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that little cup of sadness
August 16, 2008 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Jon Stewart just might be the most trusted man in America. (NYT article)
posted by blue_beetle (109 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Our country is so corrupt that it gets its news from comedians.
posted by Nelson at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


Our country is so corruption free that it gets its news from comedians.
posted by ZaneJ. at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


His and Colbert's shows are the only American shows I watch.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:11 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes. Yes he is.
posted by spilon at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2008


It's funny, 'cause it's true.
posted by padraigin at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


He and Colbert are the only TV news shows I watch regularly. I just can't stomach the news (or the way it's so smarmily, self-importantly packaged) on any other channel. And I include the CBC in this, even though it maintains maybe a shred more integrity than the contemporary average.

I remember back in '02 or whenever it was, when Dubya issued his stern statement of warning and concern about the latest Israel-Palestine conflagration from the seat of a golf cart, and Stewart was the only program to let the clip run into the "Now watch this drive" denouement (which Michael Moore later made much hay of). I've been hooked ever since, and I'm regularly appalled that no other "journalist" bothers to dig up the clips in which Bush or Cheney or whoever outright contradicts his current stance in the day's pile of spin.

Only thing I'd add is that this Times piece (maybe self-interestedly?) mostly skims over the fact that Stewart's greatest contempt by far is for the toothless, posturing, lapdog news media. To right that balance, here's the magnificent Crossfire clip in which Stewart serves Tucker Carlson his ass and eviscerates his assinine show and the entire breed of windbag bloviation it pioneered. Maybe my favourite 15 minutes of TV of the last ten years.
posted by gompa at 11:26 AM on August 16, 2008 [12 favorites]


Nelson: "Our country is so corrupt that it gets its news from comedians."

If loving you is wrong Mr. Stewart, I don't wanna be right.

NYT: "When Americans were asked in a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to name the journalist they most admired, Mr. Stewart, the fake news anchor, came in at No. 4, tied with the real news anchors Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw of NBC, Dan Rather of CBS and Anderson Cooper of CNN."

First off, this author's definition of 'real' differs from mine. I will with some reluctance agree that Brokaw and Rather are 'real' news anchors in my subjective perspective of reality, but Brian Williams hasn't proven shit to me yet, and Anderson Cooper would only be real to me if I were snorting cocaine of a hooker's back at the time.

Secondly, how can Stewart be fourth, if he tied with these other guys?

Third, the Real News is dedicated and hard working and thorough and concise and serious and determined and supported by donations and respectable and commendable and downright boring as hell.

Don't tell me what's good for me. Don't tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me what's there, and then show me ways to laugh at it, because if I were to honestly take any of this world crap remotely seriously, I'd go crazy and bang my head against the wall repeatedly.

The Daily Show doesn't just report on events, but on how those events are being presented to the masses, which is also newsworthy. That's why Stewart's team of writers is so successful, and by proxy Stewart is successful because he's good at presenting his writers' jokes. Jon Stewart is like the class clown in the back of the class, and we're snickering at the teacher cuz we all know she's been sleeping with the janitor and has a vibrator in her desk drawer and on Saturday nights she goes to that club where people eat sushi off naked nubile chinese girls. Okay. I got carried away on the metaphor, but you know what I mean.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Our country is so corrupt that it gets its news from comedians.

Our country is so corruption free that it gets its news from comedians.


You're both correct.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


He and Colbert are the only TV news shows I watch regularly.

Neither of those are news shows, and you are seriously deluded if you think they are. They are funny commentaries about the news. I fully enjoy them on a daily basis. But if you are using them as your main sources of information about the world around you, then you are just as foolish as those they skewer for our enjoyment (and of course to sell ads, natch).
posted by modernnomad at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love the Daily Show, too. But it kills me that real news programs have become so infotainment that this fake news program is truly the way a lot of my peers learn what's going on in their country. It's really crazy, and deeply corrupt. Print journalism still has decent options for being informed, but when it comes to TV it's all infotainment. The difference is Jon Stewart's actually entertaining. And trustworthy.
posted by Nelson at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


(let me clarify, if of course you mean you get your news from other sources but just not TV, then I get you -- apologies if that is the case).
posted by modernnomad at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2008


I watch the Daily Show more as a "news dessert" than anything else. After reading the day's events online (I don't watch television news all that much, because of the type of self-aggrandizement that the article mentions), and find myself slapping my hand against my forehead over this article, or wanting to break something over that article, I know I can turn to the Daily Show afterwards and laugh. Sometimes the laughter is bittersweet, but it helps.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2008


how can Stewart be fourth, if he tied with these other guys?

All of those guys are tied for the fourth spot with Katie Couric, Bill O'Reilly, and Charles Gibson ahead of them. It's not quite as impressive when you see that part of the list.

The Daily Show is one of the only televised news shows I can stand. I handle the news better from NPR's voices rather than having to see it.
posted by gladly at 11:39 AM on August 16, 2008


It must be difficult to express outrage four days a week without repeating yourself too badly, or turning into Keith Olberman. Even with a team of writers backing you up.
posted by JHarris at 11:39 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yo Zach back up off the Coop! He and Brian Williams are the only ones among this year's Democratic debate moderators who didn't suck voraciously. As James Fallows' close reading of the questioning in the new Atlantic points out, dear departed Tim Russert was consistenly the worst.
posted by nicwolff at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2008


Oh yeah! Thanks GomPa for finding that clip again. I'm watching it again now and it never gets old. He knew the intricacies of this half-baked premise of the show and he knew just how to dismantle it from the get go. Brilliant. Now, granted, I don't know just how Stewart prepared for Crossfire, or if he did. Did he have his writers throw suggestions at him on flash cards which he memorized before going in? Did he watch Crossfire for years hoping for that chance to get on the show and tear it down? Was that really all improvisation on his part? It's hard to say. However, the finished product happened, it's incredibly hilarious.

According to WikiPedia (and how serious can I be taken if I get all my 'serious' news from WikiPedia) Crossfire's Tucker Carlson was essentially fired from the show. CNN opted not to renew Carlson's contract. Crossfire itself was dismantled on January of 2005, after having been a staple of CNN since 1982.

Jon Stewart has become the kid who points at the Emperor and tells him he's wearing no clothes. I love that kid. That's a great kid. I only wish more people could see past the bullshit and show how ludicrous the truth really is.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2008


Hey, don't forget Adam Chodikoff, who finds a lot of the videos for the Daily Show
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


we're snickering at the teacher cuz we all know she's been sleeping with the janitor and has a vibrator in her desk drawer and on Saturday nights she goes to that club where people eat sushi off naked nubile chinese girls.

But none of those are bad things. I think a more accurate metaphor would be a teacher who gives A's to the rich kids while ignoring the fact that they're selling crack to the poor kids, has a revolver in her desk and goes out on Saturday nights to steal money from disabled veterans.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


ZachsMind: "Brian Williams hasn't proven shit to me yet"

But he does come tantalizingly close.

Also, here is the post-9/11 clip mentioned in the article. Despite Stewart's protests to the contrary, I still think it's one of his finest moments on the show.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


ModernNomad: "...if you are using them as your main sources of information about the world around you, then you are just as foolish as those they skewer..."

Actually, I use MeFi as my main source of information about the world around me, but I occasionally supplement that with The Daily Show, and I use WikiPedia the way a visiting monolingual tourist would use a multi-language dictionary. Is this wrong? Of course this is wrong. The proper behavior would be to not question Fox News (spits reflexively) or CNN (holds back a little vomit) and watch them religiously. I prefer improper behavior. It's less taxing on my delicate digestive system.

NicWolff: "Yo Zach back up off the Coop! He and Brian Williams are..."

A couple baby chicks who needed more time on the lower branch before they tried to fly. The Next Walter Cronkite dey iz not. GET OFF MY LAWN.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


A lot of my friends watch The Daily Show and The Colbert "Repoor", personally I can't stand both shows. Yea they both bring up issues that need to be addressed, yea their hearts are in the right place, but what are they really doing. They make fun of politicians, find humor in serious and depressing situations and make their viewers laugh about shit that shouldn't be joked about. If they really gave a damn they should be more worried about actually doing something than making people laugh. And there's just something about Steven Colbert that is off, I think he's more smug than he is funny.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:55 AM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Citizen Premier: "...But none of those are bad things."

Touche. In fact, reading through how I described that fictional teacher's weekends again, I realize that'd actually make for a fun Saturday night. Too bad I don't know any cute janitors personally.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:56 AM on August 16, 2008


But if you are using them as your main sources of information about the world around you, then you are just as foolish as those they skewer

That sounds like it ought to be true but the sad state of affairs is that it isn't. He said it was the only TV news show he watched, which is eminently reasonable in that its coverage of what actually matters is more in-depth and provides more background than any other US TV news program except, just maybe, for the NewsHour on PBS; and even that doesn't put things in context with the kind of efficient, pinpoint accuracy that TDS does.

The Daily Show has hit on a winning formula: what's actually happening is literally painfully funny and absurd to the point of tears, and nobody is reporting it as it is. All their writers have to do is pay attention and put two and two together and they've got comedy gold. It almost literally writes itself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on August 16, 2008


For those of us who don't live in the US and get a skewed picture of the news reporting, what serious news channels are there? The only English news channel I sorta trust is BCC but that's not even on the same continent...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:02 PM on August 16, 2008


BrnP84: "...laugh about shit that shouldn't be joked about."

EVERYTHING SHOULD BE JOKED ABOUT. Nothing is sacred.

I cite just one example here, though I could go on and on: Catholic priests raping altar boys. How can you look at that seriously without suddenly becoming a homicidal maniac with a chainsaw attacking anyone wearing a funny hat? Without humor, you'd go through the stages of grief several times on a daily basis about everything the Evening News told you, and you'd die of bleeding stomach ulcers before you reached 35.

Humor is a defense mechanism, protecting oneself from the truth of humanity.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:03 PM on August 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


BrnP84: Everyone has their own tastes, and no one will tell you that you must like the Daily Show, but I think your assessment is a little harsh. To quote from the article that Brandon Blatcher posted:
So here's Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq four years ago, describing the situation in a TV interview in September 2003: "We're not in a quagmire," he's saying confidently. "The progress is unbelievable."

So what about that progress, general? Because here's Sanchez, now retired, talking about Iraq in a video clip from last October: "There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders. . . . There's no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight."

The before-and-after videos didn't air on CNN or MSNBC or ABC. Instead, the revealing sound bites ran back to back on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."
I think this points out one of the lesser-recognized functions of the Daily Show - sometimes actual information is coveyed! Also, regarding whether or not there are things that cannot or should not be laughed at: I think it is worth pointing out that there are different types of humor. The politicians and situations that are being handled with humor are not necessarily being made light of - the humor stems instead from a sort of "if we don't laugh we'll go insane" response.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:04 PM on August 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Crossfire's Tucker Carlson was essentially fired from the show. CNN opted not to renew Carlson's contract. Crossfire itself was dismantled on January of 2005, after having been a staple of CNN since 1982.

It's more direct than that: Joe Klein cited Stewart's critique repeatedly in the press when he announced the show's cancellation. (Here's the WaPo version; Entertainment Weekly uses my favourite quote from Klein: "I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp.")

(let me clarify, if of course you mean you get your news from other sources but just not TV, then I get you -- apologies if that is the case).

Bingo. I'm a journalist. I just can't stomach regular news as anything other than spectacle. Anytime I'm in the US, I always watch a couple hours of Fox News for just this purpose. It is truly unlike anything else in the global news media - like if Pravda had chosen to publish only in ALL CAPS or something.

Apology accepted, anyhow.

And on preview:

They make fun of politicians, find humor in serious and depressing situations and make their viewers laugh about shit that shouldn't be joked about.

Exactly. Google the phrase "laugh to keep from crying" - it's the engine of all great satire.
posted by gompa at 12:05 PM on August 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Steven Colbert playing a character who is smug. He is not smug. He's acting.

The smugness is the joke. He's playing the part of a "news commentator" who are often self-involved, smug, jerks. It's an accurate portrayal. That may not be funny to you, which is cool. There are other fish on the TV.

I think your critique of "what they are really doing" is off the mark. They have raised public discourse out of the gutter and squarely critique media and public policy. They happen to do it with humor, but they have done it just the same.

This is no small feat and is worthy of the praise they get. If you don't think so, spend an hour watching the dreck that is CNN. (I dare you to do it without throwing up a little bit in your mouth).

Additionally, everything is fair game to be laughed at. Finding the humor in a situation is a common and perfectly valid way of processing and coping.
posted by device55 at 12:10 PM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's actually a more practical reason why humor works for conveying information: it's only funny if you comprehend it, and that means the facts actually register with the viewer. How many people come away from watching regular TV news with more knowledge than when they started? Try asking a friend or co-worker a question about something they saw on the news last night. He'll probably say "uuuuh..." and fail entirely to produce any facts. That's partly vapid reporting and partly laziness.

But anyone who watches TDS will at least for example, be able to connect the fact that McCain just had the brazenness to send envoys to Georgia mere weeks after loudly criticizing Obama for acting too presumptuously Presidential by merely traveling abroad. After watching TDS people know this shit. With the regular news no connections are made, what little that actually gets reported is left to stand alone without any context, and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Assuming it even went in the first ear.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


When Stephen Colbert was on The Daily Show, he was great, and you can see that the guys they got now on The Daily Show who pose as roving reporters for Jon, are essentially imitating the tactics that Colbert did in the early years of the series.

I can't watch The Colbert Report with the same joy that I watch The Daily Show. I understand it's an act. Colbert is pretending to be Bill O'Reilly. That's commendable. He does a great job lampooning guys like O'Reilly and Limbaugh and countless other rightwing republicans with a mouth bigger than their brains. However, I don't think that alone is enough to carry a series for long. I can't stomach that every day, even as a joke.

Colbert's an extremely funny guy with great comic timing and his rightwing kook character is not his only tune. He's more versatile than that, but he's kinda pigeon-holed himself here and that's a shame. It's like if Tracy Ullman had stuck to just one of her characters. She wouldn't be the international talent that she is.. or rather, was, I guess? Do you even know who I'm talking about when I say Tracy Ullman or am I really showing my age, here?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2008


What George_Spiggott said. That's exactly why Daily Show works. The humor is based on the absurdity of the reality, and they have to present the reality in order to convey the humor. Therefore, the viewers are not only entertained, they are also informed, but even more importantly, they are enlightened.

Granted, it's still not a news show, but it is the best vehicle for news on tv these days. BBC News and Lehrer are great real news shows, but they are dry as a sawdust fart sometimes, and I am speaking as a news junkie.
posted by Xoebe at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It must be difficult to express outrage four days a week without repeating yourself too badly

...

Are you insane?!

See Philip K. Dick's "news clown"

He used the concept a few different ways, but in reality, is Jon Stewart much different? He makes people feel better about bad things by sympathizing and laughing. Does he really get people to think about issues differently? Perhaps, and if that's what it takes, that's cool.

I suppose the only harm he might actually be doing is getting people to stay inside, watch TV, and laugh at the world--as opposed to turning off the set, going to bed early, and getting up the next day to affect the world for the better. But who am I to talk?

I stopped watching the Daily Show a few years back (I was never a huge fan), when the commercials took over (it seems the show is about 15 minutes content and 15 minutes commercials now.)

Also, the difference for me between Colbert and Stewart is that Colbert often makes me laugh, while Stewart very rarely does. Steve vs. Steve on the old show and guests like Hodgeman were usually the highlights of the show for me.

I'll take news clown 1B, please.

on preview: But anyone who watches TDS will at least for example, be able to connect the fact that McCain just had the brazenness to send envoys to Georgia mere weeks after loudly criticizing Obama for acting too presumptuously

You put far too much faith in the short-term memory of the average American TV viewer.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2008


You know what I'd really like to see? I want Jon Stewart to give Marta Costello a job. She could be the next Beth Littleford. No offense meant to Samantha Bee. I'm sure there's room for two ladies on The Daily Show. (Catfight! Meow!)
posted by ZachsMind at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2008


Agreed -- Stewart (less so lately though) and Colbert (more every time I watch him) ask the most incisive questions, call bullshit when they hear it like very few others, and generally shame "journalists" with the quality of their understandings of the news stories of the moment.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:46 PM on August 16, 2008


Repeating a common theme, I'll admit that The Daily Show is the only news program on television that I can tolerate watching.

But here's what I don't understand: Why don't the people responsible for other programs and networks feel any shame when TDS shows how corrupt they are? It's always "Oh, ha ha, that Jon Stewart, he's such a kidder!" Here's a hint, CNN/Fox/MSNBC/NBC/CBS/ABC, when we laugh we're not laughing WITH you.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:52 PM on August 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


Yea they both bring up issues that need to be addressed, yea their hearts are in the right place, but what are they really doing. They make fun of politicians, find humor in serious and depressing situations and make their viewers laugh about shit that shouldn't be joked about. If they really gave a damn they should be more worried about actually doing something than making people laugh. And there's just something about Steven Colbert that is off, I think he's more smug than he is funny.

One important thing the Daily Show and Colbert Report do is expose a number of impressive authors and political leaders to an audience that otherwise would be playing Gears of War on Xbox. I can't count the number of times I've shaken my head marveling at the authors and intellectuals those shows host and are bringing to 18-30 year old males that might never otherwise have heard of them.
posted by shen1138 at 12:54 PM on August 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


...although come to think of it, working for The Daily Show must be a miserable experience. On second thought, I don't want Jon to give Marta a job, cuz I like Marta.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:55 PM on August 16, 2008


To bad it's not that funny anymore.

Well, actually it's just that seeing Colbert afterwords illustrates how funny things actually can be.
posted by delmoi at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2008


Well, actually it's just that seeing Colbert afterwords illustrates how funny things actually can be.

I'm having a hard time watching Comedy Central in general these days. There's a certain dichotomy there that makes my head hurt. For example, a couple months ago they aired a Lewis Black stand-up special ... with every commercial break being the same minute-long ad for Girls Gone Wild.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:08 PM on August 16, 2008


I think this points out one of the lesser-recognized functions of the Daily Show - sometimes actual information is coveyed!

Yeah. One of the greatest things about the Daily Show is that sometimes they have to actually do some journalism to set up a dick joke.

My favorite examples of this tend to come from the Plame leak. Like this explanation that takes about 4 minutes to explain it from the beginning to the then-present, and even includes the video of a monkey washing a cat.

This one is even better as it manages to convey the entire thing in about 2.5 minutes, punctuating it with some really funny jokes. It's kind of marvelous to watch unfold, really.

Unrelated: I completely believe Jon when he says watching them actually make the show isn't funny, and is kind of boring and painful to outside observers. Listening in on headline meetings for The Onion is probably just as dry and (mostly) uninteresting.
posted by sparkletone at 1:27 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know why I respect the Daily Show? Because they're more or less the only show that calls politicians on their shit. When a politician says something ridiculous like "we've always been at war with Eurasia" increasingly every other news organization parrots that back and has two pundits "debate" it to appear "non-partisan."

The Daily Show is the only program that I can consistently count on to say, "Hey, wait a minute, here are 20 clips from the last few years that show this guy saying 'We've always been at war with Eastasia. Eurasia has always been our ally.'"

Until the "real" news stations start doing their jobs as journalists better than the comedians mocking them do, I'm going to continue to group them together.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:31 PM on August 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


For example, a couple months ago they aired a Lewis Black stand-up special ... with every commercial break being the same minute-long ad for Girls Gone Wild.

Someone has a modern studio with lights, cameras, and mikes, decades of experience in performing, a team of writers, and nation wide distribution of the signal, and you're complaining that to pay for all of this, you have to watch boobs for three minutes.

Exactly how does one go about making you happy?
posted by sleslie at 1:36 PM on August 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Someone has a modern studio with lights, cameras, and mikes, decades of experience in performing, a team of writers, and nation wide distribution of the signal, and you're complaining that to pay for all of this, you have to watch boobs for three minutes.

I'm not exactly tearing my hair out about it. I do recognize that it takes money to run a show. I was talking about the dichotomy of the thoughtful comedy of Lewis Black paired (ha!) with a sponsor like Girls Gone Wild. Surely, there are other sponsors at Comedy Central. That's all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2008


Why don't the people responsible for other programs and networks feel any shame when TDS shows how corrupt they are? It's always "Oh, ha ha, that Jon Stewart, he's such a kidder!"

They are actually shameless. After all, TDS has been on for years now, but they are still the official news, and people still watch them, and now that weakling Tucker has gone, what difference will Stewart ever make?

Or even more accurately: those people with ethics and ambitions of journalism who are directly involved in the news production process probably do feel the shame, but the people who actually pay for news broadcasting have observed that TDS is harmless and fun, and those people couldn't give a shit, any more than the CEO of your company cares about Dilbert.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:56 PM on August 16, 2008


But here's what I don't understand: Why don't the people responsible for other programs and networks feel any shame when TDS shows how corrupt they are? It's always "Oh, ha ha, that Jon Stewart, he's such a kidder!" Here's a hint, CNN/Fox/MSNBC/NBC/CBS/ABC, when we laugh we're not laughing WITH you.

The giant sacks of money probably help.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:59 PM on August 16, 2008


"Laugh to keep from crying" well, that's a piece of it, I guess, but I have never understood why people say this about serious humor. (About your grandfather's funeral, yes.)

In a large way, that dismisses wit as a defense, something used for escape. When it's done right, comedy puts things in perspective.

For what's worth, Jon Stewart would seem more trust-worthy to me if he didn't fawn over some of his high-profile guests.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2008


Neither of those are news shows, and you are seriously deluded if you think they are. They are funny commentaries about the news.

Amen, modernnomad. Although I wouldn't use the adjective "funny" to describe. They are bland, predictable, and not very humorous. They appeal, I think, primarily to teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening, but these kids don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything to put any of it context - and the ever-present desire of young folks to snark and be thought of as cool and hip makes them think that TDS and Colbert are indeed 'news' and hip and cool and funny, all rolled into one.
posted by davidmsc at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2008


"I was talking about the dichotomy of the thoughtful comedy of Lewis Black paired (ha!) with a sponsor like Girls Gone Wild. Surely, there are other sponsors at Comedy Central."

Given that Lewis Black's description of The End Of The World is "A Starbuck's across the street from a Starbuck's" I don't think he's very sponsor-friendly.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2008


I'm having a hard time watching Comedy Central in general these days. There's a certain dichotomy there that makes my head hurt. For example, a couple months ago they aired a Lewis Black stand-up special ... with every commercial break being the same minute-long ad for Girls Gone Wild.

Were you watching the second showing? Often Comedy central will re-air shows later at night, usually with cheaper more scandalous commercials.

Also, Tucker Carlson works for MSNBC now.
posted by delmoi at 2:19 PM on August 16, 2008


Given that Lewis Black's description of The End Of The World is "A Starbuck's across the street from a Starbuck's" I don't think he's very sponsor-friendly.

I could go into just how profoundly disgusting Joe Francis is, but I think the more important issue is this: if Lewis Black's assertion that a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks is the end of the world isn't not true, why is Starbucks being so quiet about it? What do they have to hide? I think their silence speaks volumes, personally. You can't argue with science.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:32 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Were you watching the second showing? Often Comedy central will re-air shows later at night, usually with cheaper more scandalous commercials.

Now that you mention it, yes, it was pretty late at night.

I guess this is a part of why I watch most of my entertainment online.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:34 PM on August 16, 2008


They appeal, I think, primarily to teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening, but these kids don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything to put any of it context

What are you basing this on? Because you're just coming across as condescending. Sure, all teenagers are kids who are clueless - unlike intelligent, questioning adults (who elected George Bush twice!) Let's be real. There are a lot of morons out there, yes, but I don't think we need to worry about the people who enjoy and watch The Daily Show. The fact that they're watching a program based on political comedy rather than whatever other reality junk is on at the same time has to mean something.

But if you'd still like to argue that the shows' audiences are primarly made up of kids who lack any sort of context or background knowledge, I think you should read the following CNN report on a 2004 study:

"On top of that, "Daily Show" viewers know more about election issues than people who regularly read newspapers or watch television news, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey."

Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, a senior research analyst at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said "Daily Show" viewers came out on top "even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age and gender are taken into consideration."

posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:37 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


We got rid of cable a while ago so when I started watching it on Hulu again recently I was happy that it was still awesome.
posted by starman at 2:45 PM on August 16, 2008


"Laugh to keep from crying" well, that's a piece of it, I guess, but I have never understood why people say this about serious humor. (About your grandfather's funeral, yes.)

In a large way, that dismisses wit as a defense, something used for escape. When it's done right, comedy puts things in perspective.


You know, one of my favourite Stewart bits ever was where there was this Harlem city councillor who was trying to ban the use of the dreaded "N-word" in New York, and TDS sent John Oliver and Larry Wilmore to interview him in one of their Black & White segments (Oliver's white and very British, Wilmore's black and professorial in bearing).

So they're sitting interviewing this guy, going through whether there'd be any scenario in which the N-word would be acceptable. The councillor's humourless and smug, saying no, no, no. Wilmore gives this investigative reporter's kind of serious squint and asks the councillor to complete a sentence for him.

"I ain't sayin' she a goldigger, but she ain't messin' wit' no broke . . ."

"Person," the councillor answers.

Wilmore gives a brief, troubled pause. "Councillor, do you understand how rap works?"

Love that bit.
posted by gompa at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


I watch both Stewart and Colbert when I can, but I think the Report is much funnier than The Daily Show, and here's a big reason why: Colbert rarely acknowledges the conceit of the show. He stays in character. Stewart, on the other hand, is constantly chuckling at his own show's graphics, making comments about his props, pointing out how he's Jewish and asthmatic and over-the-hill, doing his little characters and impersonations, and just generally distracting the viewer from his show's conceit, and from its content. If he would just play it straight with greater consistency, i.e. act like the anchorman of a news broadcast and resist the temptation to insert his own personality into things as much as he does, The Daily Show would improve in quality immensely.

But I'm thankful both shows exist.
posted by good in a vacuum at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


The unique role of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is that they deconstruct the politicians rhetorics by f.i. cutting hackneyed phrases out of speeches and collating them.
It's astounding that no other news program does that.
That's real, valuable, criticism. Not just humour.
posted by jouke at 3:03 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The people who say they only get their news from Jon Stewart must be missing a lot of the jokes-- which rely on you knowing the news, basically. So I'm not convinced when people say that-- maybe they read newspapers or online news and never watch TV news, but if you weren't familiar with the stories, the show wouldn't be very funny.
posted by Maias at 3:13 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course the choir trusts the preacher.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:16 PM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The people who say they only get their news from Jon Stewart must be missing a lot of the jokes-- which rely on you knowing the news,

Yes, they also seem to get enough news to keep them as self-identified liberals/democrats, who I'm confident make up over 99% of Stewart's audience. Find me one person whose political views have been CHANGED by the Daily Show and I'll have a lot more respect for what Stewart does.

Until then, I'll keep wishing he'd go back to just being straight-up funny, like he was on The Jon Stewart Show in the early 90s.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:19 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't mean to come across as condescending, and I don't "worry" about people who watch such shows. I don't think the shows are particularly funny. And I am very skeptical of reports that TDS/CR viewers are oh-so-much-more informed than the tragically un-hip non-TDS people like me. From the linked article:

In a recent survey, viewers of Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central tested better than Letterman and Leno viewers on a six-question politics quiz.

Six whole questions, huh?
posted by davidmsc at 3:35 PM on August 16, 2008


I'll wager that the average TDS/Colbert viewer is significantly more intelligent than the average television news viewer. A full standard deviation difference, say.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:37 PM on August 16, 2008


... you found the Jon Stewart Show funny? Every clip I've seen of it (unless they're putting up all the worst clips) reminds me of the the little jokes he makes up off the top of his head on The Daily Show. Which are kind of endearing, but get old in large doses. ("Whoa, this graphic is silly! Mmm! Oh yes! Whoa, what?") The pretaped segments just seem like Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien clips (amusing but not especially hard hitting or unique.) Am I missing something? Because that sort of stuff is my least favorite part of the Daily show, and I really hope he doesn't go back to that.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:42 PM on August 16, 2008


good in a vacuum: I watch both Stewart and Colbert when I can, but I think the Report is much funnier than The Daily Show, and here's a big reason why: Colbert rarely acknowledges the conceit of the show. He stays in character.

I feel exactly the opposite way for exactly the same reason. It feels to me that Colbert is always doing a 'bit' instead of dealing with the material directly.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Starbucks: Starbucks To Begin Sinister 'Phase Two' Of Operation
posted by blue_beetle at 3:50 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


good in a vacuum - Everything you dislike about TDS is precisely what I love about it.

I seem to be one of the few who really, really likes The Daily Show, but can't watch Colbert.
posted by davebush at 3:50 PM on August 16, 2008


In a recent survey, viewers of Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central tested better than Letterman and Leno viewers on a six-question politics quiz.

Six whole questions, huh?


I'm sorry, do you have a survey or study to back up your previous assertions, or would you like to debate the value of a 6-question survey compared to your unsupported over generalizations? Do you at least see the irony that you were criticizing the "ever-present desire of young folks to snark and be thought of as cool and hip" when in a conversation with a young person, she is providing the evidence and you are providing the snark?

If you read the entire article, you'd perhaps notice that the following data are also presented:

"Daily Show" viewers are 78 percent more likely than the average adult to have four or more years of college education, while O'Reilly's audience is only 24 percent more likely to have that much schooling.

Plus, the network noted, "Daily Show" viewers are 26 percent more likely to have a household income more than $100,000, while O'Reilly's audience is only 11 percent more likely to make that much money.


Which also disproves your claim about how much context (aka how educated, perhaps?) the average Daily Show viewer is.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:51 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


(context ... the average Daily Show viewer has, - how educated the average viewer is, of course.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:52 PM on August 16, 2008


Please forgive the triple post, but here is a better (and more full of interesting data) study that compares viewers' knowledge of current events that also places TDS/TCR watchers in the "well-informed" group (tied with the highest percentage in the "high knowledge level.")
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:59 PM on August 16, 2008


The problem with The Daily Show recently is that has been towing the line between comedy and serious journalism a bit too closely and hops on either side depending on how it suits them. They criticize the mainstream media and public figures with such vitriol but when it comes back to them, it's merely a comedy and satire half-hour. And with guests recently, Jon Stewart has been conducting himself as a hit-man looking only to invite authors and others to the show only to ambush them and prop up his agenda. I happen to agree with his agenda, but I think that there is quite the question of whether the program should continue to get a pass on whether it should have any standards. This is also ignoring the fact that almost all stories Stewart has done pertaining to the economy are flat wrong and sensationalist, but that's a different story. And not to pile on, but the "McCain is old" jokes were old nine months ago.

And that doesn't mean I don't love watching the show, I do. He brings many news-stories front and center where they need to be and highlights the errors and misplaced focus of the conventional media. But - (shrug).
posted by cgomez at 4:40 PM on August 16, 2008


Stewarts "interviews" are the worst part of the show. He is an awful interviewer, constantly interrupting his guest's salient thoughts, making desperate attempts at teh funny that only serve to bewilder the guest, and almost never asks any real, hard-punching questions.

TDS is often best viewed as a fifteen minutes show, skipping the "interview" entirely.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.
posted by brevator at 5:56 PM on August 16, 2008


I love Jon Stewart. The show informs me and makes me laugh.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:01 PM on August 16, 2008


The Loch Ness Monster: It feels to me that Colbert is always doing a 'bit' instead of dealing with the material directly.

I guess what I meant was, when I watch Stewart doing his material, I feel like he's repeatedly stopping to wink at the audience, and/or insert some of his own ad libbed material. Colbert's show, by contrast, feels more polished and snappy because he doesn't do this, at least not as much, so his show moves along at a better pace. Yes, he is doing a bit moreso than Stewart is, but he is sticking to his bit/material/pre-written jokes, and to his show's premise, whereas Stewart prefers to elbow us in the ribs every so often and say "Look at this graphic we came up with! Pretty silly huh? And did you notice I'm not in the shape I once was in? Did you?" Etc.

Stewart is a funny guy, and I think his ability to think on his feet shows during his interviews, but sometimes I wish he would just do the show during the other segments, cutting out the cruft.
posted by good in a vacuum at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2008


Oh, I should add, in Stewart's defence: I seem to have noticed that in recent months he's cut down a bit on doing his little voices and characters in between jokes. He used to just go on and on with his New Jersey tough guy accent, but maybe someone suggested to him that this was not what the show was supposed to be about.
posted by good in a vacuum at 6:21 PM on August 16, 2008


Yes, they also seem to get enough news to keep them as self-identified liberals/democrats, who I'm confident make up over 99% of Stewart's audience. Find me one person whose political views have been CHANGED by the Daily Show and I'll have a lot more respect for what Stewart does.

Well, there are also people who's political opinions are formed by the daily show. If you went in naive, and started watching the show, chances are you'd at least be a lot more open to liberal views.
posted by delmoi at 6:23 PM on August 16, 2008


I honestly believe that the best possible presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain would be moderated by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:30 PM on August 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


Yes, they also seem to get enough news to keep them as self-identified liberals/democrats, who I'm confident make up over 99% of Stewart's audience. Find me one person whose political views have been CHANGED by the Daily Show and I'll have a lot more respect for what Stewart does.

Jon Stewart is a comedian.The Daily Show is a comedy show, and the subject of that comedy is the news, and the people who present the news to the public. My respect for George Carlin or Chris Rock wouldn't be altered by whether or not a member of their audience changed their political views, and both of them dig into politics in their routines. You can't have it both ways.
posted by tzikeh at 6:51 PM on August 16, 2008


I honestly believe that the best possible presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain would be moderated by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Obama and McCain would prefer someone else, thanks!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 PM on August 16, 2008


Obama and McCain would prefer someone else, thanks!

I don't know about that... they're both friends of the show. Unless you mean they would find such a debate too difficult.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:57 PM on August 16, 2008


Find me one person whose political views have been CHANGED by the Daily Show and I'll have a lot more respect for what Stewart does.

Meet my parents. Who will be voting Democratic in this election and voted that way in the Primaries after a lifetime of voting Republican.

Did Jon Stewart bring this about directly? I don't know. I DO know that we have never been able to discuss politics (my parents and I) without my dad swearing and my mother crying and my being just frustrated in general. Until they were staying with me after my daughter was born, we're all up with the baby, and the Daily Show comes on.

Now, I have been a TDS fan since pre-Stewart. I am also a news and politics junkie. And I am currently 42 (for those of you who feel that his audience is only teen boys).

My parents are (were?) Fox News junkies to an extreme. The TV is never turned off in their house. Never. They keep it on OVERNIGHT and my mother falls asleep to it. And it is tuned in to the news about 80% of the time.

Well, there we are, all watching The Daily Show. And we're all laughing. Because it's funny and it's funny because it's TRUE. There are few things funnier than someone pointing out that which no one else has the guts to say. And this breaking of the ice, this laughter, got us talking. REALLY talking for the first time ever about politics where no one left the room angry. It was a start. We watched it alot over the 6 weeks (Six. Weeks.) that they were here. And had a lot of conversations. And they got to see a lot of things that they don't get to see on Fox News, a lot of their preconceptions were challenged, but it was funny, so they didn't get defensive. It generated a lot of productive, thoughtful conversation about politics and culture. Conversations that I NEVER thought I'd be having with my parents.

So, either the birth of my daughter sucked the conservative out of them, or Jon Stewart opened up a door for us to talk through. Since they already have other grandkids, I'm betting on the second one.
posted by jeanmari at 7:17 PM on August 16, 2008 [55 favorites]


John Stewart is the only reason I would ever consider getting cable TV.
posted by CitizenD at 7:23 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, imagine if Jon Stewart and Mr. Rogers had gotten together to make a show.

I'm too drunk to really think of how awesome that would be, but I'm sure you guys are even drunker than me and have moved onto the Mobius strip of intellectuellitude to imagine the possibilities.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:15 PM on August 16, 2008


jeanmari - thanks for supporting my point so eloquently and I hope the baby is now sleeping through the night.

Colbert benefits, in my opinion, from the act. He has such freedom. It's like the opposite of a wise fool such as Will Rogers.

However, if Jon Stewart went back to wearing those sweaters from his old MTV shows, well, those were sexy in quiet way.

With CGI and everybody-and-their-dog mash-up technology being what it is, I see no reason why he can't have as show with Mr. Rogers - and Mr. Greenjeans, a friend to animals. Fear of fanfic prevents me from Googling, but if anyone finds something, post the link.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:52 PM on August 16, 2008


EVERYTHING SHOULD BE JOKED ABOUT. Nothing is sacred.

Eh, I kinda agree.....
I work with, ehem, "retards". When people ask me what I do that's exactly what I tell them, you should see some of the responses I've gotten. Yea it's not the most pc term I could use (our work would rather us call them consumers, I think that's way worse than retard) but I'm obviously not serious and when's the last time they've wiped someone's ass (literally). Trying to find the humor in it helps me distance myself from a job that can sometimes be depressing as hell, which I guess The Colbert Report and Daily Show try to do. But than sometimes you just can't joke about it, sometimes shit is serious and should be dealt with in a serious way. Yea when I see skid marks in my guys undies I can't help but chuckle but when I see a guy crying for his family because they can't take care of him anymore than that shit's not funny, that's just plain sad as hell. What's so funny about our negligence in Darfur (I find no humor in genocide), or how is it funny that our president negelcted New Orleans? When we laugh at this kind of stuff we're distancing ourselves from it, yea awareness is brought up but shouldn't we feel worse about something if we know it's happening and we choose to laugh about it? Humor is awesome, I like it a lot, laughing fits are almost as fun as orgasms but there's nothing funny about innocent death.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:06 PM on August 16, 2008


Since Stewart's appearance on Crossfire was inevitably mentioned, let's not forget that Crossfire provided us with the finest moment of debate comedy ever:

Zappa on censorship

It was posted here four years ago, but the video link seems to be dead.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:26 PM on August 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


BrnP84: "What's so funny about our negligence in Darfur (I find no humor in genocide), or how is it funny that our president negelcted New Orleans?"

I find humor in the fact that for a long while there, people were demanding that China "Free Tibet" and I even saw T-shirts and bumper stickers here in the States, as if the big wigs in China were gonna drop their drawers cuz consumers here in the USA bought T-shirts and bumper stickers saying "Free Tibet" that were probably made IN China.

I find humor in the fact so many went out of their way about Tibet, but you mention Darfur and they're like, "what?"

I find humor in the fact that not only is our National Governor an insipid and incompetent oaf, but so are "We the People" for putting him in there, leaving him in there, and not disposing of him.

I find humor in the fact there is a pile of trash half the size of Texas floating right now in the Pacific Ocean, and yet people think if they buy "carbon credits" or plant a tree, they're doing their part to save the environment. I may believe we can save the planet from us, some time after I see that pile of trash floating in the Pacific GONE. Until then, I laugh at environmentalism.

I find humor in a lot of human tragedy, but then I'm a sick son of a bitch.

I also find humor in a talented young man named Ponce who can call himself retarded, yet can also answer to people who think he's a moron, in an intelligent and concise manner. Anyone who understands the intricacies of comedy is a genius in my book.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:00 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Wilmore gives a brief, troubled pause. "Councillor, do you understand how rap works?"

And you can watch it here!
posted by bjrn at 3:14 AM on August 17, 2008


Whoa... they beeped out the whole word. Usually they let the first consonant through, e.g. f-[beep]. But in this video there was just [beep].
posted by ryanrs at 5:01 AM on August 17, 2008


Neither of those are news shows, and you are seriously deluded if you think they are. They are funny commentaries about the news.

I agree. From reading the responses upthread, so do many other people. Some current events information and analysis does get through, but it's purely a byproduct of their analysis of the news media.

I fully enjoy them on a daily basis. But if you are using them as your main sources of information about the world around you, then you are just as foolish as those they skewer for our enjoyment.

The way the news is presented is a large part of our world. It makes sense that a show which comments on the news is going to be popular - it is extremely relevant to people's day-to-day lives in a way that the topics of the daily news usually aren't (with the exception of the weather report).
posted by Ritchie at 6:19 AM on August 17, 2008


On this side of the atlantic pond , Beppe Grillo is the most trusted man alive. And he's a comedian.

Beppe has an excellent track record of having a disenchanted view of the world, presenting a more accurate protrait of reality, expecially when it's dissonant from the mass perceived truth. Back in the eighties he starred a show describing his travels in the States , exactly like an ordinary Joe could have, the view of the man on street as back then air travel was a luxury fiew italians could afford ; in doing this he was a presenting, much like Marco Polo did for Venice, the wonders of that far far away country, both culturally e geographically. Yet his disenchantement permeated into his work as he didn't choose to "forget" describing poverty and other less then exciting aspect of US.

Beppe was ostracized by the national television, RAI TV, when he dared speak some common sense and , worse offence of them all, dared suggest that politicians (and some powerful ones) weren't exactly so virtuous. He disappered, but little by little he manged to resurface into theatres, ending into whole stadium-fulls of audience that paid relatively steep prices to hear from him. Enlightening describes him a lot better than "funny".

Today his web site ranks among the top ten most visited on the planet, if my memory serves. Unsurprisingly his financial succes was used as an ad hominen against him, suggesting that he doesn't give a shit about the people, it's all about making more money by dvd sales. His denouncing italian professional journalists as a servile upper class, still protect by an old fascist law, certainly irritated them and, possibily, also made them a lot more conscious of their being presently valued a dime a dozen and highly replaceable both because of the decreased interest of italians for anything written and for their not being able to command attention without writing articles that were likely to irritate their own editors.

But Beppe his not alone those days. Sabina Guzzanti was ostracized from Rai as well, his brother Corrado Guzzanti wasn't, a professional lampoonist that in his utterly hilarious "Fascisti su Marte" (Fascist on Mars) present the absurdities of the fascist "belief" , for instance by solving the problem of lack of oxygen on Mars by ordering his black shirts to have faith in the Duce and breath: problem solved!

Daniele Luttazzi borrowed , probably, from David Letterman with his top ten list and style, but he too was kicked away from Rai TV for having dared to invite Marco Travaglio, a journalist who has written many books composed of parts of judicial sentences, quotes from press conferences and politicans declarations to public, assembling a body of flip flopping, contradiction, absurdities that constitues what public lacks the most, _memory.

But the books didn't attract much attention, but that of the usual fews of course, until he dared to present part of Berlusconi shady past and sentences. Off he went with Luttazzi, attracting also the silent deprecation of the utterly powerless and spineless center and left leaning parties, evidently a lot more busy staying in power. Which also led to the political success of the Lega Lombarda, again another travesty of rethoric and nonsense, borrowing heavily on the prejudice of superiority of "northern italy" synthetized with the creation of a " padano nation identity" and by paying more attention to their base, at times delivering the result of _mere attention_ to problems.
posted by elpapacito at 6:23 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


John Stewart is the only reason I would ever consider getting cable TV.

There's a better solution.
posted by EarBucket at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2008


They appeal, I think, primarily to teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening, but these kids don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything to put any of it context - and the ever-present desire of young folks to snark and be thought of as cool and hip makes them think that TDS and Colbert are indeed 'news' and hip and cool and funny, all rolled into one.
posted by davidmsc at 5:12 PM on August 16 [+] [!]

Wow, you couldn't be more wrong.

I'm 50. I started reading the newspaper daily when I was 15 and majored in Speech and Communication because the way information is conveyed is a fascinating subject. I, too, gave up watching the news (except for breaking stories) about the year 2000: I quit when anchors started opining and infotainment content became the focus. I'm grateful that the internet came along when it did because the variety of sources helps me get a better perspective.

As big a news junkie as I am, I had no idea how wide-spread the daily talking points had become until the Daily Show started putting their clips together-- to this day it's my favorite part of the show. (In my defense I have to add I believe that the over-use of talking points-- or memes-- has greatly increased in the last few years.) Watching all these self-important news heads open their mouths only to spew identical phrases is funny because it blatently displays their naked shallowness. We at home get to snicker at the nudity revealed while the TV News people themselves continue to earnestly convey sincerity and trustworthiness.

Nobody else in my family watches the Daily show: my husband works, my teenage daughter is bored, and my mother is confused. In order to really enjoy the show, you need to have some knowledge of current events.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:14 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please note that I said that TDS appeals PRIMARILY to the group I referenced -- it doesn't appeal SOLELY to said group. I fully understand that many non-teenager/young adults enjoy TDS.
posted by davidmsc at 9:25 AM on August 17, 2008


Please note also that this is colloquially known as TALKING OUT YOUR ASS.
posted by gompa at 9:31 AM on August 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


davidmsc: bullshit.
"Television ratings show that the program generally has 1.45 to 1.6 million viewers nightly, a high figure for cable television.[57] In demographic terms, the viewership is skewed to a relatively young audience compared to traditional news shows. A 2004 Nielsen Media Research study commissioned by Comedy Central put the median age at 35."
You know, it's is sometimes better to admit you've made a mistake than to continue to insist that you are correct.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on August 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Regarding Zappa on censorship, the dipshit to his right is John Lofton.

Turns out John Lofton considers himself a recovering Republican these days.

I wonder if he's still pro-censorship. The site with which he has associated himself (The American View) has the following mission statement:
As Christians, we are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to teach all nations — including ours — to observe all things He has commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). This means bringing into captivity to Christ all areas of life and thought. This means destroying arguments that are against the knowledge of God (II Corinthians 10:5). In obedience to these commands of our Lord, this Web site is established. We covet your prayers for our success in obeying Him.
That is damned creepy.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2008


They appeal, I think, primarily to teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening...

A 2004 Nielsen Media Research study commissioned by Comedy Central put the median age at 35. During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the show received more male viewers in the 18-34 year old age demographic than Nightline, Meet the Press, Hannity & Colmes and all of the evening news broadcasts."

May 2005:
"'The Daily Show' on Comedy Central averages a nightly audience of about 1.3 million viewers in total, roughly two-thirds of whom are between 18 and 49."*
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


What five fresh fish said!
posted by ericb at 10:19 AM on August 17, 2008


They appeal, I think, primarily to teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening, but these kids don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything to put any of it context...

"Viewers of late-night comedy programs, especially The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on
Comedy Central, are more likely to know the issue positions and backgrounds of
presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy, the University
of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows."*

'Daily Show' viewers ace political quiz
"On top of that, 'Daily Show' viewers know more about election issues than people who regularly read newspapers or watch television news, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey."
Study: 'Daily Show' watchers know their news
posted by ericb at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love Stewart and Colbert, and just wish Australia had an equivalent. Shaun Micallef sometimes comes close and I just wish he was given more of an opportunity.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:55 PM on August 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


John Stewart on The Charlie Rose Show. This is awesome. Essentially Rose is able to get Stewart to describe how he would make a better 24/7 news network, using Fox as the model. Then we get to this gem around minute 26 or so.

Jon Stewart: "Context doesn't require rolling over, and that is what has happened. That people are steamrolled based on either their timidity, or fear of losing access, or a fear of not advancing far enough - Why would you want to be a White House correspondent anymore?

Charlie Rose: "Well it used to-"

Jon Stewart: Why would anyone want to approach that job? Why would you want to take the best and the brightest out of the journalist core and put them where basically they are just - I mean do you read the transcripts from Scott McClellan's press conferences with them?

Charlie Rose: "No I don't but.."

Jon Stewart: "It is an exercise in dystopian conversation."

Charlie Rose: "Right. They'll ask a question and he will deflect it and they'll ask the question again and he will deflect it is that the idea? Or more?"

Jon Stewart: "It is.. no. It is absolutely a contrived dance where both players know what is happening isn't real. And when you read it, it freaks you out."


This, in a nutshell, typifies what is wrong with the Bush administration, AND our news media. This didn't end when McClellan stepped down. The press and the Bush administration basically eloped seven or eight years ago and never told us. The press has been in bed with the republican party, and it's been a tumultuous, dysfunctional marriage. The more conservative parts of the media think it's worth staying and the more liberal parts of the media are afraid to speak up or leave because of the consequences that would cause.

The Fourth Estate is called that because it is unofficially the fourth branch of our government, protected by The First Ammendment. Our news media is supposed to participate in the checks and balances of this country, but when The Fourth Estate is owned by the very corporate tycoons who want to control America and the world, the news media will not be able to do its job.

Every day, in the press room of the White House, the press secretary and the journalists allowed in that room dance like in Tina Turner's song Private Dancer. Press cards are dance cards, and the press secretary puts on a show, but both sides know it means nothing, and neither side wants to change the status quo. Both sides get their rocks off and then they go home to do it again tomorrow. Empty promises are forgotten and no one wants to subject anyone to consequences, for fear of retaliation, and no one wants to admit it.

This may just freak Jon Stewart out a little bit.

It sickens me.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:03 PM on August 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


...eww.. Talk about mixed metaphors. In one paragraph I use elopement and by the end of my previous post I'm comparing the press secretary to a prostitute. Uhm... aawwwww you know whut ah mean.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:08 PM on August 17, 2008


I'm confused -- people are pointing out to me that TDS appeals to a younger audience than the other newsers, which is what I said. Why am I being called out?
posted by davidmsc at 12:26 AM on August 20, 2008


I wasn't aware you were being called out David.

I'm forty. TDS appeals to me cuz it's smart and funny. Jon Stewart's at least as old as me. I don't get why people think it scews a younger audience. It scews a smarter audience. It attracts people who saw Fox News or CNN or even their local news programs and realize it's all laughable.

The Daily Show isn't bad news. It's great satire. For any age.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:17 AM on August 20, 2008


I'm confused -- people are pointing out to me that TDS appeals to a younger audience than the other newsers, which is what I said. Why am I being called out?

Well, to be more specific you said the show "appeals primarily to teenagers" - what people are pointing out is that this is not the case.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:48 AM on August 20, 2008


Not only did he say primarily to teenagers, but to teenagers who don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything. When, in fact, the truth is quite the opposite: the median age is mid-thirties, viewers tend to be well-educated, and they tend to have more knowledge about what's going on.

Why is it so very, very important that you not admit you shot your mouth off without knowing what you were talking about, davidmsc? Do you enjoy digging deep holes?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 AM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ha! No, no holes here. And I stand by my assertion, with a clarification: perhaps "teenagers" is too specific a term. I should have said "younger people," which to me is primarily teens and young adults. I suppose that I meant "teenager sensibilities." In other words: those whose intellectual and/or emotional maturity has not fully developed.
posted by davidmsc at 12:10 AM on August 23, 2008


I stand by my assertion, with a clarification: perhaps "teenagers" is too specific a term. I should have said "younger people," which to me is primarily teens and young adults. I suppose that I meant "teenager sensibilities." In other words: those whose intellectual and/or emotional maturity has not fully developed.

But this wasn't your assertion. Your assertion was that the Daily Show is watched by uninformed teenagers. (To wit: "teenagers who are just beginning to understand that there is a world out there with all sorts of Things happening, but these kids don't quite have enough background knowledge about anything to put any of it context - and the ever-present desire of young folks to snark and be thought of as cool and hip makes them think that TDS and Colbert are indeed 'news' and hip and cool and funny, all rolled into one.")

Even if we replace "teenagers" with "young people", your assertion is that the viewing audience is uninformed. 30 seconds on Google showed facts that prove the contrary. Clumsy backpedaling and awkward re-wording is fun to watch, but doesn't change anything.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:12 AM on August 23, 2008


Speaking of not fully developed intellectual and/or emotional maturity... I daresay it's the root of this ridiculous and unsuccessful attempt to backpedal.

But enough of this campaign of correction; it got old three or four messages back and is accomplishing nothing. My apologies for having dragged it out this long.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 AM on August 23, 2008


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