Monday, September 13, 2010

The Most Trusted Man in America?

New York Magazine's feature story this month ("America is a Joke") is on Jon Stewart, that most excellent host of The Daily Show. The article describes a typical day as Stewart and his staff write, rewrite, and edit a 30-minute show (it looks as fun and stressful as you'd imagine!)

Those of us who watch Stewart know him as a (hilarious) voice of reason during a time when the media seem to be pushing narrative over truth. We thought that the election of Obama would dull his comic edge, but quite the opposite has happened. The show is more relevant than ever:

His comedy is counterprogramming—postmodern entertainment but with a political purpose. As truth has been overrun by truthiness and facts trampled by lies, he and The Daily Show have become an invaluable corrective—he’s Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, although in keeping with the fragmented culture, he’s trusted by many fewer people, about 1.8 million viewers each night.

In the article, Stewart talks about his encounters with people in the media after the presidential election in 2000:

The more we got to meet people [in the media], it was—‘Oh! You’re f&@ing retarded! You don’t care!’ The pettiness of it, the strange lack of passion for any kind of moral or editorial authority, always struck me as weird. We felt like, we’re serious people doing an unserious thing, and they’re unserious people doing a very serious thing.

The article is a bit long, but it's definitely worth reading.

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