Fake News Beats Real News

July 22, 2004

What does it say about the mainstream news media if The Daily Show, a fake news show on Comedy Central provides more insight into current events than most "legitimate" news programs? The Television Critics Association awarded its prize for outstanding news and information programming to The Daily Show, shunning real news shows Frontline and Nightline.

MeFites wonder if Jon Stewart is a real newscaster. In Sunday's New York Times, Frank Rich notes that The Daily Show is filling a vacuum left by the real news: Happy Talk News Covers a War

Such is the vacuum now often left by the real news that Mr. Stewart's fake anchor is increasingly drafted to do the job of a real one. One recent instance occurred after Dick Cheney appeared on CNBC on June 17. The CNBC interviewer, Gloria Borger, asked the vice president about his public assertion that a connection between the 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and Saddam Hussein's government was "pretty well confirmed." Not once but three times Mr. Cheney said that he "absolutely" had "never said" any such thing. But Ms. Borger had been right. And it was left to Mr. Stewart, not her actual TV news colleagues, to come to her defense by displaying the incontrovertible proof on "The Daily Show": a clip from "Meet the Press" in December 2001, in which the vice president flatly told Tim Russert "it's been pretty well confirmed" that Atta met with "a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service."
Aaron Swartz asks: Why are all the other mainstream news source so unspeakably bad?
The Daily Show is routinely the most on-top-of-things source for news, while also being extremely entertaining. The show is far more fair and accurate than most major media and they do in-depth political analysis of the Bush administration that New York Times readers can only dream of.

The show is good, to be sure, but perhaps the more interesting question is: Why are all the other mainstream news source so unspeakably bad?

While alone, The Daily Show may not offer the complete news coverage available from other sources, the analysis and commentary on the news is incisive and useful. For example, watch Jon Stewart explain talking points.

Posted by Andrew Raff at July 22, 2004 01:32 AM
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