded with good humor.
And of course, she appeared with Stephen.
That’s all, folks! Let me know who you’re most looking forward to seeing!
Have a happy week.