Isn’t it about time to expose the hypocrites?

By Steve Outing

I’ve been away for a few days, but when I got back I caught up on some episodes I’d missed of the Daily Show and Colbert Report during the Republican convention. Jon Stewart hit it particularly well by comparing past and recent statements by folks like Karl Rove and Fox News TV pundit Bill O’Reilly.

Rove praising Palin’s credentials in being mayor of a town of 9,000, then earlier trashing Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who had been mentioned as a possible VP pick for Barack Obama, as being too inexperienced because he was mayor of the “small” town of Richmond, Virginia (population 200,000), were priceless! Ditto for the side-by-side video clips of O’Reilly trashing the mother of Jamie Lynn Spears for bad parenting when the teen TV star got pregnant and then praising the parenting of GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin when her teen daughter got pregnant

Politicians like Rove and Fox pundits like O’Reilly seem to think that voters are stupid and will buy this bullshit, so bravo to Stewart for pointing this out. But how about mainstream news organizations going after this kind of political chicanery? Isn’t that the job of the news media?

Newspapers, especially, are in a fight for their lives. Since it’s time to shake things up in that industry, how about if more papers start to be bolder about pointing out politicians’ lies and mistruths? Pointing out blatant hypocrisy with documentation — though without the hardcore opinion that Stewart presents — is within the realm of what newspapers could be doing. It might just go a long way in making newspaper brands relevant again.

As Jon Stewart no doubt would put it, it’s time for mainstream media to get some balls. The public shouldn’t need to rely on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, or be savvy enough to frequent FactCheck.org, to learn when politicians are lying. That’s the job of the news media, which too often shirks it now (or so underplays it that it’s ineffectual) for fear of being branded “the liberal press” by the likes of Rove and O’Reilly.

No wonder Jon Stewart is sometimes referred to as the most trusted newsman in America. At least he gets the job done.

(This item was edited from its original form to fix a factual error.)

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

6 Responses to "Isn’t it about time to expose the hypocrites?"

  1. Ben
    Ben 9 years ago .Reply

    From the NYTimes article, “One of the program’s signature techniques — using video montages to show politicians contradicting themselves — has been widely imitated by “real” news shows.” What, they just now thought to do that?

    Stewart’s informal breakfast with political journalists is also pretty interesting: http://blog.indecision2008.com/2008/08/25/breakfast-with-jon-stewart-part-one/

  2. albert
    albert 9 years ago .Reply

    That was Bill O’Reilly trashing the Spears.

  3. Steve Outing
    Steve Outing 9 years ago .Reply

    Albert: Ah, got that mixed up. Fixing item. Thanks for pointing out my error.

  4. Steve Outing
    Steve Outing 9 years ago .Reply

    So here’s a perfect example that makes my point. (Thanks to Jay Rosen for pointing this out.) There was an incident during John McCain’s GOP convention speech where Walter Reed Middle School was shown as an image backdrop, when apparently Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the appropriate slide. The New York Times posted a blog item about this, and danced around the issue of whether this was a blunder or intentional. (McCain’s campaign spokesperson says it was the correct slide, and the Times blogger noted that and tried to present both sides, indicating that it wasn’t really known if this was a staff screw-up or not.)

    To get the real story — that McCain’s campaign manager was telling people at a party that it was a blunder and assigning blame, and therefore the spokesperson was LYING — you had to read Talking Points Memo.

    C’mon! If the news media catches a candidate or his staff in a lie, it should be called that. A LIE. Sheesh.

  5. Wildbird
    Wildbird 9 years ago .Reply

    Hollywood is chock clean full of enviromental hypotcrits look at LUARIE DAVID from that wretched series SIENFELD and then theres LEONARDO DECAPRIO and ROBERT KENEDY Jr and JOHN TRAVOLTA i mean they blabber about this GLOBAL WARMING poppycock while traveling all over in their gas guzzling 4 mpg limos or fly here and there in their leer jets THEIR THE BIGGIST HYPOTCRITS AROUND and their big time ring leader is AL GORE

  6. Wildbird
    Wildbird 8 years ago .Reply

    Look at JOHN TRAVOLTA urging us to go green and lessen our carbon footprints while showing off his 707 what a blabbering hypotcrit

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