Jon Stewart’s Effective Correctives to Press

Love him or hate him (I have always mostly liked him) I think Jon Steward actually does give a crap about keeping the press honest, if only to insure that his own preferences (or stories he finds interesting) are included in the prevailing narrative. Just so:

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Stewart is actually in a rare and enviable position. If he wants to, he has the strongest bully pulpit imaginable with which to issue effective correctives to the hyper-partisan, agenda-driven press. First of all, he’s an acknowledged liberal, so the “smart” and “thoughtful” credentials are automatically applied to him, and his complaints and corrections cannot be dismissed as “stupid conservative sour grapes”.

Second, he hosts a satirical news program that often runs rings around real news broadcasts, in terms of relevant content.

Glenn Reynolds has often said that voting Republican is the only way to insure media scrutiny of politicians and policies. He’s also said that the only way to make an unpopular program popular is to put a Democrat in the White House and have him endorse it. Both assertions are demonstrably true — note how silent the mainstream press has been about Obama’s continuation of so many Bushian “constitution-shredding” policies (press “Arrested Development“):

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Arrested Development - One-Way Train to Gitmo
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

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Third, Stewart has the ability to completely unmask the mainstream–and its noisiest pundits–as unthinking-idiot-toadies, and I believe the message here is, “are you listening to yourselves? Start acting like real journalists, or the unmasking must begin!”

Watch this: (Press “Civil Disservice“)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Civil Disservice
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

I say, unmask! Unmask! As I’ve said before:

Liberty lives only when the press is free and unencumbered – when it is detached from events instead of entwined in them.

Our press has mostly surrendered its own freedom, gladly handing it over in conformance to the ideologies conventional to its newsrooms and the cocktail party circuit.

A free press is worth fighting for, though, and worth resuscitating, too. I wonder if it is too late?

Related: Ann Althouse on a question about questions

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Todd

    Agreement on Jon Stewart, but the mainstream press is less ideological than a bunch of toadies for corporations. We’re being fed what sells–it’s the one commonality across the board from Fox to MSNBC.

  • Roy Lofquist
  • fiestamom

    I’m not crazy about Stewart, but it’s surprising that the “journalists” aren’t even embarrassed about their obvious bias. Brian Williams used to be at least kind of unbiased, but what happened to him? The bowing to Obama was embarrassing.

    Did you see that Margaret Thatcher video over on Althouse? “He would rather have the poor poorer provided that the rich were less rich. That is the liberal policy”. Her antagonist on the video could have been in a time machine, he’s yammering on about the gap btw the rich and poor. How do liberals do it, do they just keep on keeping on until we give up b/c we’re tired of listening to them?

  • Debbie

    I don’t watch it, so it has no impact on me and my family. We *hear* about him. Maybe he should try to appeal to those who are “out of touch” with pop culture.

  • Virago

    I am a Fox devotee though I monitor the others as one does hapless teenagers who are heady from hormones and power.

    Jon Stewart may be funny but he also can be quite narrow-minded; I sometimes watch him for fun but not to be informed.

    Anchoress, I am surprised and amused you are such a fan.


  • Rick

    Bummer, the video’s been taken down…

  • Greta

    In some ways, Jon Stewart very occasional swipes like this are designed to give him credibility so that his far left slant most often delivered can be defended. Unlike those on the conservative side who have to defend every word, Stewart is free to speak out unchallenged with the most blatant lies delivered with humor at the expense of anyone who actually believes what their Church teaches or what the Constitiution actually says.

    He is however talented at what he does and that in many ways makes him more dangerous. He can count on having his occasional hits on the left getting wide exposure on all those blogs who are conservative which is frankly the only time many see what he has to say. This gives many who never see his normal routine with a false impression about his ongoing liberal bias. I think it would be good for those who do watch him, to save some of his most liberal rants to add to these occasional trips over to the middle world.