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Daily Show finally shows segment featuring local Tea Party activist

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2009 - Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" finally aired its segment on the Tea Party movement's "buycott" of Whole Foods, and the leadership role played by local conservative Gina Loudon.

Loudon, wife of former state Sen. John Loudon, gets only a few seconds of airtime in the 4-minute segment, which aired Tuesday night on the show, which runs on the Comedy Central cable channel.

She was interviewed off-camera for several hours earlier this month by Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, while conducting a buycott of a Whole Foods store in New Jersey. Loudon had led an earlier action here at a West County Whole Foods story.

But Gina Loudon said today that she was actually relieved by the brevity and tone of the segment. It pokes fun at how the buycott -- prompted by Whole Foods' chief executive John Mackey's public comments against the Democratic efforts to revamp health care coverage -- has shifted the attitudes of liberals and conservatives toward the organic food chain.

Conservatives are being encouraged to shop at the chain to show support for Mackey, while some liberals are staying away out of protest.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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