Best Of Banter: Jon Stewart Is Leaving, Hackers Hit ISIS, and Someone Called Saul Back

The week that was.
Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart is leaving us, Walter White's lawyer came back, and Brian Williams screwed us all over.

Here's the week that was, at The Daily Banter.

Did Jon Stewart Finally Just Burn Out (and If So, Can We Really Blame Him)?

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Banter's own Chez Pazienza has an interesting theory on Jon Stewart's retirement: After 16 years debunking conservative bullshit and slogging through an increasingly tiresome media landscape, perhaps the venerable The Daily Show host actually got burnt out from dealing with the endless hypocrisy of American politics.

"In fact, if you’ve paid attention over the past few years, you’ve noticed that, more and more, Stewart’s genuine frustration has been a regular feature of The Daily Show. And brilliantly funny guy or not, you can’t blame him for that.


'I’m at my lowest point when I feel like there’s a problem I can’t solve,' Stewart said in a recent interview with HuffPost Live. At the time, he was discussing the possibility of one day leaving The Daily Show and he made it clear that when he felt like he’d taken the show as far as he could, he’d step down. But if you listen closely, there was more to it than that."

Not only do I think Chez is genuinely on to something, the phenomenon he's considering is a depressing reality we'll all have to grapple with.

MEMBERS ONLY: The Outstanding ‘Better Call Saul’ Debut is a Perfect Addition to the Golden Age of TV


My dirty little secret here is that I totally forgot that Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul was actually coming out. Bob Cesca's review of the pilot episode has gotten me disturbingly excited about rejoining the Breaking Bad universe to follow the story of Walter White's crooked attorney, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk):

"Where Breaking Bad follows a crumpled, dreary, cancer-stricken high school teacher as his zeal and bad decision-making skills slowly transform him into a drug kingpin, Saul will follow a parallel descent into hell ... Not only was Odenkirk unsurprisingly exceptional, seamlessly switching gears between huckster, bedraggled sad clown and supportive brother, but Michael McKean clearly hit upon the supporting role of his career as Chuck, whose gentle optimism and faith in humanity grounds the show in a place of genuine earnestness."

ISIS Meets ‘Anonymous’ On Social Media and It Goes Horribly For ISIS


What happens when the Internet hivemind collides with the 21st century’s most brutal terrorist group?

A coordinated attack by online hacktivist group Anonymous against ISIS-controlled social media pages resulted in hundreds of the accounts being compromised, deleted or otherwise taken offline permanently. In a video announcing its success, a man in a Guy Fawkes mask proclaimed "ISIS. We will hunt you, take down your sites, accounts, emails and expose you. From now on, no safe place for you online. You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure."

California Lawmakers To Anti-Vaxxers: We’ve Indulged You Long Enough

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Chez Pazienza builds a compelling case in favor of proposed restrictions on "personal belief exemptions" that would "remove the choice from California parents insistent on ignoring proven science in favor of listening to whatever like-minded mommy Jenny McCarthy and the all-knowing Dr. Google have to say about vaccines." As the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland expands through at least 19 states, California may soon be the 33rd to eliminate opt-out provisions for vaccine conspiracy theorists.

Where normally Chez would end with a note encouraging you to vaccinate your children, he's now able to end with one telling you "welcome to the herd, precious." Nice.

Brian Williams Stupidly Gave Far-Right Pundits More Fuel to Indict the “Liberal Media”


Brian Williams' sins were greater than tarnishing his own credibility, writes Bob Cesca. Instead, Williams' insistence on repeating a made-up story about how his helicopter in Iraq was shot down by an RPG-toting militant threw "the entire 'liberal media' under the conservative entertainment bus, ripping a giant opening in the space-time continuum and allowing every far-right crank to exploit it as an example of how the lamestream media is populated by lying liars."

As Bob notes, considering Fox News' 60% "Mostly False," "False," or "Pants on Fire" rating by Politifact, you're actually much more likely to come across blatant lies or falsehoods watching them than Brian Williams or MSNBC. You can already see the hypocrisy at work in the form of Williams-shaming statements by habitually lying wingnuts Sarah Palin and Dinesh D'Souza, both of whom are pointing to the suspended news anchor as evidence that the liberal media made up all that bad news about the Iraq War.

President Obama’s AUMF Is Essentially A Giant Trust Fall


How much do you trust the POTUS? It had better be a whole lot, because as Tommy Christopher points out in his analysis of the White House's latest draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Islamic State, Obama is essentially asking for the authority to launch a massive ground re-invasion of Iraq and Syria while assuring us he'd never actually do it.

"Even just taken at his word, the President has ruled in anything from the several thousand troops we’ve already deployed, to anything short of 100,000 troops," Tommy notes. "This administration has been rather up front about the fact that they will do whatever they think they have to, and call it whatever it needs to be called."

Jessica Williams Hosting ‘The Daily Show’ Smacks Of Feminist Affirmative Action


Jamie Frevele argues that while Jessica Williams might be the preferred Jon Stewart replacement being pushed by the "proud feminist bubbles" of the Internet, the glaring problem of reality gets in the way: Williams is simply too inexperienced, while also simultaneously too young and talented to want to spend the next 15-20 years of her life behind The Daily Show's infamous desk. And don't even get Jamie started on the writers pitching lists of potential Jon Stewart successors straight from Googling "lady comedians." That's just insulting.