Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity a plea to moderate majority

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert team up to mock Glenn Beck

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are spoofing Glenn Beck by staging a rally on the National Mall that could influence midterm elections (video below). Image: CC Pinkmoose/Flickr

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s brilliant pop culture raconteurs, staged dueling announcements for public rallies on their cable TV shows Sept. 16. The dueling events, scheduled for the National Mall on Oct. 30, satirize fellow comedian Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally that took place in front of the Lincoln Memorial in August. Stewart announced the “Rally to Restore Sanity” on the Daily Show. Stephen Colbert countered by announcing the “March to Keep Fear Alive” on the Colbert Report.

Stewart/Colbert rally a response to radical fringe

The Stewart/Colbert rally announcements were made about three weeks after Fox TV personality Glenn Beck hosted his cleverly hyped “Restoring Honor” rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial. CNN reports that Beck’s event was considered offensive due to its timing and location–the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in the same place. Website logos and icons created for the Colbert/Stewart rallies mock Beck’s with the same type fonts and stylized images. According to the National Park Service, Stewart and Colbert have a permit to gather on the Washington Monument grounds Oct. 30.

Stewart: “Take it down a notch for America”

Announcing the Rally to Restore Sanity, Stewart appealed to the majority of Americans he called “the 70 to 80 percenters” who don’t have extreme political views. Using visual aids, he suggested signs for the event with slogans such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler” and “I am not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gay…but I am scared of Spiders.” The Comedy Central host concluded by unfurling a sheet bearing the rally’s tagline: “Take it down a notch for America.”

Colbert: ” … freak out for freedom!”

Stephen Colbert started the second act on his show by announcing a rally to complement Stewart’s called “The March to Keep Fear Alive.” Colbert vowed “not take it down a notch.” He declared “Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!” Time reports that buzz for Colbert to satirize Beck with his own rally began on on last week. Reddit users designed a website for an event dubbed “Restoring Truthiness,” a Colbert catch phrase. In a single day the Restoring Truthiness movement raised more than $100,000 and donated it to charities through, an organization of which Colbert is a board member.

Rallying a moderate turnout for midterms

By staging the rallies and entering the political debate, Stewart and Colbert just might influence the November midterm elections. Marc Ambeinder at The Atlantic reports that the timing and message of the rallies are not helpful to conservatives. Audiences for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are younger and more liberal than the older hard core conservatives watching Beck on Fox News. Ambeinder said Stewart and Colbert could stoke enthusiasm among moderate voters who have tuned out politics because of the noise made by the Tea Party and conservative media extremists.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

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