Jon Stewart of the Daily Show is making a case for being the best National News anchor. It shows how rotten the TV news has gotten when the Host with The Best F#@king News Team Ever and with the most baudy language, cheapshot headlines, and kiddies bathroom humor rises to the top of the TV news heap. Imagine Jon Stewart as deigned heir to the Walter Cronkite throne.
But as already pointed out, with the lone exception of Time magazine, only Jon Stewart has been willing to call out and take on the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Certainly the Stewart Brand of pungent humor show these agents of mass deception as the calculating hypocrites they have grown ever more confident in being since both the TV media and the major national news sources like NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, and all 3 major TV networks fail to cite the extravagances of Limbaugh and Fox news. This failure then sets up the LowBall Trap – “Fox and Limbaugh only do it because everybody else lies, omits, and embellishes however they so chose to report the news”.
But the Daily Show has taken on other Elephants in the Room especially during the latter 1/3 of the show devoted to live interviews with guests. Yes, many guests are from arts and entertainment but there have been the likes of Senators John Kerry or John McCain, National Budget Director Peter Orzag, and the most recent, President Obama key advisor, David Axelrod. And the questioning is pointed:
Stewart shot back that the administration knew what they were walking into with the economy and wars, but Axelrod countered, “We didn’t know the extent of the economic problems. The recession occupied us for the first several months in ways that nobody could have anticipated”…..Stewart pushed Axelrod about bringing back familiar faces (including Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner) after Obama’s campaign comments about not expecting different results with the same people. Axelrod insisted that the administration needed their experience, and mentioned that the team had some fresh blood…..Politics aside, Axelrod admitted at least one regret in how they handled the agency that oversaw both the Massey mining disaster and the Gulf oil spill. “There is no doubt that, in retrospect, we would have liked to have moved faster on the MMS situation,” he said before trying to deflect some of the criticism. “But understand that we were also dealing with the economic crisis and the wars and a whole range of issues.” “I guess my point is … don’t we have to show a certain baseline level of competence?” Stewart asked. Axelrod insisted that it had been accomplished.
This latter point, the lack of promptly restoring good governance and shoring up the Federal regulatory agencies [think SEC, FDA, MMS, FCC, and many others] is running neck and neck with jobs as the number one issue sabotaging the notion of “Yes, We Can”. In tennis its called an unforced error. It is this ability in interviews with subjects – to frankly delineate the issues and then, with unforced errors [or with well stated rebuttal], Jon Stewart has been able to reveal to his viewers the heart of the thinking of major political players. Would that other TV media [with the notable exception of PBS News Hour] be able to achieve the same results – they are missing the equivalent revelations even on their Sunday News Analysis programs. Hence the nomination of Jon Stewart for his black humor laden but ever so more effective interviews as the Best TV News Anchor.