Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Daily Show is better than the real news. We all know this already. It’s smarter and more insightful despite being, you know, comedy. Well, I’ve got something to add to the list of reasons it’s better: Integrity.
The clip above is from earlier this week. It’s an absolutely brilliant, terrifically funny and fundamentally terrifying bit on Fox News’s ties to the potential jihad-jockey who’s potentially involved in funding the potential “Ground Zero Mosque,” and who definitely has a financial stake in the Murdoch company. The discussion segues into a debate of Evil versus Stupid; is Fox News one or the other? I’m inclined toward the former, as the latter — as you’ll see in this clip — is just too unbelievable. But who says stupidity and evil are mutually exclusive? In any case, an utter lack of integrity is hard to argue with.
Last night Stewart hosted NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss the plans for the Muslim center in Lower Manhattan. It was an interesting and entertaining talk, and I think Bloomberg was calmly persuasive, though he glazed over the emotional aspects a little too easily. (For my part, I’m fully in support of the project as well, but that is the one point on which I have trouble holding ground in discourses about it — throw a a crying family at me and my edgy wit withers ever so slightly.)
At the very end of the segment, in a quick back and forth just before the commercial break when most viewers were likely tuning out, Stewart mentions that he and the Daily Show staff are hosting a benefit dinner for Bloomberg’s foundation. A little friendly banter, a nice way to end an interview. Or is it much more than that?
I don’t think Stewart was just shooting the shit, I think he was walking the walk. He was, in a subtle way, presenting a disclaimer of having ties to Mr. Bloomberg, his guest. He was doing exactly what he showed Fox to be too stupid or too evil to do: acknowledge a connection between the broadcast and a subject of the broadcast.
Stewart, with his team of goofy sidekicks, holds himself to a standard of a legitimate news organization, a standard that our “legitimate news organizations” often fall short of. Through parody and farce he displays a model of what our Fourth Branch should strive to be. Oh, and he does it sitting down, too.