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A Video for Tonight's Discussion

Tonight we'll be talking about news parodies, such as The Daily Show. Here's a video we'll watch in class.


This video was very interesting and somewhat eye opening. Both sides seemed to be trying to prove that the other had the responsibility of bringing real news to the public. Neither side wanted to accept the responsibility, so nothing was resolved in the "debate" (if it can be called that.) After watching this clip, I have no desire to watch either show. They both gave me the impression that I'd be wasting my time with either of them. Neither ask good questions or try to truly understand issues.

Jon Stewart made many good arguments when he appeared on CNN’s Crossfire. For example, Stewart claims that Crossfire is damaging to the public discourse and that its hosts are “partisan hacks? because they work for corporations. This offends host Tucker Carlson, who responds by attacking Stewart for his lack of hard-hitting questions to John Kerry when he appeared on his show. This statement by Carlson allows Stewart to make his biggest argument: that it is not his responsibility to ask those questions. Stewart says that Crossfire and other CNN news shows have a greater responsibility to the public than the Daily Show. I think this is where the entire public can agree. The first priority of the Daily Show, which airs on Comedy Central, is to provide humor and entertainment. However, we have higher standards of CNN.

When Carlson compares Crossfire to the Daily Show, Stewart points out that it is odd that CNN looks to the Daily Show for “cues on integrity.? This comparison between a “real? news show and a “fake? news show helps to make my strongest point about infotainment. This comparison shows that infotainment news shows are almost necessary if only to exist so that viewers can contrast it with what a “real? news show should (or should not) be. In this sense, infotainment is a very positive thing that allows the public to hold the “real? news stations to higher standards. The public knows the Daily Show is biased and slants its stories, but we expect just the opposite from more dignified stations such as CNN.

I thought it was interesting that one of the hosts of Crossfire said to Jon Stewart, “I though you were going to be funny.? Instead of asking him real questions, as I would expect a show like that to do, they kept trying to get him to be funny. They had the expectation of him to be funny and got mad at him when they thought he was lecturing them. He also said to Stewart, “You are more fun on your show.? Of course he is more fun on his show because it is setup to be funny. Crossfire is apparently supposed to be a debate show the focuses on real issues, not making jokes at the news, even though that was not the image given from the video clip. Further, no real questions were answered from either side. Stewart seemed to understand that there are different obligations that his show has to fulfill than Crossfire, although he had a hard time convincing the hosts. I have not seen either show, but Jon Stewart compared Crossfire to theater and I think that is a fitting description.