Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mainstream Media's Contempt for the Daily Show

Katie Couric, interviewed on the June 11th episode of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," expressed the opinion that most viewers of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" are young college students. The implication is that "Daily Show" viewers are naive, inexperienced, and not as well informed as their elders, who prefer traditional news shows. This idea has achieved considerable traction among commentators across the political spectrum. It represents a reflexive dismissal of upstart Jon Stewart, who often criticizes his colleagues in the media.

I don't believe Katie Couric, and I never liked her, either. I watched "The Today Show" while she was on it, and I thought it was vapid, like most television shows.

Old people like me, who already have multiple college degrees under our belt, watch "The Daily Show" in preference to all other television news programs because it summarizes, digests, and interprets complicated events in a sensible fashion. To match the information conveyed by a single episode of Jon Stewart's show, one would have to watch ten to twenty hours of regular news programs and also be an astute and alert observer. "The Daily Show" therefore represents a much more efficient manner of absorbing current events. Jon Stewart's interpretations are in most cases correct, whatever his political opponents might like to suppose. I don't always appreciate his buffoonery, but I do follow his reasoning, and so does the rest of his elderly, college-educated, professional audience.

I am afraid that the old fossils of television just don't get it when it comes to "The Daily Show." It will remain popular until Jon loses his mind, which I view as the biggest potential danger to the show. There just does not seem to be a replacement for Mr. Big Mouth. No one can do what he does. Steve Colbert? Please. Not funny. Jon is funny, an important component.

Welcome to the new paradigm, television news heads. We want our information now, we want it correct the first time, and we don't want fluff. We're tired of the conservative stick-in-the-muds who hide behind lies, misinformation, and obfuscation. Give the facts to us fast, get it right the first time, get to the point, hit hard, dig deep, go further, and tell it like it is. If you can't do that, then get out of the way for the person who can.

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