When questioned about Reddit’s role in the inception of what would become the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” Jon Stewart may have understated the role of the internet a bit.
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian questioned as to Stewart to what degree internet enthusiasm inspired the rally, to which Stewart answered that it “didn’t hurt.” (Ouch.) Colbert also downplayed the importance of Reddit (where it appears the idea originated) when asked, saying that the internet “didn’t affect” rally attendance one way or the other. (Of course, upwards of 10,000 New Yorkers were bussed to the National Mall on blog-sourced buses, but…)
Today, Drew Curtis of Fark posted an angry open letter ripping into The Daily Show not only for not giving credit where credit is due in regards to the rally, but also for mining Fark and Reddit for comedy topics without ever once mentioning either site on the show. Curtis begins:
Did you hear that Reddit? All that work you put into getting the word out, organizing meetups, and convincing people to go “didn’t hurt”. All that initial support in getting the ball rolling on this rally a few months back was great, but it wasn’t a factor. Thanks for your meaningless and futile support that Comedy Central really didn’t need at the end of the day to get a surprise crowd of 250,000 people to the rally. Did you hear that Internet? You had no role in this either, it was all Comedy Central all the way.
After accusing the network of not really admitting the idea for the rally belonged to the internet, Curtis goes on to accuse Comedy Central writers of snatching yo’ memes up:
Why am I so bent about this? First and foremost, because a friend of mine got smacked down on live TV by a guy he helped, and I can’t stand by and do nothing about it without at least saying something. But also because Daily Show writers have been doing essentially the same thing to me, every single day for the past 10 years. They use Fark every day to source material, and haven’t mentioned Fark on air even one single time. It’s the same attitude toward Reddit: “sure doesn’t hurt, but not a significant contribution.” Thanks to Fark, your writers don’t have to go far to fill your shows up with material for you to use. Every writer I’ve met thanks me vociferously for Fark and tells me how much easier it makes their jobs. Sure that’s not worth a daily mention, but I would think at least one in the last 10 years. It has yet to happen. I’ve learned to live with it, but Alexis is my friend and he does not deserve this kind of treatment. Especially considering the effort Reddit put into promoting the rally.
Curtis ends his letter by suggesting to Comedy Central that if they continue to leech off the internet, the unwashed blogging masses could turn against them for their next initiative. He also says flat out that Comedy Central did do the bulk of the work in promoting the rally, just that the internet also played an invaluable role in making it what it ultimately became. (Attendance is believed to have been in the hundreds of thousands.)
Do you think Stewart and Colbert’s comments were ungrateful and out of line? Does Reddit deserve more credit for the success of the rally?