The social network and Internet forum Reddit.com has apparently managed to get Jon Stewart, host of news parody program The Daily Show, considering some type of public event with fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, in the name of giving voice to those put off by Fox News host Glenn Beck’s recent “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C.
A revelation of these discussions was mentioned as an aside in the latest edition of New York Magazine. On page two of the online profile, which occupies the magazine’s Sept. 20 cover, reporter Chris Smith mentions that during a brainstorming session with writers, the idea of such a rally was kicked around.
A “March of the Reasonable,” Stewart said, could potentially be held “on a date of no particular significance.”
The comment was a jibe at Fox News personality Glenn Beck, whose gospel-themed event was staged on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Beck went so far as to plan to stand on the same flight of stairs as King had, only to claim he was not aware of the date’s significance. As Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik summarized, it came off as an attempt at “stealing King’s moral authority.”
“If it sounds absurd that a mercurial cable TV host who regularly breaks down in tears and has called the president of the United States a racist should be able to get what appeared to be more than a hundred thousand Americans to listen and applaud as he laid claim to King’s mantle, it is,” he opined. “In fact, you might even say it is outrageous.”
And that’s exactly what Stewart, Colbert and their writers thrive on: the outrageous.
In comes the users of Reddit, many of whom gravitated toward a post suggesting Stephen Colbert stage a counter-rally.
Then, it had its own Web site: ColbertRally.com.
Even Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) took notice, suggesting on Twitter that his district would be a good place for the rally (although, by that point supporters had become pretty set on hedging hopes for the event to take place on Oct. 10 at the Lincoln Memorial).
As the buzz grew, Reddit even sprouted a customized forum for the new “movement.”
And then, users hatched the idea to funnel donations — in the name of “Restoring Truthiness” in the classroom — to DonorsChoose.org, a site that takes a novel, social approach to charitable giving, with an emphasis on helping teachers and students across the US.
Colbert just happens to be a member of the site’s board of directors. The idea was to drum up so much cash he’d be impressed into staging the event.
The group’s Facebook page declares:
We all know that our children are our number one resource, second only to oil, and in the same way that ocean water recently contaminated our precious oil in the Gulf of Mexico so has untruthiness infiltrated America’s classrooms. All across this great land math, science and poverty corrupt our youth, depriving them of the opportunity that is every American’s God-given right! The right to make their decisions from right here, from the gut. But Nation, we can change all that.
ColbertRally.com, 100,000 Strong to Restore Truthiness, and reddit have teamed up with DonorsChoose.org, an online charity dedicated to highlighting the total failure of the public education system in America. This online charity’s worthiness is surpassed only by the strength of its Board of Directors, upon which sits the scion of our cause–one Mr. Stephen Colbert.
During his only-partially-serious 2007 run for U.S. Congress in South Carolina, Colbert asked supporters to help classroom projects in his state via DonorsChoose.org. He ended up raising “over $66,000 for students in low-income communities,” the site proclaims.
At time of this writing, just 510 donors had given a total of $15,892 — and Donors Choose had caught on to the netroots giving campaign, posting a widget on the front page Monday night to track the funds. Then they created a “Restoring Truthiness Giving Page“.
Stewart’s comment to New York Magazine would seem to be the first real indication that an event to parody Beck could be under consideration at Comedy Central (even if the so-called “March of the Reasonable” only had six Facebook friends at time of this writing).
Still, without any official announcement from either of the parody news hosts, all the chatter remains mere speculation.