Jon Stewart to Reddit: you don't matter
Posted by Drew at 2010-11-01 2:41:26 PM, edited 2010-11-01 4:13:48 PM (5860 comments) | Permalink
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Backstory: Reddit has been pushing support for the Stewart/Colbert rally since its inception, possibly since before its inception.
At the Rally For Sanity press conference on Saturday, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, asked Stewart and Colbert a question: what role did the Internet play in convincing you to hold this rally? The response: "it didn't hurt."
Question at around 1:40
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jon-stewart-and-stephen-colbert-hold-post-rally-to- re store-sanity-press-conference/
Did you hear that Reddit? All that work you put into getting the word out, organizing meetups, and convincing people to go "didn't hurt". All that initial support in getting the ball rolling on this rally a few months back was great, but it wasn't a factor. Thanks for your meaningless and futile support that Comedy Central really didn't need at the end of the day to get a surprise crowd of 250,000 people to the rally. Did you hear that Internet? You had no role in this either, it was all Comedy Central all the way.
Colbert doesn't get a pass on this either, his "thanks Reddit for raising half a million dollars for our charity but it didn't affect attendence one way or the other" comment is a backhanded compliment at best.
And to say this all live, in a press conference, to the co-founder of a community of millions that did everything in its power to get the word out past its own readers to the greater internet, that is flat out disrespectful and wrong. Alexis is a friend of mine, and he's a super nice guy. He would never dream of saying this to Jon Stewart but I will: you owe Alexis an apology and you owe Reddit an apology. I'll stop short at saying you owe The Internet an apology because honestly I think The Internet owes us all an apology for a number of things, Justin Bieber notwithstanding.
In the clip you'll notice Stewart uses part of his answer to Alexis' question to make the point that Comedy Central had the idea for this rally "months" before Reddit did. Which is really odd considering Alexis didn't ask or imply that Reddit gave Comedy Central the idea for the rally in the first place. Sounds like someone feels a litle guilty about something. Who thought of it first doesn't matter, it is impossible to deny that Reddit's actions encouraged Comedy Central to actually pull the trigger. Except Stewart did, right to Alexis Ohanian's face, in a live press conference.
Why am I so bent about this? First and foremost, because a friend of mine got smacked down on live TV by a guy he helped, and I can't stand by and do nothing about it without at least saying something. But also because Daily Show writers have been doing essentially the same thing to me, every single day for the past 10 years. They use Fark every day to source material, and haven't mentioned Fark on air even one single time. It's the same attitude toward Reddit: "sure doesn't hurt, but not a significant contribution." Thanks to Fark, your writers don't have to go far to fill your shows up with material for you to use. Every writer I've met thanks me vociferously for Fark and tells me how much easier it makes their jobs. Sure that's not worth a daily mention, but I would think at least one in the last 10 years. It has yet to happen. I've learned to live with it, but Alexis is my friend and he does not deserve this kind of treatment. Especially considering the effort Reddit put into promoting the rally.
I'm not implying they owe Reddit or Fark any credit for the success of the Rally, that's definitely not the case. Comedy Central did the bulk of the work, that can't be disputed. This is about common courtesy. If someone does you a favor, a thank you is a kind and appropriate response. In Reddit's case, "it doesn't hurt" is a slap in the face. It discounts all the effort they went through - and they went through a lot. And they weren't the only ones, several other large web communities pitched in as well.
Here's my proposal: Jon Stewart should apologize for discounting the impact that Reddit and other Internet communities had on this rally, or next time The Internet should remember Comedy Central thinks they don't count and should show them what happens when "The Internet" actively works to convince people to not attend. Because if Reddit had put similar effort into convincing people not to attend, the crowd size would have been far smaller than anticipated. And if you don't believe me, let's see how it goes next time if Stewart makes the wrong decision.
PS: pretty sure this post will guarantee that I and/or Fark never get a mention on The Daily Show but that wasn't happening anyhow.
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