Who won last night's Stewart-O'Reilly debate?

The roughly annual showdowns between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly used to feel genuinely exciting and transgressive. Stewart was a hero to savvy and/or annoyingly smarmy young liberals; O’Reilly was the standard-bearer for right-wing indignation and/or paranoid gasbaggery. But the dueling hosts have a tough time hiding just how much they like each other — as EW’s Ken Tucker noted in his review of their not-so-great Commongate debate, they both appeared to be “in on the joke, and the joke was trumped-up outrage from opposing political and show-biz poles.” Last night, both men tried to bend themselves into awkward pretend outrage, before finally settling into an extended debate about the separation of the Artist and the Art that felt like the most exciting day in that college philosophy class you hated, complete with a close reading of the lyrics of a U2 song. Still, good points were made on both sides, and we want to hear from you, readers: Who won the Stewart-O’Reilly Commongate Debate? Take the poll after the jump…

Read more:
Jon Stewart debated Bill O’Reilly about Common: Behold, the trumped-up outrage!
Bill O’Reilly challenges Jon Stewart to a debate about ‘the Common situation’
Rapper Common’s White House invitation makes Sarah Palin, Fox News go crazy

Comments (41 total) Add your comment
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  • Daw Johnson

    Stewart definitely won (but his argument, in reality, was crap); O’Reilly didn’t really understand the issue, and frankly, didn’t seem to really believe in the argument either.

    Stewart, however, totally shot himself in the foot when he said something to the effect of songs just being songs at the end of his rant. If that’s the case, then it would FULLY EXPLAIN why it’s okay to have Bob Dylan and Bono at the White House but *NOT* Common (who VISITED Cuba).

    • leftdust

      I am positively FLOORED that Stewart has captured 81% of the votes on an entertainment site – wow.

      • CJW

        Are you FLOORED that Stewart took 79% of the votes on Bill O’Reilly’s website?

  • Amanda

    The REAL issue is the fact that the White House is using our tax dollars to hold such stupid events in the first place. I don’t care who attends – “poetry slams” don’t need to be subsidized by public money!

    • Squirella

      Hold on! I’ll call a waaambulance!

    • Rob

      Well, I wasn’t in favor of my tax dollars being used to fund a war started under false pretenses by the last president, but you don’t get to pick and choose.

      • alice


    • Hannah

      I’d rather my tax dollars went toward something like this than defense contracts and tax breaks for corporations. Sadly, we don’t get to pick exactly where our tax dollars go. I’ll also point out that these types of events have gone on at the White House for years. Were you complaining then, too, or are you starting now because Obama’s president?

    • Scott

      Way to take a stand on this 0.0000000000000000001% of the federal budget!

    • sarah d

      Education falls through the crack in every budget debate ever. Holding a party celebrating poets is raising awareness about literaute and the written arts.

      • Mary

        While I celebrate raising awareness about the arts, including literature and poetry, you cannot tell me that a rapper who celebrates cop killers and talks about burning one of our President is art. This should not be celebrated. The rapper celebrated people who killed our Police Officers. How do you think their families feel that he is being given an invitation to the White House. What if a white, country singer wrote a song about killing President Obama? Wouldn’t it be inappropriate for President Bush to invite that country singer to the White House for a, “poetry slam?” The same goes for President Obama inviting a rapper who talks about killing President Bush. We all have freedom of speech. Why can’t we use it responsibly?

      • @Mary

        Why don’t you actually look into Common’s music and see what it really says for yourself, instead of parroting back what Fox News told you it was about. Just a suggestion — think for yourself?

      • psyche

        #1 – Read some of Johnny Cash’s lyrics about killing people and doing drugs. Double standard? #2 – Common’s lyrics about Bush are not very clear, there is a lot of ambiguity (burn the bush? burn can mean a lot of things including to insult) and even more so if you take it in context of the **entire song** which has a message of peace overall #3 – There is a difference between celebrating a cop killer and thinking the person is wrongfully accused (i.e. it means you think they didn’t do it not that you support them in their action).

        Seriously Common is white bread and not controversial at all if you look into his work and not take a few things couplets out of context (and believe everything you hear from Fox News).

    • Amanda

      I don’t think public money should go towards paying for unnecessary events like this at all when we’re in such deep debt, and yes, I was complaining about the excessive spending under Bush too.

      • christopher carpenter

        do you also accept that the majority of our budget crisies was to pay for the wars in afganistan,and iran – mr bush hid these costs –more importantly is it ok. to continue giving the rich and major corporations tax breaks at the cost of our children’s education and our seniors basic health needs?

      • Craig

        I love this conservative line, “well I was complaining about all the spending under Bush.” It’s the quick way to not be labeled a hypocrite about complaining about government spending now. Sure, a few conservatives may have complained about Bush’s spending frenzy, but they didn’t do it very loudly, did they? They certainly didn’t protest, or you know, not vote for him.

      • Amanda

        Hey Craig – I’m a libertarian.

    • nathan millward

      the real answer should have been why are we subsidizing multibillioin dollar profit companies, i dont think that we are subsidizing the poetry idustry, i pay taxes every year, and im proud of doing so, in that i put food in poor families mouths, i help the elderly with medicine, i help pave roads, i help our brothers and sisters out in the military with the supplies needed, i help keep america alive, what ticks me off is with my tax money i also help out these billion dollar companies who in return dont even pay taxes, but then take my money and then say its the labor cost that they have to take tax money, its all a lie, and needs stopped, if america wants to use my tax money to support poetry and educate america , then i say go right ahead.. but for capitalism i say not here.

  • Redhead

    Jon Stewart is one of the smartest and most entertaining men in the entertainment industry. I would love to have him over for dinner.

  • crispy

    The real winner was pettifog.

    • Dear Readers


  • Adam

    It wasnt a debate, it was Jon tryin to give his opinion and the O’Reilly the moronic racists just doing what he does best, butting in and not letting anyone else give their view.

    • DGH

      If I can’t beat the argument call him a racist it works everytime!

  • Greg

    The only winner is O’Reilly who got Jon to come on his show and got audiences from both shows to watch.

  • dlauthor

    “Last night, both men tried to bend themselves into awkward pretend outrage, before finally settling into an extended debate about the separation of the Artist and the Art that felt like the most exciting day in that college philosophy class you hated”

    Wait, so something vaguely intellectual happened on a cable news show? And we’re complaining that it wasn’t two guys shouting at each other instead?


    • Scott

      Exactly – this whole article is terrible. Decrying a discussion between two people who think differently on a current topic without shouting, and laughing at political extremism? That’s bad? The author of this article is part of the problem – not a credible commentator.

  • Becca

    Stewart has had O’Reilly several times on his show. And I think Stewart won because he actually had more to say, whereas O’Reilly doesn’t listen to anyone but himself and just repeated the same thing.

  • BlackIrish4094

    I’m no Republican (I’m an independant) but I have to admit I was bothered having Common there considering his support of the ex-Black Panther (not just vocal but actually visiting in prison) and do think it sent the wrong message when there are ton of artists who oculd have represented just as well but without the controversy (I know he’s old school but someone like KRS-One). I also disagreed with Obama being on the front cage of the NY Daily News with that dirtbag Al Sharpton. I think Obama is a good (not great) President working in an extremely difficult environment but stuff like Sharpton and Common just give fuel to his detractors IMO.

    • crispy

      Uh, you’re not too bright, are you? KRS-One has a song called “Free Mumia” about Mumia Abu-Jamal and he’s way more controversial than Common, who is actually pretty vanilla. In fact, most famous rappers from Chuck D to Snoop have recorded vocals about Mumia or Assata Shakur, since it’s widely thought they were both unjustly prosecuted.

  • Kenneth

    I felt that O’Reilly was unprepared. He probably thought this was going to be an easy win and that was not the case. I don’t exactly think that there was a real winner because they both lose for debating this non-issue.

    • CandaceTX

      “debating a non-issue”

      @Kenneth FTW!

  • DGH

    Watching those two debate made me realize why I can’t stand Liberals or Conservatives.

  • Stewart clearly won

    Even O’Reilly seemed to only half-heartedly defend his position. You can see the cultural right dissolving in the face of presence and reality. Fox’s racist attacks simply are going nowhere and Stewart simply pointed that out.

    • Steve

      “Even O’Reilly seemed to only half-heartedly defend his position.” Because he had already won by getting you rubes to tune in.

  • Strategic Capital Corporation

    O’ Reilly is never certain about his opinion. you can see it in his face. he is a pretend republican and he will switch sides in a second if it made him more money!

  • Leanna

    I was interested to see what people thought about this, but what’s interesting is that you all seem to be a bunch of ideological idiots. There are a few well thought out responses, but, mostly you sound like the guy screaming “fox lies” all bark and no bite to back it up.

  • Leanna

    Also, I’m an O’Reilly fan, but I thought Stewart won it.

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