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Heeeeere’s Johnny

Oct
22
2004

All this talk about Jon Stewart’s Crossfire appearance is interesting, no? It seems so beside the point.
Someone who gets a paycheck from Big Media (Comedy Central, which carries The Daily Show is owned by Viacom) tell someone else in Big Media (CNN’s Tucker Carlson) that they’re doing a bad job and everyone notices. Because, well, it just isn’t done. Big Media employees are supposed to sit around the campfire and congratulate each other for having the smarts, luck, and good connections that enable them to be on TV while we’re all watching them.


That’s one reason they’re so annoying. And it’s why they’re losing. It’s not about their readers or viewers. It’s about them.
Yeah. Welcome to the New New Media. Which Jon Stewart understands like no one else.
Why? Because Jon Stewart is the new Johnny Carson, he is the king late-nite TV, the last thing many people see at night, the first thing they talk about in the morning. Carson, an ambitious and witty guy from the Midwest once spoke for the nation. The Republicans knew Watergate was bad when Carson – after months of silence – started making jokes about Nixon and the break-in. Our sensibility is different now – by his own admission, Stewart is no Midwestern farm boy – but his ability to speak for intelligent people who are fed up is as dead-on as a Carson spit-take.
The political pundits are trying to say that Stewart is a “comic.” It’s their way of saying that he’s not a serious-minded person. Yeah, well, you know what they say? Dying is easy. Comedy – now that’s hard.
Meanwhile, in other Big Media one-on-ones, The New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent is validating Godwin’s law saying that all flame wars end with Hitler.
Here’s what he’s told Business Week Online’s Thane Peterson about Steve Schwenk, the San Francisco guy who made the mistake of getting ugly in email.
“…even Okrent had doubts about his own course of action. ‘But I thought about it, and I decided that someone who goes out at night and paints a swastika on the door of a synagogue doesn’t want it written about either,’ says Okrent. ‘There have to be consequences. [What the blogger wrote] was vile. No one should ever wish that on another person.’ ”
Sigh. Sigh. Upon sigh.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 12:51 PM | Permalink

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