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[personal profile] defrog
Yr Journalism-Is-Still-Dead lede of the day:

Okay, this is satire.

But it does seem to sum up how a lot of people feel about the news that (1) Brian Williams has been suspended from NBC News for making stuff up to boost his war correspondent cred or something, and (2) Jon Stewart is voluntarily quitting The Daily Show. It also highlights how a lot of those same people seem to think Williams and Stewart have the exact same job.

I’m exaggerating a little. I think. I can tell you my Facebook feed is filled with woe and wail about Stewart leaving, and how they hope his next gig is either an anchor position at Meet The Press (which almost actually sort of happened) or (oh please please please) a presidential campaign.

I think they’d be in for some bitter disappointment if he tried either, but it’s a moot point since I sincerely doubt he will.

Anyway, I find the dithering funny. As I’ve probably said before, the fact that Stewart is considered a more reliable source of news than actual newscasters – and would make a better presidential candidate than actual politicians – is symptomatic of the weird and sad times we live in. It's not about Stewart being better than existing newscasters and politicians so much as the existing newscasters and politicians being so awful and unreliable that almost anyone looks like a better alternative. 

True, you wouldn't have much to lose. But I don't think it would fix the overall problem with TV journalism and politics in general. If you seriously want Stewart to do real journalism or run for office, you don’t really want to fix what’s wrong with both – you just want better quality entertainment. It's like saying if TV news is a bad joke (which it is), the solution is better jokes.

On the other hand, if the only way big media companies will invest in TV journalism is if it’s designed as an entertainment program, then maybe the least they can hire professional entertainers. Maybe that’s as good as it gets now for TV journalism.

Maybe that’s why Williams made up that stuff about the helicopter ride – he just wanted to keep it entertaining. He did it for the fans. And this is the thanks he gets.

Some thanks.

Signing off,

This is dF


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