Thursday, June 23, 2005 :::
Don't know what the Downing Street Memo is? That's not surprising if you live in America. Read about it here. Natalee is that girl who went missing on her senior trip in Aruba or whatever. And Michael Jackson was in a really cool video with morphing faces and stuff once.
::: posted by dan at 12:12 AM :: [ link ] :: (12) comments
12 previous comments:
Jon Stewart is talking about it... so MAYBE someone, besides the people that read the New York Times will figure it out soon. Maybe. He even asked Colin Powell about it. I love Jon Stewart.
One of his funniest moments ever, there had been a huge, deadly attack in Iraq, so he decides to "Cuts to the big news station for this breaking story" and every damned one was reporting on Julia Roberts twins. Nice.
By elcynic, at 1:38 AM
sad, sad, sad.
Wish BBC was on that list...
By , at 7:52 AM
This is why I get my news from Comedy Central.
Oh and I try to read the newspaper but always only get to the Target circular.
By Biglug, at 8:06 AM
Jon Stewart. Yeah that guy is a great source of news. He's not at all one-sided.
I especially loved when he had Kerry on his show. What a riveting interview that was. Remember all of that great info we got out of that?
That interview, and the rest of Jon Stewart's 'journalism' is only surpassed by Katie Couric's interview of The Runaway Bride.
Wasn't there a topic about hypocrites on Planetdan a few days ago? Jon Stewart calling out the media and then hiding behind his "but I'm on comdey central" cloak to diguise his one-sidedness puts him right up there with Rush and Al Franken.
Dude goes on 60 Minutes and calls out the national media, but then when asked why he doesn't do what he wants the media to do, he simply says, "but I'm on Comedy Central ... and oh yeah, I have a book for sale".
He's a fraud just like pols like Tom Delay and their family's 500K to stuff envelopes and celebs like Bono and his performing in the Frito Lays Superbowl halftime brought to you by E-Trade one day after calling out corporations and globalism.
If you're seriously going to The Daily Show for news, do yourself a favor and try reading the Economist or the Times for thirty minutes a day instead, or at least watch Charlie Rose.
By , at 9:10 AM
Actually, I have another rant I need to get off (can you tell that I went from tivoing The Daily Show everynight to not watching it once Jon started going total hypocrite in an effort to promote his book/himself).
It's just as much the responsibility of CNN, ABC, FOX and every other channel to inform the public of 'real' news as it is Comedy Central. It's not their responsibility at all. All of them are for-profit companies whose stated purpose is to make money, not to educate the public.
So, they're after ratings and will show what people want to watch. If more people wanted to watch bombs blowing up in Iraq, Link TV and it's show Mosiac (News from the Middle East Direct TV channel 375 usually around 10pm, but the time seems to fluctuate) would have higher ratings than Entertainment Tonight, but it doesn't.
In their constant quest for ratings, and in turn profits, don't you think the news channels would show what we consider to be 'real news' if they thought there was a market for it?
They don't because there isn't - which is why Mosaic is burined on something called Link TV and The Runaway Bride interview with Katie Couric is on primetime.
If you want to say something sucks, you can say the American Public sucks, but then again who are we to say that people should watch Directv channel 366 and its great international news programs over reruns of Seinfeld.
Who am to say how people should spend their time, and the fact that I read Harpers and watch Charlie Rose surely doesn't make me any superior to the guy who reads Maxim and watches The OC. All it means is that from time to time I may go off on rants like this against people who I think 'just don't get it' while the other guy is laughing and being entertained with sports and smut, which in the end is probably a better way to spend your time.
By , at 9:42 AM
Anon, let me explain.
First, Jon Stewart is a comedian. His show is played on Comedy Central. He is totally upfront about the fact that he does fake news and makes no claims to be anything but a money-grubbing entertainer.
See the reason that's funny is because even in light of those revelations, he's STILL a better news source than the NEWS.
Second, you're right, the market drives content on all channels. That's free unterprise. Unfortunately, democracy doesn't exist without an informed electorate, so what you're basically saying is that the capitalist freedom which supposedly makes America great is actually preventing it from being that other thing that supposedly makes it great: DEMOCRATIC.
Now, if the news is market driven, and it is, and there's technically no problem with that - captialism is cool, IMO - what do you propose? You ae satisfied with America's self-imposed ignorance? Perhaps you'd like to get your real news from publicly-funded sources such as the socialist (haw) CBC in (gasp) Canada, or the BBC in Britain?
By all means, complain about the market, if it makes you feel good. What you're doing is accepting the doctrine of inevitability: that people will instinctively chose what they want in a free market society, and we're powerless to change it. The only flaw in the reasoning, of course, is that people can be taught to THINK they want something when they don't. The market responds to the desire that IT CREATES. That can be changed.
By caligata, at 12:15 PM
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
By elcynic, at 12:43 PM
Who is complaining about the market? If people want 'real' news they have plenty of options. BBC and CBC have programs every night on DirecTV channel 366. There's always NPR for American free media. PBS has Charlie Rose. The Economist is out there. Link TV has news from around the world. My point is that people obviously don't want that. If the electorate is uninformed or unaware of the Downing Street Memo, the blame may lie with them more than some TV station that never claimed that it was out to educate the public in the first place.
And good luck trying to get people to "think they want something when they don't". If it was that easy, wouldn't the major for-profit outlets convince the public that they want 'real' news? After all, it would be much easier, and cheaper, to simply broadcast news footage than create and write entertaining fiction and pay actors millions of dollars a year. Face it, most people would rather watch Friends than a discussion between Tom Friedman and Muhammad Zeidan.
But anyway, yes Jon Stewart is a comedian and his show is on Comedy Central; however, he steps out of that role when he goes on CNN or 60 Minutes and the print media and says that he really and truly wants the media to start reporting more 'real news'.
Here's an idea for Jon Stewart: why don't you step down from Comedy Central and take a show on any one of the dozens of other news channels out there. Considering their relative obscurity, I'm sure that the 'real news' channels Link or NWI would be more than happy to have you and would give you freedom to report what you deem to be important.
Could the hold up be the small problem of pay? I'm sure these that other stations would be willing to pay him well into the six figures, but it would pale to the millions that he is making now. I think Jon would rather watch his bank account grow with even more millions rather than take a different position where he could work to give America the 'real news' that he claims they want and deserve.
The guy is just as much about the money as the people that he is harping about all the time, and that's fine, I don't blame him for that. What makes him a hypocrite is when he steps out of his Daily Show role and calls people out for doing the exact same thing that he is doing.
He wants someone to report 'real news', and he might even be willing to do it, just as long as it doesn’t interfere with his million dollar salary.
By , at 2:13 PM
"...some TV station that never claimed that it was out to educate the public in the first place."
Watch the commercial for any local newscast or national news channel and they are clearly trying to promote themselves as being current, informative, and balanced. Every single one of them tries to present itself as your one-stop source for news, as the place you need to go to stay informed. Not a one of them will admit being a for-profit company that is out to make money. And this is beside the point, but if you ask me, the capitalist goal of making money shouldn't have to preclude any sense of social responsibility.
And since when doesn't the American public want to hear about a lying crook of a president? People clamor for that kind of stuff. If the American media isn't reporting this stuff, it's not because they American public doesn't want to see it, it's because the American media is trapped and pressured and influenced by politics and partisanship on all sides. In short, the American media is a bunch of pussies.
By dan, at 3:49 PM
Anon, you don't get it. Mr. Stewart is not a journalist. He is a comedian. If he wanted to do journalism, he would, and he'd get paid handsomely.
He does comedy. He's upfront about it. There is no duplicity, here.
The Daily Show serves two important roles that make it important as distinct from "news" outlets:
1) Introspection. The media is nothing so much as defensive. Since it is virtually the only means by which people can get access to the information they need to self-govern, there should be a constant, open meta-narrative concerning the media. The Daily Show provides that (such as it is).
2) The traditional media outlets draw bloodthirsty viewers by highlighting conflict, making vaudeville out of it. The Stewart interviews guests of all political stripes in an open, humane atmosphere. The right howled about his kid-gloves treatment of Kerry, but failed to note the fact that he treats every guest that way. The point is civility. Everyone has an opinion, and the right to express it in their own words. Stewart celebrates that, and uses the interview segment to contrast the Daily Show with mainstream crap like Hardball.
"...good luck trying to get people to 'think they want something when they don't'..."
One word: advertising. If it didn't work, it wouldn't exist. Also, you don't need 99% of the crap advertised on TV, but people buy it. Why?
"...it would be much easier, and cheaper, to simply broadcast news footage than create and write entertaining fiction and pay actors millions of dollars a year..."
Dead wrong: real news costs a lot of money and takes a hell of a lot of work to produce. That footage doesn't appear out of thin air, you know. People risk their lives to get it.
Anyway, I think you're deliberately missing the point. Rather than engaging the larger point here, that the media outlets people depend on are crap, you're attacking Jon Stewart's desire for cash.
I have a job too. I get paid well. That fact doesn't diminish the validity of my opinion, or the weight of my vote (especially considering I live in Canada where, in contrast to the US, election fraud is frowned upon).
By caligata, at 6:04 PM
Geez Dan, why didn't you start the whole "bikers suck" thing again...
By , at 9:46 AM
"the media outlets people depend on are crap"
Not ABC, CNN, NBC, or CBS, or Newsweek, or The World Weekly News' fault if you rely on them for your source of information.
Other, "better" outlets exists.
And Dan, I love your blog and agree with a lot of what you say, but it's the public's problem if they believe whatever advertisment for whatever news station that they read. If KMSTP channel 9 says that they are your one-stop source of information, and you believe them, especially when they are owned by a for-profit company whose mission is to provide returns to share holders, well then that's the viewers problem.
And the capitalist goal of making money, wouldn't preclude social responsibility if consumers favored the socially responsible company. The fact that the National Enquirer has more readers the Economist ought to tell you that people are not as interested in say, Robert Mugabe plowing down homes in Zimbabwe as much as they are Tom and Katie (although for some interesting reading you can the Zimbabwe national newspapers online and see who Mugabe's people try to explain away bulldozing thousands of homes).
Although it is tough, rather a waste of time, to attempt to have a rational debate with someone who claims that election fraud is not looked down upon in America.
By , at 7:55 PM
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