Saturday night’s debate between cable heavyweights Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly signaled a shift in the tone of how people consume their media and perhaps how seriously an audience is willing to take its politics, even if there weren’t many surprises onstage.
Dubbed “O’Reilly Vs. Stewart 2012: The Rumble In The Air Conditioned Auditorium,” the debate between the popular hosts -- who couldn’t have political ideologies that are more different -- drew so many viewers that the online live streaming event crashed its host site’s server. Tickets to the event, which was held at George Washington University, sold for upwards of $100, and many more fans paid a small fee to stream the screaming match live.
Video of the event and an audio recording of the banter is available on TheRumble2012.com, but multiple videos of the debate were up on YouTube just hours after “The Rumble” had wrapped up, one of which you can find below.
The tone of the debate was serious, but the tone never reached the point where the combatants couldn’t make a joke at each other’s expense. Stewart skewered O’Reilly for his political rhetoric and joked that the latter's “O’Reilly Factor” fans are living in an alternate reality. Stewart added that much of O'Reilly's conservative audience resides at a place called “Bulls**t Mountain.”
O’Reilly, on the other hand, took Stewart to task for being a poster child for the lazy masses in what he considers to be “entitlement nation.” He also took a shot at Stewart for his multiple stints in rehab, a step over the line in the eyes of many audience members.
Along with their general distaste for each other’s politics, Stewart and O’Reilly agreed that Stewart was short, and that it was an issue that’s plagued the nation since 2003.
“We should have never gone to Iraq,” O’Reilly admitted as Stewart silently mocked him from across the stage.
The Associated Press reports that the hundreds of thousands of viewers whose streams didn’t work are all eligible for a refund.