Rumble 2012: If Debates Were Actually Informative

Courtesy of Straight Talk

By Matthew Greenberg – Sports Editor

When Al Gore invented the internet, he forgot to account for server overloads during live-streamed events. As online viewers began to download the live-stream feed of “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium,” a debate between Jon Stewart, anchor of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, they were suddenly dismayed to find the overwhelming number of downloads taking place all at once had caused the servers to crash, leaving paying audiences without the feed for over an hour. Although the live-stream aspect endured a hiccup in its presentation, the debate was one for the ages.
Anyone who was frustrated by the distinct lack of information presented during the presidential debate certainly got their money’s worth with “The Rumble.” Stewart and O’Reilly viciously, although still respectfully, debated such topics as Medicare, government entitlements and the Middle East. Both pundits made great (and some not-so-great) points on the various discussion points, with O’Reilly accenting his arguments with flashcards that read things like, “Bush Is Gone” or “Drones Yes, Waterboarding No,” while Stewart used a mechanical lift behind his podium to compensate for the nine-inch difference between his hobbit-like 5’7” self and the yeti-sized 6’4” O’Reilly.
One topic that was debated most fervently was government entitlements. O’Reilly based the majority of his arguments on not wanting to pay taxes for women to have birth control included in their healthcare, driving the point home with a flashcard reading, “Buy Your Own,” as well as his view that President Obama has made it too easy for people to get disability benefits and food stamps. Stewart rebutted that O’Reilly’s own father collected disability when he left his job. O’Reilly tried to explain that it was collected from the private sector and not the government, but he had no substantial response to Stewart’s question concerning what people should do if they don’t happen to work for the private sector. Stewart drove the dagger into O’Reilly’s argument when he said, “Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don’t go hungry, you’re a moocher?”
The night was filled with thought provoking statements and informative discussion, as well as a heaping helping of zingers by both pundits, including one by O’Reilly to moderator E.D. Hill when he asked, “Are you still here?” It is fair to note that Hill maintained about as much control over the two cable network heavyweights as Jim Lehrer had in the presidential debate — zero.
After an hour of debate from behind their podiums, the pundits came and sat center stage for half an hour to answer pre-selected questions from the audience at home and in the auditorium. By the end of the evening, the influx of worthwhile information left viewers fatigued in an absolutely satiated way that they had never known was possible from any sort of political debate. Both sides made substantial arguments, Jon Stewart’s leftist logic outplayed Bill O’Reilly’s right-wing “Bull—-,” as Stewart so eloquently put it.
Half of the net profits from the debate were designated for a series of charities chosen by Stewart and O’Reilly, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the Fisher House Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the USO. “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” is now available on demand and for download at It’s worth every penny.