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31 October 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:10am

Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity

American TV satirist attracts more than a quarter of a million people in Washington, DC.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

On Friday, my colleague Mehdi Hasan looked forward to the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Hope”, organised by the American TV satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Mehdi was unsure about the political coherence of the event, intended by Stewart and Colbert as a response to the “Restoring Honour” rally, led in Washington, DC in August by the hero of the Tea Party and Fox News anchor Glenn Beck. He wondered whether “an avowedly liberal comedian and TV show host [can] really take a stand in the ‘middle’ between the ‘extremes’ of left and right” and questioned if he risked “losing credibility with his core audience/supporters if he does so”.

It remains to be seen whether Stewart succeeded in splitting the difference between the “extremes” of left and right. But he did manage to attract a huge crowd to the National Mall in the US capital yesterday. Estimates put the crowd at between 250,000 and half a million. Take a look at Stewart’s opening address to the rally here:

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