George Washington Says Jon Stewart Is An Ethics Dunce

All right: Jon Stewart’s post-Rick Sanchez meltdown quip that “All he has to do is apologize to us, and we’ll hire him back!” (evoking Sanchez’s fatal accusation that a conspiracy of Jews runs the news) was pretty funny. The problem is that it and a couple of other barbs he aimed at the fired and disgraced ex-CNN host will be heard by millions three weeks from now, on October 21, when the special “Night Of Too Many Stars” is finally aired. Comedians never have to be kind, fair, empathetic or classy, and often are not—just think about all the jokes about Lindsay Lohan, a sadly immature young woman seemingly incapable of curbing self-destructive behavior—but gloating is gloating, and doing the Flamenco on the face of a fallen adversary is neither attractive not admirable…even if it’s funny.

Stewart is not the only one: Rush Limbaugh spent a good twenty minutes this morning insulting Sanchez, who had taken some shots at Rush over the years. Stewart, however, was the catalyst for Sanchez’s anti-Jewish rant. It should be enough for the Daily Show host that his foe dashed his career and reputation to bits in an ill-conceived frontal assault. By the time the “Night Of Too Many Stars” is broadcast, Rick Sanchez will be full of self-loathing and contemplating cutting his own throat, if he isn’t already. He had a two-hour show on CNN and a career on the rise, and now, entirely due to his own wretched judgment and big mouth, he has joined Helen Thomas, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and a few others in the dreaded group known as “radioactive public figures,” from which successful escapes are rare.

There may be a funny joke or two I could make about the guy who aimed his gun at me but somehow shot himself in the head, but when he’s lying and moaning in a pool of his own blood is not the time to make it. I suspect Stewart knows this, but couldn’t resist; after all, Sanchez called him a bigot. Stewart should have exerted more restraint, especially since now, thanks to his removal from the ranks of talking heads, Sanchez can’t defend himself.

Among the “110 Rules Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” that formed the foundation of his ethical compass, George Washington memorized #22, like many of the 110, wise counsel about human interactions, even for comedians. It says,

22. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

As usual, George knew best.

4 thoughts on “George Washington Says Jon Stewart Is An Ethics Dunce

  1. One good thing about Jon Stewart, though, is I’ll bet he’s already asked Sanchez to appear on his show. And if Sanchez would, he’d get the same treatment as anyone else: honest questions and gentle- not barbed- ribbing. Rick Sanchez seems to have fallen too hard for his own line of BS. Eventually he’ll be resurrected as a talking head somewhere.

    • If Jon does invite Sanchez, I’ll take back what I said….or at least think about it. That would be the class thing to do, and Sanchez would be smart to accept. I would opine that Sanchez is NOT smart, but that might be kicking him when he’s down. I’ll bet you that million million I just won from Bob Stone, however, that you’ll see Rick Sanchez in the Drive-Thru window at Mickey D’s before you see him as a commentator again.

  2. Jack,
    Now Sanchez has also had his bigoted ideology confirmed (at least in his own mind) as he was promptly fired for speaking against “the Jews.” Idiots like Sanchez especially irritate me because if he’d been even 1/2 interesting to watch CNN might not have dumped him the moment the waters got a little choppy. Moreover, had someone made similar comments in regards to Latinos, he’d be leading the charge to have THEM fired. Good riddance.


    PS: How does: “.. but gloating is gloating, and doing the Flamenco on the face of a fallen adversary is neither attractive not admirable…even if it’s funny.” and “Stewart should have exerted more restraint, especially since now, thanks to his removal from the ranks of talking heads, Sanchez can’t defend himself.” not directly contradict this: “Jon Stewart’s professional obligation is to be entertaining, provocative and funny, not fair, accurate, or responsible. Indeed, if he has an opportunity to make a hilarious joke and doesn’t do it because it would require distorting the truth, he’s breaching a professional duty. He’s accountable to no one; he has no ethical standards to meet.” (quoted from the Chris Plante arcticle) ?

    Not gloating might have been the more polite thing to do, perhaps, but the joke WAS funny (at least to some) so it would seem that he’s in the clear, even by your own standards.

    • It wasn’t that funny.

      Check out th Scoreboard’s Ethics Hero piece about Craig Fergusen’s speech calling for comics to lay off Britney Spears.
      I think the two sections are inconsistent, but only out of context. My problem with kicking Sanchez is that its personal, and comics aren’t funny when they start settling scores (this is one of a thousand reasons Bill maher stopped being funny,) Yeah, I think gloating is unattractive, and undermines humor. All rules have exceptions, and I have no problem designating gloating over one’s dead and twitching foe as an exception to the standard “anything for a laugh.” Attacking the minor children of politicians, as in Letterman v. Palin is another.

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