Why comics run circles around the media

Mar 10th, 2009 | By | Category: Blogs, Opinions

Jason McGill

Assistant Editor

Will Bunch at the Huffington Post has written a piece praising Jon Stewart for his incisive skewering of the talking heads at CNBC for their myopic, fascile reporting and fawning interviews while the economy was starting to tank.  It’s easy to feel good about the muckracking at the Daily Show, especially since there is a singular lack of passion or intensity in most of the mainstream media.  It’s sad that it has become taboo in journalism to question the common wisdom or step outside the bubble of punditry to bring in truly alternative points of view.  There is no point to presenting, “both sides of the issue,” if both of the sides reinforce the same overall narrative.

But have no fear!  If there is one thing the media loves to do, it’s to chide itself for shoddy reporting years after it matters.  The media couldn’t do enough stories about how poor their reporting was leading up to the Iraq war, but only after it had safely become history.  They admit mistakes without the burden of having to learn anything or hold anyone accountable.

How can the media get it right the first time around?  Bunch doesn’t put it in those terms, but his suggestions for improving the media would make it more compelling and might actually help inform discussions of policy instead of reinforcing the ‘common wisdom.’

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