After a warm-up from the Legendary Roots Crew and some audience stunts put on by the MythBusters guys, Jon Stewart bounced on stage at 12:55pmET to kick off the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Before delivering any one-liners, Stewart introduced the 4Troops who sang the National Anthem. Stewart’s Comedy Central partner, Stephen Colbert then emerged from a “fear bunker” in a Chilean miner capsule. After a benediction by Fr. Guido Sarducci (see here if you’re too young to remember who he is) this
political rally comedy show got underway.
As for cable news coverage CNN’s Kate Bolduan, who covered the Glenn Beck rally in August, was back on the mall today reporting hourly live updates beginning at 8am.
MSNBC, which yesterday announced it planned to be live all day today ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, has Luke Russert on the mall. His reports began in the 10amET hour. Russert telling, anchor Alex Witt he’d gotten some odd looks from a crowd he deemed as skeptical of the mainstream media: “When I was walking through the crowd, I got several glances at my NBC badge saying, ‘what exactly are they doing here?’”
Fox News mentioned the rally a couple times during Fox & Friends and correspondent Molly Henneberg began reporting for the network in the NoonET hour.
In addition to streaming on the homepage of Comedy Central, in stunning HD, the rally is being carried on C-SPAN.
> Update: During an “awards” presentation, Colbert chided several news organizations for choosing to not cover the rally, because, in Colbert’s words, viewers might perceive a bias. The outlets included ABC and CBS and NPR. Said Colbert. “Oh no not NPR!, If their employees attend the rally people will think they’re liberal!” He gave the award for courage to a 7-year-old girl instead.
> Update: A fear medal was given to Anderson Cooper‘s tight black t-shirt. Anytime you see Anderson Cooper reporting from a scene of devastation, “you should stock up,” said the announcer. A t-shirt was then brought on stage, and given the award. “Say hi to Anderson Cooper’s tight black t-shirt,” said Colbert.
> Update: Despite what Colbert said on stage, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews is covering along with a number of CBS News video journalists onsite. As we reported earlier this week, CBS News has once again hired AirPhotosLive.com to deploy their balloon over the mall, to photograph the rally, and generate a crowd estimate.
> Update: The two-hour event drew to a close with Stewart defining what his rally was all about: “We live now in hard times, not end times,” he said. “We can have animus and not be enemies.” Stewart saved his angst for the group he assails each night on his Comedy Central show: cable news. “The country’s 24-hour politico, pundit, perpetual, conflictanoid did not cause our problems. But its existence makes solving them that much harder.”
> Update: ABC News covered as well. Claire Shipman and Karen Travers reported for ABC TV and Steve Portnoy covered for ABC News Radio.