Jun 20 2011
Was explained very cogently yesterday by Jon Stewart, and ironically it was explained in the place where news goes to die-the Fox Noise Machine.
If you haven’t seen this interview between Chris Wallace, you should. Its a tour de force take down of the people at Fox News. There are so many great slams by Stewart its hard to relate them all, but I will try.
A lot of people evidently missed this yesterday-probably because they were so up in arms about the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the US Open. ( What the hell is the Pledge doing at the beginning of a golf tournament anyway? Especially one where a 22 year old is playing so far over his head that he is 15 under going into the final round-talk about misplaced priorities.) But if you did watch this telling interview you would have heard this very true statement:
Stewart: I’m given credibility in this world because of the disappointment the public has in what the news media does.Wallace: I don’t think our viewers are the least bit disappointed in us. I think our viewers think finally they’re getting someone who tells the other side of the story.
Stewart: And in polls who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers? Who’s consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers.
Fox News-News broadcasting for the learning impaired. Headlines for stupid people. Watch the whole interview-but if you are in a hurry just skip to the 14:30 mark and watch Jon Stewart crush Wallace with his strongly worded statement above. Rather than try to come back to that-Wallace tries to change the subject.
Stewart handles the whole interview in a careful and measured fashion-but still manages to lay telling blows on his opponent. And he echoes a point I have been making for a long time here at Skippy-san HQ, there is no such thing as a main stream media. And if Fox News is going to use that term-they sure as hell better include themselves in the group because of their size. No, what Stewart points out is that we have a lazy media-that long ago abandoned the principles of detailed research and telling stories in context. There are a few exceptions of course-such as Kiplinger, The Economist, NPR, and some of the smaller cable news outlets like Bloomberg. The rest-as Stewart points out- jumped in the slime pool looking for sensationalism. Edward R. Murrow would be disgusted with what he saw now at his old network, CBS-whose news division has become a slave to CBS corporate. Much as Fox News has become a slave to Rupert Murdoch and his lap dog Roger Ailes.
An added bonus is the way Stewart deflects Wallace’s criticism that he too has an agenda, pointing out a very big difference between him and Wallace: As a comedian he is supposed to have an agenda, and its a false equivelance to suggest that Fox and Comedy Central should be compared to each other.
As I watched the interview-I actually felt sorry for Wallace. He appears to be a reasonable man, who-however nice-appears to have willingly given himself to the service of the devil. And is not bashful about repeating the devil’s propaganda. Stewart takes Wallace to task for that:
If you see nothing else (after the 30-second embedded intro ad), watch the three and a half minutes starting around time 6:45. What is most striking is Wallace’s either feigned or genuine inability to grasp the main point Stewart is making, and making not once but about ten times. Stewart seems genuinely appalled by Wallace’s “moral equivalence” riff between Fox News and Comedy Central. “You think we’re the same?” Stewart says with real animus. And he goes on to lay out the difference between an operation whose goal is principally satirical, but from an ideological perspective, and one that is principally ideological and is satirical or comedic only as it helps toward that end.
The point is not really that difficult, and Stewart tries to illustrate it this way: “What am I, at my highest aspiration? Mark Twain? Or Edward R. Murrow?” Wallace correctly says “Twain” but seems not to register the larger point Stewart is making. Maybe that’s him; maybe it’s a for-the-team game face. (The same “can he believe what he’s saying?” issue comes up with Wallace’s insistence that he was shocked and offended to have to watch South Park and didn’t consider it funny.)
Watch too the claim that Stewart makes about Wallace being unable to understand a comedic satire- ” You can’t understand because of the world you live in….”. True for Wallace-and true for the Fox Nation, who have yet to grasp the the real world doesn’t work in black and white-or red and blue-just one big shade of grey.