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.)