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:
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“):
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 Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
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