Once again, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart does a good job interviewing a much more interesting guest than is commonly found on the network news channels.It occurs to me that if journalists bemoan
the state of their craft, or the blurring of its conventionally accepted role, this is partly because “professional, big-time journalism” has lost site of itself and what it is supposed to be
. It has inflicted a great deal of damage upon itself by confusing reportage with advocacy, not just in the minds of consumers, but within itself. Content to feed echo chambers they’d previously thought to rise above, more focused on promoting journalistic “stars” than content, modern news networks have become incurious, dull and narrow, like a provincial old aunt who makes a housecall once a year and can’t wait to return home, because the quickened world leaves her so confused and depleted. They stick to scripts and narratives they feel safest with.
It is almost hard to imagine a mainstream journalist conducting this interview, isn’t it? Depending on the network, he or she would be busy trying to debunk or assist Marilynne Robinson’s ideas about the unnecessary and growing chasm between faith and science, instead of simply asking questions, listening well enough to ask a follow-up, and allowing the audience to receive its own impressions and ponder for themselves.