“Approximately 11:04 Eastern Standard Time, the American news media finally realized they kind of suck.”
Hearkening back to legendary newsman Walter Cronkite’s famous announcement to the nation about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, when journalism was journalism and not sensationalistic claptrap, Jon Stewart took aim at the 24-hour news networks and their response to the Rolling Stone magazine exclusive report that got General Stanley McChrystal sacked from his position of running the war in Afghanistan.
After playing a long reel of various pundits marveling at the depth access freelance reporter Michael Hastings got to McChrystal, including Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews and Anderson Cooper, Stewart perfectly delivered that line, which illustrated just how skewed the fourth estate has become since it turned into a ratings race instead of a service to the American people.
This was put into clearer perspective by the next clip of NPR’s Celeste Headlee interviewing Hastings, mentioning that he obviously wasn’t worried about holding onto that access considering what he wrote, and Stewart, answering for Hastings, said “Yeah, I don’t need it anymore. I got this amazing story.” The point being that if the famous faces of the news networks weren’t so concerned about holding onto their celebrity statuses, maybe they would actually be digging into real journalism and exposing truths a little more often instead of making sure they’ll always get a seat in the White House press room to ask Press Secretary Robert Gibbs what’s on Obama’s iPod playlist.
Once more, The Daily Show’s favorite targets Fox and Friends put the obnoxiousness of today’s journalism front and center, when Gretchen Carlson ludicrously claimed that the hosts of her show have the same pressures on them when they have to fill time on a slow news day as President Obama does in trying to make tough executive decisions. That caused Stewart to do an elaborate spit-take, and then zing her with “What? The President of the United States having to fire the commanding general of an ongoing international conflict reminds you of being, for a couple of hours a day, the ‘smart lady meat’ in a doofus sandwich?”
If any offense is taken at referring to Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade as doofuses (doofi?), their promotional segments for Hooters should put that to bed. Watch last night’s episode of The Daily Show with John Stewart below to get the full take.