Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: your thoughts

I realize I should have posted this ages ago but, for my final paper, I'm exploring the notion of whether or not "The Daily Show" could be considered a legitimate news source and whether or not Jon Stewart could be considered a "real" journalist, and I was curious to see how members of the class felt about Stewart. While I won't be using any of this in my paper or anything as I'm about finished, I was just wondering how members of a Media Ethics class felt about him overall before we present on Tuesday. Whether you think Stewart is a pretentious, unfunny comedian who perpetuates a double standard by lecturing other journalists from the safety of his comedy show, a funny guy but not necessarily a real reporter, or a hard-hitting investigatory journalist that just so happens to make us laugh, I really want to know what you think!


  1. I think Jon Stewart is brilliant. He does not consider himself a journalist, and I think on the premise he adds opinion and often mocks journalists rather than reports news supports this. However, many journalists would do well to use some of his techniques. He always backs up what he says by letting the words of the people he's scrutinizing speak for themselves by showing or reading them to viewers. I am sure this takes some serious investigation. Stewart just connects the dots very cleverly for the viewers. I think he is very amusing, and I might add Colbert is as well. Both are very smart and know how to do journalism in the sense of objectivity. While both do have opinions, they are not selective about who they pick on. They pick on everybody. This should be a maxim for journalists everywhere. Both obviously have to do some reporting, reading and investigating, or their often in-depth commentary and satire would be not be possible. This leads me to my next point that unless a viewer of these shows are informed and aware of current news/events/the journalistic process, they will be totally lost to the satire and in-depth commentary. These guys don't provide background, but more of an anylization of news and the news process that I think is beneficial in the sense it's not only funny, but allows society to see where we've really screwed up. I enjoy how Colbert and Stewart use facial expression and gestures to further highlight the abusurdity of whatever the story is. I think this is a nice change from serious and dull-witted broadcasters. However, I do not think these shows serve as surrogates for papers, broadcast news, etc. for the reasons I've already stated. If you don't know what's going on before you watch the Daily Show or the Colbert Report, you will learn nothing new, but leave perhaps more confused. This is a good clue for journalists though. While everyone complains about in-depth news taking too much space, journalists need to provide context to readers. It's their job, not Stewart's. Stewart is like the unofficial ombudsman for the public for all news media. I think this job is crucial in a time where media blasts us from every area creating an info overload. Stewart researches the why and how things are the way the are, and what is wrong with it. Ironically, I think while he doesn't provide a lot of context, he can masterfully puts the bigger theme, the take home lesson if you will, into context for viewers who might have been lost to make their own analyzation from the media overload. Stewart and Colbert's talent of finding the contradictory statements of politicians and other public figures serves us well. This is really investigative journalism at it's best. I was watching Colbert the othe night, and he used great analogies of the phrase having your cake and eating it too in relation to the economic downturn. I was laughing on floor crying when it was over. The comic relief is great and the truthful, burning words he says stay with me after the laughing is over. While this isn't a legitimate news source, it is definately a legitimate form of news media, intelligent commentary and analyzation. Long live Jon.

  2. Wow! That's awesome! I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I totally agree with you about the unique place that social satire has in the realm of news media and how, because it is not traditionally legitimate news media, it can give can give the individuals involved the opportunity make commentary and give insight that wouldn't be possible with more authentic news programming. And a lot of your statements actually remind me of what show writer Ben Karlin actually said about the mission statement of "The Daily Show:" "The main thing, for me, is seeing hypocrisy. People who know better saying things that you know they don't believe." Anyway, I appreciate your insight and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my presentation!