Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly's debate kicked ass

Last night's Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart debate, the "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium," just crushed it. This is the best 90 minutes of video you're gonna see this month, and is unquestionably the best presidential debate of the season.

Update: In the comments, Patrick McGorrill adds, "Also available from where they're using the Louis CK model. 90 minutes of DRM-free, HD video, for $5." That is a stone bargain.

Here's the Guardian's Amanda Holpuch with a recap:

The economic discussion focused on O'Reilly and Stewart's disagreement on government spending. O'Reilly said he thinks too much money is given to "slackers" who "mooch" off the government through welfare and other subsidies, though he supports social security. Stewart took issue with O'Reilly's determinations of what things are acceptable to be subsidised by the government.

"Why is it if you take advantage of a tax break as a corporation you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of a tax break as a person you're a moocher?" Stewart said.

Jon Stewart lays into Bill O'Reilly in presidential debate spoof


  1. This should be a weekly show: Debates Between Two People Who Speak their Mind.

    Probably too long for a show name, maybe just call it The Weekly Show.

      1. You are deluding yourself if you think that identity politics and ego are purely American.

        I will admit, though, that we’ve turned those tactics into an art form all their own.

        1. Naturally, but since this was a debate that occurred in the context of American politics, and “The Weekly Show” is a reference to “The Daily Show,” an American TV show, I though I’d keep it relevant.

  2. Posting a show that cost $5 and was for charity is pretty low and I thought better of BoingBoing. A clip or two would be great, but just pirating something like this is lame.

    1. I paid the $5, only got to see the last 30 minutes of the event, and can’t download it today, because when I log in, it asks for my credit card information. So the only way it looks like I’ll get to watch it is through a pirated copy.

      Thanks for posting it, Cory! What I’ve seen of the debate was awesome, but from a technical and customer service standpoint, it was a catastrophe.

      1. I also paid the $5 and had problems watching it “legally” yesterday, so I had to watch it on YouTube.

        The downloading problems ended around the hour you posted your comment (I downloaded the 1.5 Gb version this afternoon), but if you still have a problem downloading, reply this comment with the same Disqus account you used for your comment and I’ll share you my copy ;)

        1. Thanks LB. I just watched it on Youtube yesterday. I could probably download it from the site now, but I’m not going to burn any more of my Comcast bandwidth cap on it.

    2.  I didn’t know that there was a commercial version. Thanks to Patrick, below, I’ve found out about it and updates the post with purchase info.

    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t give them the money. I paid last night, still can’t download it, and contacting support just got me a list of generic technical remedies (install javascript and Flash). The email stated that if my problem wasn’t resolved, that I should reply to the email. That got bounced back.

      Nox Solutions is, at best, completely and totally incompetent. Just watch the Youtube version.

    2. Sadly the video encoding is a joke. It’s stuttery and the sound is out of sync. The best way to watch it is to listen to the audio and forget the visuals.

      Having said that, the best debate I’ve heard in a long time with two people who sincerely hold their views and don’t resort to name-calling (well much) when they disagree with the other speaker.

      Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic could learn a lot from this.

      1. A person who doesn’t like numbers is not going to become an accountant. They don’t want to learn the lessons being taught here.

    3.  Wait, where? All I can find there is “The event will be available to stream on-demand for a limited time (up to 3 streams per purchase)”. I don’t want to stream it; I want to download it to watch comfortably later.

  3. Personally I would never have paid $5 to see it, but I might donate more now that I have seen it and appreciate the value.

  4.  Bill O’Reilly’s total inability to shut up while anyone else is speaking makes me either wonder how he ever got his job, or think that you can be inordinately successful just by bullying.

    1. You kiddin’ me? He’s incredibly good at his job, which consists entirely of pushing propaganda by any means necessary.

      (Also, bullying is so entertaining, they now build entire formats around it: The Apprentice, Hell’s Kitchen, X-Factor etc etc)

  5. This is not using the same model as LouisCK. There is no downloadable; this is a DRM by proxy, limited license streaming video model which is reliably one of the most irritating ways of not seeing something you have made a payment to see.

    1.  They say that a downloadable video is available later. I agree that it’s not the Louis C.K. model though — that worked because it was straightforward and painless with no hoops to jump through. I just paid my $5 and then downloaded the thing.

    2.  There are four downloadables of varying quality and (non-corresponding) filesize. Look under the subheading “Download the Debate” on the page

  6. Went ahead and purchased it but did not like the phishing for my phone number during the purchase. Weird that is a required field. Made me think about the kind soul that lives at 800-888-8888 that has been so nice to take so many of my calls over the years…

  7. The fact that actors/comedians can consistently excel at this format, should tell us something about the qualities one needs in politics, and how these qualities are completely unrelated to the actual job of taking decisions for the good of the represented electorate. 

    … except the American people already elected a (bad) actor (twice!) to the highest office of the land, and a small army of minor thespians to various other positions, so clearly nobody is particularly bothered.

    1. What people may not realize is one important aspect of acting is branding. Distilling yourself into a marketable identity that is clear recognizable and communicates a readily accessible image. Reagan may not have been a “good actor”, in terms of understanding how to use craft, I think he was alright for the stylized roles of his day, but he was absolutely a master at branding. Both O’Reilly and Stewart are also good at this, and this is what really gets you to pay your five bucks. Coke and Pepsi, which brand will dominate in its ability to get people to identify with it. Entertaining and yet subtly demonstrative of our disconnect in how we engage in information as citizens in government policy.

    2.  Both of these guys have a Lot of years of experience talking in front of a camera, with an audience, from prepared notes with a certain amount of ad-libbing. Of course they’re better at it than Politicians, they do it every day for a living, Politicians do other things all day for a lviing, not anywhere as much talking on live TV in this format. It’s just practice for the format.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this post.  Thanks, Cory.

    (I enjoy Stewart’s show as often as possible, but have never seen O’Reilly’s, only heard about it.  Good god, O’Reilly is full of shit!)

  9. I’m about half way through it now… it’s a little surprising o’reilly made it out alive.  the audience seemed likely to rush the stage and dismember him once or twice.

  10. I cringed super hard when Jon Stewart incorrectly doubled down on the surplus/deficit/debt point. Besides that, it was a very enjoyable debate.

    1.  yeah that was an area that o’reilly was right and stewart was wrong, other than that stewart kicked o’reillys ass

      1. IIRC, O’Reilly also falsely claimed that Obama doubled the debt. The debt under Bush the Younger went from a little under $6 trillion to a little under $11 trillion, and Obama will add about 50% to that by the end of his first term.

        1.  “bush the younger” just seems like an insult to Pliny the younger, least thats who i think of when i hear “the younger”

          1. I like “Bush the Spoiler” because his ascending to the Presidency has removed Jeb, the Bush son who was supposed to be President, from ever running. I suppose we still might see if that Etch-A-Sketch is capable of being shaken, but even Bush Sr. seems to realize this state of affairs.

  11. I’m a huge Stewart fan, and watch every show.   But, attempting to set aside entertainment and political bias, I thought O’Reilly performed better.  He brought more actual data to the program and delivered in a more professional manner.  Stewart did appear to understand the points O’Reilly was trying to make, even though he disagreed with him.  O’Reilly seemed to be utterly incapable of comprehending Stewart’s point of view.  Stewart’s bringing up O’Reilly’s father’s disability/insurance claim after retirement was priceless in watching O’Reilly’s massive surprise.

    Overall though, they were both terrible (awesome as entertainment, not so much as a political debate though).  Maybe half of the questions asked actually got answered, as they both went off on tangents or ignored them completely.  I think that supporters on both sides will think that their guy “won”.

    1. I think Stewart’s approach to a lot of it was to let O’Reilly’s bullshit speak for itself, or to react in such a way that indicates that it’s obviously bullshit. I mean, that is how he framed the whole thing from the beginning: he said O’Reilly is speaking from the Republican fantasy land of Bullshit Mountain. 

      Stewart didn’t have to pander to anyone or go particularly hard on the offensive (except in a few cases) because hopefully most people who actually watch this understand that most of what O’Reilly said is bullshit. I don’t know about anyone else, but I could scarcely believe that O’Reilly actually believed a lot of what he said – except in cases that went against the “standard” conservative view, of which there were several.

      And yeah, Stewart knows how to listen and understand opposing points of views, and O’Reilly (unsurprisingly) doesn’t. You could see Stewart get quite frustrated at times because of this, but he chose his battles carefully.

      Very similar in that respect, at least, to the Obama/Romney debate – Obama and Stewart had to take special precautions to handle unhinged bullshit mongers (though I respect O’Reilly and his debating style far more than I do Romney).

    1. I believe that the correct response is, “I know you are but what is it?” in your best Pee-wee voice.

  12. I found it entertaining to watch but the only irritating issue I had was Bill O’Reilly disinformation on single payer health care in the UK and Canada. I thought to myself, “YOU LIE!” when he repeated the old canard of poor service and people flying to the US for care. I’m amazed by the ability of the right to distort if they can get away with it.

    1.  well in his defense there was a guy who works at fox news who lived in canada for a bit and said the healthcare in canada sucks, so he has it on very reliable sources.

      1. One guy working at Fox says it sucks? Oh it must be true… I’m mean millions of people in Canada, UK, Europe, Japan, Australia, NZ who love their single payer and health care service that’s just irrelevant. Because there is guy at Fox who lived in Canada for a bit says it sucks…

        1. I think that was his point, extrapolating from one datum or limited data is something O’Reilly seems to do commonly.

          And yes, as an Australian who has lived in the USA in the past, I LOVE our socialised medicine, going to hospital or getting serious medical help is so very much less painful financially here.

        2. I have it on good authority that the same “guy who works at fox news who lived in canada for a bit” also said that they don’t understand sarcasm or satire up there.

    2. Well in the UK at least the service is quite poor. I mean not 3rd world poor, but if you have private healthcare here you get significantly better in-patient care.

      The NHS is one of those things we love to hate, we couldn’t live without it, but its broken and a complete mess. It can be both.

      [Edited for reading comprehension]

      1. I don’t know which NHS you’ve been using, but while the NHS has its problems, comparing it to the US system is, to quote Oreilly, /insane/. It only seems as proken as it is because we’re in charge of it. Plus private healthcare have an incentive to make you feel cared for, which is not at all the same as making you better.

        1. Apologies, I didn’t mean to insinuate it was as bad as the US system.

          My experience with the NHS is bad. Really, that’s all I can go on other than spun statistics from the government.

          The hospitals are over burdened, understaffed and under funded. I was lucky enough to have an insurance company pay for some out-patient care and it was INFINITELY better than that I received from the NHS. i.e. I was ‘cared’ for, rather than huddled into a bed. I was seen promptly, rather than having to go without food and live off a drip for 3 days while I waited for ’emergency’ surgery. I wasn’t even checked over properly when I was brought in from a serious road accident – I had to push for people to check me properly at which point they found further injury.

          I would never, ever, push for a US style system – but we shouldn’t have to supplement the NHS with private healthcare, there should be no need for private healthcare in the UK, but there is (this, IMO is evidence in itself that the NHS isn’t all that great – the private healthcare industry in the UK is thriving). You don’t have to go that far to see it done properly, for what it’s worth – it’s not a problem with the concept of the NHS, but the execution and management. Just ask the nurses and doctors what they think of the NHS.

          1. Private healthcare in the UK may be thriving, but it is not thriving on payments from the huge numbers of people who, without the NHS, would go totally uninsured. Would you rather have the NHS, or nothing at all? The latter is the only choice that many, many Americans have.

          2. Well that’s what has become my point. I’d much rather the NHS than nothing at all – that’s just not what I was getting at. But it’s worth remembering that as a tax payer i directly contribute to it, and I dont really feel the government is investing my money wisely.

          3. All of that happens regularly to people in the US who pay dearly for insurance. I pay $596 per month plus co-pays. Been told that a routine doctor visit may take up to two months. Specialist consultations are at least a month and often two. Eight or more hours to be seen in the ER, and no doctor until they get the credit card number. Patients spend days in the ER or recovery room because all the beds are full.

            We get the same uneven quality of care that you do and pay much more for it.

          4. I think the difference in the UK is that you don’t ‘have’ to pay for it, therefore those that charge for it have to actually provide a good service else people wouldn’t bother – there’s genuine competition.

            I know it’s not tit-for-tat, but the national average for National Insurance contributions works out at around £300p/m (for men), the difference of course is that number decreases along with income – and that’s a pretty important factor.

      2. It’s fine to demand better services. But for millions of Americans there is no service until the sickness becomes so critical that there is no choice but to go to emergency. As you stated you couldn’t live without the NHS so start your comment with that instead and explain why that is so.

        1. I think my comment is being read with slightly the wrong context, which is probably my own fault.

          All I was really saying was that the NHS isn’t some awesome thing to behold and worship from afar, there are more efective social healthcare systems in Europe to treat as benchmarks. But yes, I’m grateful for having something rather than nothing.

    3. What is true is that some treatments are not covered by the provincial government health plan.  It usually boils down to cost and proven effectiveness.  The Canadian government feels double-billing would undermine the healthcare system, so if the treatment isn’t covered by the plan, it won’t be performed in Canada. You do get Canadians with rare forms of cancer flying south for expensive, experimental treatment.  What’s not true is that the Canadian health care system is bad and that going elsewhere to get fixed up happens all of the time. As you said, that was a distortion.

  13. You can also see the points where he internally cuts Jon’s mic, his face shrivells and he seems to stop listening or following. Jon on the other hand disengages pretty skillfully, hes always listening but I seemed to see him choosing which bullshit to unpack. 

    I find it hopeful that these passionate political performers can listen and engage for so much of the hour and a half.  And clearly like each other. 

    1.  At least he’s willing to go on the show and engage with Stewart at some level, even if it wasn’t an actual point v point logic debate. I’m no fan of Bill, but I begrudgingly give him that, he’s willing to give it a go. Still, only one tick mark on a long list of Cons overall.

  14. Jon Stewart: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit?

    Bill O’Reilly: I have sex with men. 

    But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I’m screwing to the White House and President Reagan, Bush the Elder and the Junior smiled at us and shook his hand.

    Jon Stewart:  Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat?

    Bill O’Reilly: Not who I flck or who flcks me, but who will come to the phone when I call, who owes me favours  

    This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, a homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men, but really this is wrong. A homosexual is somebody who, in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant anit-discrimination bill through the city council. 

    A homosexual is somebody who knows nobody and who nobody knows. Who has zero clout. Does this sound like me Jon?

    Jon Stewart: Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

    Bill O’Reilly: I have all the time in the world.

    Bill O’Reilly’s (satirical quotes…paraphrased from ‘Angels in America’, specifically the part where Roy Cohn is explaining why he is not a homosexual. Links, reference:

    1. By the way, I have native sense of Gaydar, and aggressively homophobic apparent closet-cases such as him triggers yellow alert, and O’Reilly is as treacherous as anyone or thing.

  15. I wasn’t interested in watching this because of the times O’Reilly was on the Daily Show and John Stewart took it really easy on him. Did he take off the gloves this time?

  16. The only moment I enjoyed was when the audience member asked about foreign aid and O’Reilly ended by saying that it was a ‘very small’ amount (can’t remember the amount but think it is $50 billion) and Jon Stewart said ‘but NPR – that’s a problem.’ I’m assuming that the whole NPR thing was serious and not a joke on BO’Reilly’s part. Because if there are approx 234 million people 18+ in the US and half of them pay federal income tax, that works out to a little over a dollar per person for NPR/PBS.
    If the debate was meant to be entertainment, I didn’t find it very entertaining, but I guess it made money for ‘charity’.

    1. Well, it’s actually because it’s an actual copyright violation, not just mistakenly flagged by some copybot a la Microsoft (which is what I assume you’re referring to with the “timely” comment).

      They actually would rather prefer you pay to see the content, and apparently it goes towards charity…

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