The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium
|Date||October 6, 2012|
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium: O'Reilly vs. Stewart 2012 is a debate between Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and moderated by CNN news anchor E.D. Hill. It took place on October 6, 2012 in Washington, D.C., starting at 8 pm with most of its audience viewing via Internet stream and subsequent download. According to The New York Times, O'Reilly and Stewart "have been guests on each other’s programs since 2001" but "rarely agree on anything except their mutual respect for each other."
The format of the debate was broken up into two sections: the first half followed the usual "presidential debate" format, while for the second half, the three took seats closer to the audience and answered questions posted by the audience and viewers on the Internet. While the discussion topics were essentially the same as the presidential debate a few days prior, much of the event was laced with humour: an oft reused gag was the notable height difference between 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) O'Reilly and the 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) Stewart – to compensate, Stewart had a mechanical riser built into his podium, which he would often use for comic effect.
Promotional posters had explicitly announced, "It's why Al Gore invented the Internet." A live internet stream and downloadable video files were offered for $4.95, with O'Reilly and Stewart donating half of the net profits to a number of charitable causes. The day after the debate was announced, tickets to attend the event live at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University were sold out.
Technical troubles arose at the start of the debate, preventing thousands of users from being able to watch the event live. The event's Facebook page cited overwhelming demand as the cause.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote of the event: "O'Reilly and Stewart attacked each other's arguments but not their personalities, armed with facts and a fair bit of passion. They didn't replace traditional news sources or change many minds, but they did offer a blueprint for debate that can inform, entertain and push forward the bounds of public discussion at once."
At a post-debate press conference, Time noted that Stewart "resisted attempts to analyze the meaning and influence of the event" and that he had similarly maintained his 2010 "Rally to Restore Sanity" was purely for entertainment value.
The Christian Science Monitor described The Rumble as "a giant promotion to attract more followers to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on Comedy Central and “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News" with the potential to serve as infotainment that would raise civic engagement. However, Nicholas Sywak of the liberal Salon.com felt the entertainment value was lacking and that it was "barely worth $4.95, much less a Saturday night."
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- Hautman, Emmarie. "Stewart and O’Reilly Share Stage in Political Joust". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Haaretz: As U.S. elections inch closer, one debate promises some comic relief. September 18, 2012.
- Memmott, Carol; Lindsay Deutsch (7 October 2012). "O'Reilly, Stewart 'rumble' debate brings the humor". USA Today. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium – Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Auditorium, Lisner. "GW Lisner Auditorium Box Office". GW Lisner Auditorium. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Cirilli, Kevin (2012-10-06). "Tech glitch hits Jon Stewart-Bill O’Reilly debate". Retrieved 2012-10-06.
- "Jon Stewart-Bil O'Reilly debate brings the humor" by Carol Memmott and Lindsay Deutsch, USA Today, October 8, 2012, Retrieved 2012-10-08
- "Review: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly's 'Rumble'" by Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay Times Retrieved 2012-10-08
- Steinmetz, Katy (7 October 2012). "The Stewart-O’Reilly Debate: An Inside View of a Seriously Hilarious Rumble". Time. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Terry, Allison (6 October 2012). "The Bill O'Reilly-Jon Stewart 'rumble': More than a jab-fest?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Sywak, Nicholas. "The Rumble 2012: Jon Stewart steamrolls Bill O'Reilly". Salon.com. Retrieved 7 October 2012.