Jon Stewart and the abdication of the watchdogs

This is an interesting read from the New York Times.

It’s a telling piece, if only for this sour grapes comment from Brian Williams – “Jon gets to decide the rules governing his own activism and the causes he supports,” Mr. Williams said, “and how often he does it — and his audience gets to decide if they like the serious Jon as much as they do the satirical Jon.”  Correct me if I’m wrong, but Brian Williams is the anchor, right?  He too can choose what he wants to cover.

While Stewart took an activist position in this case, the network news didn’t even cover the story until the day after the Daily Show broadcast.  Stewart and the First Responders weren’t looking for partners in activism, they were simply looking for the news, whether it was the networks evening news broadcasts or anything on the 24-hour cable networks, to shed light on the story.  They wanted the American Public to be given the information they needed to form an opinion on the lack of action in the Senate.  The media failed to do that.  It’s the height of dis-ingenuousness for Mr. Williams to hide behind the “he gets to decide what he wants to cover, I don’t” trope.  The media made an active decision to not cover the unfolding saga with the 9/11 First Responders bill and Jon Stewart, as he often does on other media issues, called them on it.

The Murrow and Cronkite comparisons are interesting and maybe correct on this issue.  In most other cases Jon Stewart ends doing Howard Kurtz’s and his ilk’s job far better than they ever do.  When was the last time “Reliable Sources” or its anemic counterpart at Fox ever genuinely criticized the media for forgetting that it is supposed to be our watchdog, not the Government’s mouthpiece?  Maybe that’s why Brian Williams won’t address why his broadcast didn’t cover they story until “The Daily Show” did.

One Response to “Jon Stewart and the abdication of the watchdogs”
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