media, news, and markets

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

An odd theater went down on Nightline yesterday. Ted Koppel was having a discussion with John Stewart of the Daily Show, Stewart getting lots of air time as the convention proceeds. I’m starting to look at JS with a keener eye and the conversation was intersting but strange. I’ll have the trnscript up soon to mark some areas of interest.

Mainly the issue was media, markets, and the nature of the Democratic Party Convention as presented via media outlets. On TGH, we’ve talked a lot about media, journalism, and media space. The Daily Show, hosted by John Stewart, really has an edge over mainstream media, such as ABC news or Nightline. Why? Because the show is satire, a rhetorical tradition that goes back thousands of years. One of it’s goals is to “reveal” or attack human weakness, excess, failure, and other things that “hide” behind the public mask. Consider A Modest Proposal in this light, Swift’s works meant to “reveal” through irony, hyperbole, and metaphor.

Stewart made an interesting point about the convention and about media programming, describing a typical “scene” on CNN as an example: 2 partisans come on stage and sell their “ideas” and the anchor or host dismisses them after their time with a “thank you for your views, an example that also describes Nightline (which didn’t seem to rub Koppel the right way). The point of the example is that “news” has become part of the narrative of the “selling” of opinion (and candidates) to audiences. Stewart’s criticism came down this way: “Why doesn’t the anchor or host tell the partisans that their both pedalling BS”?

More on this later. There are important point to be made here. Horace can help.


One response to “media, news, and markets”

  1. Maureen says:

    I think I commented on this subject in “News and Markets” continued..but I shall take a stab at it again…

    Why praytell don’t the media markets “tell it like it is? [Call BS…BS]

    The same reason that Entertainment Tonight does not ask hard questions of their celebrity guests…They want the guests to come back to the show…

    There is a feeling out there that “News” and other shows should be “safe”…not press the details too much..but that does not help the viewer..All they are left with is fluff…

    Part of the problem..and this has been discussed ad nauseum by many critics and journalists alike is that there is a loss of the idea of the “adverserial press”…

    Think back to Watergate..the press was not afraid to “take on” the establishment..to ask the hard questions..In fact, it was a badge of honor to do so..It was how careers were made…[Woodward, Bernstein, et al.]

    However, since those turbulent years, a cozy relationship has developed between the press and politicians with many moving back and forth between journalism and politics and vice versa…

    Thus, we have a situation where most “established” journalists are loathe to criticize politicians because they either hobnob with many politicians or they wish to have a political career in the future…

    What is the answer? Well, I am not sure. I suppose one must gravitate toward those commentators [or satirists] who “don’t care” about impressing their guests…Maybe that is why Jon Stewart is popular..he is not out for a political career [that I know of], therefore he is not interested in a softball approach in order to curry favor with a future employer.

    Most Graciously,

    Maureen
    *A Mayde in her own little woode….