I’m in awe of John Stewart. He makes more good points in fifteen seconds than most commentators can do in 5,000 words.
It is true. Is it a sign of the times that a parody of a news show a) does it better than “real” news shows and b) that comedy is the only effective way to cover today’s politics?
Certainly compared to nightly television news (which we’ve stopped watching in favor of Stewart) it’s a much more intelligent show. And even though it’s a comedy show, it is also a serious show.
Part of the problem is that what constitutes “news” is often sound bytes.
Local news tends to accebtuate crime and sensationalism, including shilling foir their own coverage.
Speaking of shilling, there’s CNN’s Anderson Cooper and the”best political team”.
What often passes for analysis are spokespersons for various ideologies spouting theri talking poinst at each other.Yuk!
Then there’s “fair and balanced” Fox Nerws.
Thank God for PBS, and especially “Washington Week.”
Clearly Jon Stewart was badly hurt in this crash as the rest of America. Yes there was comedy in this piece but it was mostly dead serious. And never was Stewart more brilliant. As noted above he was so spot on. You can bottle it.
David Gibson –
Maybe we pay so much attention to Stewart because he is not only brilliant, he is so brilliant he can simplify things without over-over-simplyfing them. This means that he can reach all sorts of people, not just those with fancy educations. He’s our community comic.
In the olden days (there she goes again!) there were a few other comics who could reach everyone. My father said Will Rogers was one. Washington was a favorite target of his as was big business. Jack Benny and Fred Allen also reacched everyone. Allen’s acerbic, even cynical wit has yet to be matched in America. Steward by contrast is a basically sweet guy who is willing to tell it like it *really* is, which appeals mightily to a depression audience desparate for facts.
By the way, it strikes me that he serves as straight man to Colber’s zaniness, even though they aren’t on camera much together. His presence somehow sets the tone for the whole hour, or it tries to. There are few straight men these days. (Another sign of the times, maybe? Why?)
What’s quite new about Stewart is that he focuses mainly on the important news, he hits big targets, but he doesn’t then run, as did the court jesters in Shakespeare’s plays. He takes on the king. (Colbert, on the other hand, is more of a jester.
this clip, however, is more straight news, which confirms his bona fides as a journalist.
I have to confess that I have a hard time watching The Daily Show. It gives me a feeling similar to watching one of those hidden camera shows where they embarrass someone for everyone else’s amusement. Too cringe-inducing.
Do you mean the Colbert Show? It is “cringe-inducing.” Don’t tell Cathleen Kaveney.
Finally watched Cramer v. Stewart on tivo last night. Cramer was like the genial school boy admitting mistakes and hoping to get off lightly. Stewart was the stern school master trying to get a point across about the whole CNBC nonsense. I predict the two will go their own merry way having carried out a ritual battle. Martha Stewart was good with the rolling pin.
Margaret, without disagreeing exactly, I’d say on behalf of Stewart’s performance that there is a long tradition in Western culture of the fool (comedian here) being the only one bold enough to ask the hard questions. Certainly, Stewart has made news by tweaking “Mad Money,” and that’s driven the story in a new direction.
PBS had a segment about this last night (first time I’d seen the clip) in which the point was made by Columbia journalism school (blanking out on names this morning) that the business media (Business Week and a biz columnist for th LA Times were there to defend) didn’t ask the hard questions.
The LA Times columnist was a bit whiny, protesting that when they wrote stories that warned about economic problems, they were besieged by those in the blogosphere who had a vested interest in maintaining the instability.
The picture that emerged for me was one in which trained journalists at a credible newspaper were allowing untrained blabbermouths of dubious credibility to push the them into excessive navel gazing and away from reporting and investigating.
Points out the dangers of “citizen journalists” (and maybe Stewart falls into that category, too) and the dwindling resources newspapers have to fund investigation.
Kramer is aptly eating crow and the question is how. Baloney that his friends lied to him. If this is true then Kramer has to at least admit to intense stupidity which is contra his mantra. Not only Kramer but practically all those finance people knew the bottom was falling out. They just could not resist selling short before the inevitable collapse.
It should be clear this is not about greedy people wanting houses. It is greedy bankers and ceos piling it on while the going was good when they clearly knew the house was built on sand. This is why I was so impressed with Stewart. He got it and explained it clearly. It is more than Madoff and it was going on a long time. Enron went first and others were doing the same but were able to last longer.
Stewart’s personal loss certainly drove this horse. But he enlightened many people by doing what he did.
Stewart’s larger, more important point was the CNBC, as an organization was remiss in its coverage of financial news. The fact that Kramer is nothing more than a shill and cheerleader is a symtom of this wider problem. Kramer’s job was not to tell the truth but to provide entertainment and boost ratings.
Stewart can say all this because — wait for it — he is from the “Comedy Channel”. Thus, he was not bound by the unspoken rule among the media that thou shalt not speak ill of the competition.
Cramer’s show gives lie to Christopher Lasch’s comment that “The reason that there are no more freak shows is because we have become a society that has no place for freaks.” Equally applicable to Bill O’Reilly and Rush Humbug.