Why Jon Stewart is the only news source worth listening to anymore

For all of his flaws, he’s one of those rare people in the media who is able to step back and provide an appropriate perspective. Here, he goes after the Brian Williams story, making the point that it is important for news sources to maintain their credibility…but then why are they going after this trivial Williams story and completely ignoring the major media lies that led to war?

I’d like to see journalists apply this new-found probity to a few other of their fellows. Can we start with Wolf Blitzer? And every one of the Sunday morning pundit exhibitions?


  1. says

    Apologies for the annoying autoplay — I can’t turn it off. The source is Breitbart, so of course it’s formatted to enhance obnoxiousness.

  2. Dexeron says

    Agree on John Oliver. I wasn’t enjoying him during his stint as replacement host on The Daily Show, but wow, did he ever come into his own on HBO. He hits hard in ways I only wish Jon Stewart would.

    Still love Stewart: he’s the best we’ve got in an imperfect media, but Oliver has really proven just how strong he is; some of his pieces have managed to combine investigative journalism of the old, longed for variety with humor, and it’s really kind of beautiful to see.

  3. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Speaking of Oliver; I’m sure you must know that Oliver’s show has returned!! Last Week, Tonight had it’s 2nd Season Premiere, Sunday.(HBO, BTW). His story was a brilliant takedown of the “real sins” of Big Pharma. No, not bad chemicals being sold as health enhancers, but the metaphorically said “insider trading” between Pharma and local Doctors. They even did a mock-PSA asking us if our doctor is a receiver of Pharma contributions.
    (((((and while Oliver is a brilliant comedian, being British, (certainly,, John Cleese) he clearly got all his news-comedy smarts from Jon Stewart’s tutelage. nyuck, nyuck, nyuuuck ))))

  4. melw says

    Why the trivial Williams story? Scapegoating, I would guess. Now that the sacrificial ritual has cleansed us of all falsehood, we can go back to believing everything we see in the news. Also bemused how media that type press releases verbatim can get so exercised over a plagiarism case. And how I once got exposed to a truly stultifying half-hour of “Fair Game? / Not Fair Game?”. Euch!

  5. skylanetc says

    Just wondering; what did Rachel Maddow do to miss making PZ’s “worth listening to” list?

  6. Ragutis says

    Dammit, PZ!

    I wonder if Samantha and/or Jason will be taking over. Seniority wise, they’d be next in line. I was a bit surprised one or both didn’t get Colbert’s slot.

  7. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show.

    Oh good. I can’t wait to see which neoliberal stooge takes his place.

  8. zbeeblebrox says

    @14 Whoever it is, we can be assured that he or she, unlike the conservatives, will have a sense of humor…

  9. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @15, Yes, presumably a sense of humour that is at it’s sharpest when mocking protest movements that might stand a chance in hell of creating real positive change. Because we all know caring about stuff is dum.

  10. fwtbc says

    Argh, fucking autoplay.

    My RSS reader lets me easily spawn 20+ new tabs of posts I haven’t yet read so I can quickly and methodically read and close the tabs.

    Instead of this, I’ve been searching for the past 5 minutes trying to find which fucking tab was emitting feculent news. Given I use a screen reader, you can understand how this already irritating-as-fuck thing has left me now feeling rather murderous.

    So, no hard feelings, PZ, but please, please, please, just link to autoplaying things in future. Please.

  11. drowner says

    While I’d certainly watch Democracy Now over any mainstream media outlet, its programming tends to skew towards conspiracy-think a tad much.

    And although Stewart veered too often into “both sides do it-ism,” I will miss his show.

  12. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re 14&16:
    dysomniak “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!”

    Well, that latter phrase [with added emphasis] is good to know; that you will not be offended by my hatred of you and you dispeptic comments about Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. The Daily Show mocks more than

    protest movements that might stand a chance in hell of creating real positive change.

    And they don’t the movement itself, just some of the absurd behaviors of some of the individuals of that movement.
    Have you ever watched an entire episode of the show, or just the clips that FOXNoise rails about?
    I’m glad you welcome my hatred of you, you shall receive it in great abundance.
    [I’m just morose after watching Stewart’s resignation last night, I have to rant at somebody, and you are the perfect target]

  13. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Have you ever watched an entire episode of the show, or just the clips that FOXNoise rails about?

    Only a few thousand of them, going back to the Craig Kilborn days. But obviously that’s not enough to form a fair opinion. Is your political world really so small that you think the only criticism of Saint Stewart can come from the right? You do know that there are political perspectives out there other than “republican” and “democrat”, right? http://youtu.be/aMp1xL6QwEQ

  14. gakxz1 says

    Watched Stewart and the Daily Show since 2000, when I was a wee middle schooler. Didn’t always agree with the implicit stance behind his humor; was always news-ertained. I’ll miss you, funny man.

  15. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

  16. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    dysomniak, I watch Jon Stewart when I get the chance, because I like his humor. I don’t regard him as a liberal god, or even an ideal. I don’t get why you are raving against his worshippers here, because there aren’t many …. PZ regularly posted about not having any heroes. He hasn’t made an exception for Stewart. Not that I need PZ’s permission, or even his opinion, because he is not my hero.

  17. says

    So am I the only one detecting strong, rather obvious hints of sarcasm in that Daily Banter piece, which reads as if it’s making fun of the articles it’s citing?

    But all this time, all you had to do was read the strong critiques of Stewart by true warriors for liberalism and social justice to realize that you were wrong for heaping all that praise on him.

    “True warriors for liberalism”

    But as Carmon stated, Munn’s hiring was actually something that should have offended women, simply because she wasn’t the right kind of female correspondent, since she was of course hired to titillate men rather than for her comic chops. (You should completely ignore writer Emily Gould’s odious take-down of Carmon’s piece, which can be found right here.)

    This is sarcastic. He obviously disagrees with Irin Carmon, and wants you to read Emily Gould’s response.

    If we extrapolate from Carmon’s argument, it’s easy to see how Stewart was also guilty of the erasure of so many other underrepresented groups — *trans, genderqueer, Asian asexual androgynous, femme, butch, masculine-of-center, stud, feminine-of-center, demisexual, noir noncisgender but questioning and so on — which we’ve learned through the past few years of Twitter conversations and the various Tumblr accounts of 15-year-old Morrissey fans are hugely important to defer to if one wants to be called a true liberal. This makes The Daily Show, in essence, one ironically huge microaggression.

    There’s that “true liberal” again.

    Then there’s Jamelle Bouie at Slate, who published a piece on Tuesday titled “Why Jon Stewart Was Bad for the Liberals Who Loved Him.” In it, Bouie rightly bemoans Stewart’s cynicism after years spent submerged in the painful, shameless inanity of American politics. He cites Stewart’s absolutely worthless 2010 “Rally To Restore Sanity” as an example of Stewart’s ineffectuality and even cowardice in trying to strike a centrist pose and unite the country while refusing to state unequivocally that one side of the aisle is correct all the time while the other side usually isn’t. He calls Stewart a “bad example” for liberals because it teaches them “the pointlessness of ideological combat.” Hear hear, Mr. Bouie. Only by being self-righteous ideologues do we stand a chance of convincing the other 50% of the country that they’re wrong. And Jon Stewart, who is, as you say, “influential” has a responsibility to be the warrior for you team that you believe he should be. I couldn’t agree more that ignoring the facts of how politics actually works and doesn’t work in our country — and often expressing frustration with that process — is the way to advance liberal causes that benefit the highest percentage of people.

    Oh come on. How is this not sarcasm? It’s coming off here in spades.

    I’ll stop here. dysomniak, if you’re being serious and not being as sarcastic as the piece you quoted, you picked a terrible link to prove your point.

    I’ll help you out, because I actually have a better one. There’s a critique of Jon Stewart that I think is worth reading by anyone and everyone. It was written by Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny of Citizen Radio, and first appeared in their book #Newsfail, before being republished in Salon:

    The day Jon Stewart quit: Why “The Daily Show” isn’t the satire America needs

    I should note that I am a fan of Jon Stewart. But I think this critique is worth reading and considering.

  18. anteprepro says

    I hate that Jon Stewart has essentially created a crop of young Hardcore Apathists. I hate the Both Sides insinuations and his endless, compulsive need to play false equivalence. I hate that he constantly gives pointless softball interviews to horrible people and that his primary focus, in terms of coworkers and interviewees, has always been Straight White Male, like himself.

    But I love that he has brought issues to light like no one else could. I love that he has done well to show the right-wing in particular to be amoral, irrational hypocrites. I love that he, on his once meek little show on a comedy channel, has held the actual news media, especially Fox News, accountable for their absurd irresponsibility.

    Some of his audience might buy his cries to meet in the Middle and sing kumbaya and just chillax bros, but the actual fact-checking done by the show illustrates a clear pattern for those paying attention. Honestly, I could probably say that I am a Pharyngulite because of Jon Stewart. Ignoring the fig leaf of “Moderation”, The Daily Show has done a great job throughout the years of showing just how unhinged the right-wing has become, and has done well to point out and mock the role of religion in politics. Whether that was its intention or not, it has been an absolutely vital resource as well as great entertainment for years (though I will admit I didn’t watch as much during the times when Jon was his most militant in apathy, having mostly watched in the last year and during the Bush administration).

    Jon Stewart will be missed, but we can do better and hopefully they will. They have already been gradually diversifying the Daily Show crew more. John Oliver is already showing how to do it better in his own way, and hopefully the next host of The Daily Show will have the actual goddamn courage to unabashedly criticize the right-wing and not fall into the trap of saying “Democrats are Just As Bad”. And maybe just get rid of the damn interview segments: it avoids the problem of being too afraid to criticize a politician straight to their face, while also ensuring that the whole show can be political criticism instead of half commentary and then half plug for a new book or movie.

    One can always dream.