Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is Jon Stewart the new Walter Cronkite?

According to a new Time magazine poll, Jon Stewart is the most trusted newsperson in America. I had Morning Joe on this morning while I was getting ready for work, and I heard Willie Geist and Courtney Hazlett "reporting" on this poll. I found their discussion of this telling for two reasons.

First, the Morning Joe team obviously considers this "entertainment" news, since they had it in the Geist-Hazlett section of the show, which is Morning Joe's little pop culture segment (Hazlett is proudly proclaimed on MSNBC's website as the "gossip girl.") Second, they pooh-poohed the results of the poll, by offering up the caveat, "we knew where this was going, since it was an online poll."

Those two reasons pretty much sum up what is wrong with the MSM. Geist and Hazlett's qualification that the poll is somehow inferior because it's online is just silly. Back in March of last year, the NY Times did a story on campaign coverage and how times had changed as to how people got their coverage.

In the most striking finding, half of respondents over the age of 50 and 39
percent of 30- to 49-year-olds reported watching local television news regularly
for campaign news, while only 25 percent of people under 30 said they did.

People aren't watching the nightly news anymore. And why would they? Ever since FOX News was born and the MSM started getting hit everyday with accusations of bias, those very same MSM outlets have been scared shitless of doing the one thing we expect "real" journalism to do: call bullshit. Instead, they bend themselves over backward so hard to give the appearance of being "balanced" that they manufacture balance by elevating complete nonsense and putting it against the truth, as if having two separate sides automatically means you are balanced. How about just reporting the truth and facts. Be "balanced" that way. But God help them if they ever called bullshit.

You know who does call bullshit? Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. You need go no further than watching Stewart eviscerate Jim "Mad Money" Cramer and his networks complicity in the financial crisis to see why an entire generation thinks he is more trustworthy than anyone else on tv. Because while Stewart may just be a comedian, trolling for laughs, he does not try to peddle bullshit to his viewers. You can't say the same for the network and cable news shows.

So I think the poll is big news. It shows just how far the "profession" of journalism has fallen. This was the Fourth Estate, the most important of them all according to Sir Edmond Burke. Now, instead of following the money to unearth the Watergate conspiracy, they are sending emails to the Luv Guv's staff that are so sycophantic and disgusting, you would expect to see Chris Hansen and his production team waiting on the media people if they ever were to arrive on Arsenal Hill.

Jon Stewart is legitimately the most trusted "newsperson" in the country, despite the fact that he hosts a "fake news" show. And Willie, you and Courtney ought to kiss the ring, as he's got way more juice than you or your little morning show.

Late ad: A perfect example of Stewart calling bullshit.

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