The Buzz

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IN MEDIA-OBSESSED CIRCLES, Jon Stewart's contentious "Crossfire" appearance earlier this month was greeted with the rapture that sometimes greets ... well, New York band the Rapture. Who are oh-so-hip and oh-so-overrated. Forgive The Buzz for feeling more Rapture-than-rapture about the whole Stewart shebang. Perhaps this is because the early reports on the Web made it sound like Stewart upended the desk and punched Tucker Carlson-or at least, you know, sullied his bow tie.

In the blogosphere, some exult over Stewart's stance, which is best summed up by his plea "We need help from the media. And they're hurrrrting us," or the perceived grassy-knoll flickers of irritation flitting across Carlson's face. But let's get past Stewart's critique. The hubbub leads The Buzz to reflect, rather, on how Medium Cool is really Medium Weak.

How tame, how convention-bound the "Crossfires" of the world really are. Someone puts their crayon down ever-so-slightly outside the lines, and everyone acts like the roof is caving in. And all this happened on cable-and surely if cable news wishes to be perceived as the equal of broadcast news, it wasn't thinking in terms of "as predictable as." Isn't cable supposed to push our buttons a little better than this?

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