Conflict! Drama! Angrily-flung barbs across a tension-filled room! No, it wasn't the Democratic debate in South Carolina, and it wasn't the interview between Jon Stewart and Jonah Goldberg, because that is apparently locked away deep inside the Daily Show vaults. In truth, it wasn't Stewart's interview with Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, either, but apparently conflict sells. Meacham told Stewart that he thought the media's election coverage was "Not ideologically driven, but conflict-driven" and then explained that Time and Newsweek covers did better when they were framed in terms of conflict like, 'The War Over ___' or 'The Battle For Such-And-Such.' We took his advice for the title of our post and are anticipating a huge spike in traffic (but just to help guarantee that: Ron Paul Ron Paul Ron Paul!)
Meacham on The Daily Show is not all that different from Meacham on Meet The Press — actually, there were more classical/historical references last night than he dropped on Sunday, including Homer, Thermopylae (as in, Hillary's crying is now "older than Thermopylae"), and the modern Presidential campaign as an "Arthurian quest" (not the Dudley Moore version, Jon clarified). Shades of Ted Danson: Meacham re-used his King Lear joke from Sunday morn, calling Bill Clinton "King Lear with a Southern Accent." (Sunday: "If King Lear had a Southern accent, he would be Bill Clinton.") Let's just say that Meacham's humor was slightly more highbrow than that bit with Jon Oliver.
NB: When Meacham said that he'd sat down with Hillary Clinton for an interview ten days ago, it sounded positively ancient and almost embarrassingly out-of-date. Think the media cycle's moving quickly in this election, maybe? Watch below; note quiet zinger of New York Post.
Meet The Press Transcript - Jan. 20/08 [MSNBC]