Headscratchers / The Daily Show

  • Okay. Lets start over from scratch, and see if we can have a better discussion this time around:

    This troper is a center-right conservative fan of both the Fox News channel and Jon Stewart. He enjoys debate with both sides of the aisle above all and frequently watches both shows to get the best perspective on issues. Above all, he respects Stewart for facilitating debate on his shows and not outright dismissing the other side's merits because they're conservative views. Here's the thing: Jon Stewart has often gone after Fox for rather petty things while allowing people like Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann(though he HAS taken Olby to task from time to time) off the hook time after time. What he doesn't get about Stewart is how he can justify going after Fox's "Fair and Balanced" tagline because of their, to him anyway, conservative bias when there are plenty of people on that network who wish to facilitate a proper debate on their shows. Bill O'Reilly , in recent years, is a good example of trying to host a proper debate, as well as Glenn Beck(whenever he HAS a guest on, anyway) as well as others. Yes, Fox has quite a bit of partisan whacks on its airwaves, but there's less partisanship on that network than what this troper has seen on the Left-leaning networks, which content themselves parroting the Democrat agenda no matter what while Fox HAS questioned Republican platforms on more than one occasion(though most of that question has come from, again, O'Reilly and Beck).
    • First of all, no one else claims to be fair an balance, Jon Stewart doesn't go after Fox News because he thinks they are more bias than anyone else, but because they deny it and go promoting a lie to viewers that they are neutral, think of the viewers who believe that and that at the end of watching the network for a day they think the democratic government wants to actively ruin America, that pro-choice people want to kill all babies, and that people against the war want to the death of the nations more than the terrorist, remember bias goes far beyond politics. Reporters are thought in college that they shouldn't let their idealisms affect their reports, which is a rule rarely not broken by american reporters. I also don't agree that "sometimes" disagreeing with conservatives makes them much less bias if they keep attacking liberal opinions and "promoting" other conservatives ones, they should be as neutral as possible and let people decide, they shouldn't even give their opinion on the matter because that is were biasness starts. Example, saying something like: your safety is being threaten, government is making deals with a high ranking Muslim corporate. Instead of just: Goverment is making deals with the high ranking oversees corporate "name". See it's letting people think for themselves if this threatens their safety and if him being a Muslim is important or not. Finally I've make this post long enough so I'm not gonna point individual examples, I'm just gonna point out that in Jon's interview of Bret Beier, even him, a Fox News reporter, thinks that O'Rilley and Glen Beck as bias but that they only count for part of the cast (which doesn't really saves FNC from failing their tagline motive).
      • I saw the interview with Baier, and all Stewart did was make a crack about O'Reilly but not once did he speak on O'Reilly's bias. He more or less said Glenn Beck is biased, sure, but Stewart's gone on record multiple times as saying O'Reilly's probably the closest thing to "No Spin" on FNC than anyone else. And, once again, if Jon Stewart's going to go after Fox for being biased when he's just as biased as they are, it's a tad bit hypocritical. Sure, he doesn't CLAIM to be unbiased, but that doesn't make his hypocrisy any better, it just means that he's hiding behind Refuge in Audacity. Problem is, as pointed out by Bernie Goldberg, Stewart explicitly cedes his Refuge in Audacity when he gets serious about politics.
      • My point was that the people IN Fox News know they are biased, saying others are biased but you aren't is not a solution, because they're generalizing, not talking about you specifically, I respect O'Rilley but there are two things that I don't like about him, 1 is his temper and another one is when he defends Fox News as a whole, sure you may be the most unbiased of your company, but the others aren't, which technically makes Fox News biased.
      • Stewart is actively disturbed by the idea of The Daily Show being used as a primary source of information, and tries hard to make it clear that its a sometimes humorous commentary that should be secondary to ostensibly less biased genuine news sources. Fox News, by contrast, claims to be an unbiased primary source of information that doesn't need backing up by real sources, while being just as if not even more biased. Its the difference between a chocolate bar promising to taste great while having silly parodies of health claims that make a genuine point about silly claims by food productsnote  and a chocolate bar that is actually claiming to improve bodily healthnote , while being just as fattening and unhealthy, and without any disclaimer. They're both delicious candy, and they both try to say something about health claims, but only one of them admits that it isn't a substitute for an actual meal or balanced diet.
      • And to anticipate your next point, yes, the other news organizations implicitly claim to be unbiased while having biases; Fox's claim is explicit. That MSNBC and CNN say and do stupid and biased things is brought up frequently on the Daily Show. That they do not receive precisely identical coverage times is explained by differences between implicit and explicit claims in deriving comedic irony, the fact that the writers aren't robotic gods and only have 30 minutes to work withnote , the fact that, to paraphrase Stewart, MSNBC is really bad at it compared to Fox's spin mastery, and the fact that they do try, and arguably succeed in giving equal coverage at times; the last three or four times I randomly turned on The Daily Show, there were about 4 criticisms of MSNBC and CNN to about 2 criticisms of Fox, the latter of which was mostly confined to an interview.
      • While your second point makes great points, I have to address how you've insisted Stewart hates being claimed as a new source: If the guy didn't want to be a source of news, then why in the hell DOES he get very serious about his whole schtick in the first place? Furthermore, the guy was named "Most Reliable New Source Since the Death of Walter Cronkite" by a poll in Time Magazine. And several times, whether it be in his interviews with Bill O'Reilly or whatever, he's pulled that card and has shown to take pride in being thought of as such.
      • That he doesn't like being a source of information is cited in just about every interview with him on the issue I've seen and I found three in two minutes of google searching, and the Daily Show wikipedia article "reception" section as well. According to the same article, his response to the Walter Cronkite thing was "I was the "none of the above" option", and I personally wager that his bringing it up to O'Reilly is in that context- not saying that he, Stewart, has a high score on the reliability test, but that people like O'Reilly got really abysmal scores. Its not an "I did well", its a "you score so badly you're in the same ballpark as me, and that isn't a good thing". As he also mentions/references, and I personally think might also be responsible, it was an internet poll, and he shares a fanbase with Stephen "Wikipedia automatically locks pages after I reference them and Hungary almost named a bridge after me because I get people who don't usually vote in these things to vote for me" Colbert.
      • He mentions a lot of those things on his appearance on Crossfire, and why shows like that should be held to higher standards than him. A CNN article quotes him as saying of the people who treat him as a primary source, ""A lot of them are probably high," Stewart cracked. "I'm not sure, coming off of robots fighting and into our show, what we're dealing with out there." ". He says some serious stuff at times, but its almost always in does so to set up later jokes to poke fun. When he rarely doesn't do serious stuff as the setup for a punchline, like with the Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear, its usually as commentary on American culture and the job of media within it, something that as he's said only makes sense within the context of a person who is familiar with other news media. When he has a serious political figure on the show, if you'll notice, they're the ones saying serious stuff; he's just throwing a snark out there periodically, clearly out of his element. You're far from being alone in thinking him skirting and maybe being just over the line in his use of seriousness as framework for jokes; several people have accused him of using the "I'm just a comedian" thing as a shield when he says serious things, but in my opinion, the fact that he makes pointed statements about the conflict with Gaddafi whilst comparing Gaddafi to a man in a dress and listing celebrities he resembles somewhat takes the wind out of his serious debater sails sufficiently to lose the air of professionalism. As I said, he only really loses that news-based-RiffTrax thing- only saying serious things so there's something to riff, or as the setup for a gag, or tossing in enough gags to make you stop seriously considering what he's saying- when he's talking about how we get news, and the way news media work- and as the Crossfire thing shows, he's far from singling out Fox there; he ripped into Crossfire back there back then, and that was CNN.
      • Sorry for the Wall of Text-ness.
      • The comparison to Bill Maher may mostly be because Jon thinks of both himself and Bill as being comedians, and thus not held at the same standard of people whose job it is (such as Bill O'Reilly or the main news channels like FOX, CNN, and CSNBC) to give the public the truth, and calls them out for giving the people anything but.
      • The problem is, Maher's show takes itself FAR too seriously to be "nothing but a comedy show."
      • In the end Jon is a comedian, a lot and I mean a LOT of other comedians make fun of politics, news, etc. (I've heard jokes specifically about Fox News) the only difference is that it was mostly viewed as just opinions, but Jon started showing clips of the screw ups politicians and news make, he unlike the others is a threat to them. But the reality is that when you have Elmo the puppet terrorist, rarely go more than 3 minutes without making a joke and have a team called the best F**king news team in the world it should be clear that you're not at fault for being taken so seriously, after all you wouldn't even have a show if they wouldn't screw up so much or were so crazy.
  • The "Rally-To-Restore-Sanity" was supposed to be about being moderate, middle ground, and, well, sane. Stewart made an enormous deal about how he wanted to bring everyone together, and avoid all types of insanity and extremism. And yet, he invited this guy. Epic Fail or Hypocrite?
    • In response to that controversy, Yusuf said that part of what he said was stupid and offensive jokes made in bad taste, while other parts were merely giving his interpretation of Islamic law but not advocating any action. Then where I think it fits with the Rally to Restore Sanity is that he and others objected that they edited the part where he promised to accept the judgment of a British court if it found Rushdie innocent of any crime, blasphemy or otherwise. Not to mention all the things that the controversy initially caused like Tom Leykis calling for a mass steamrolling of Cat Steven's records (it was initially a mass burning) and people smashing his albums in the street. It's nice how the only options you give are epic fail or hypocrisy.
      I'm very sad that this seems to be the No. 1 question people want to discuss. I had nothing to do with the issue other than what the media created. I was innocently drawn into the whole controversy. So, after many years, I'm glad at least now that I have been given the opportunity to explain to the public and fans my side of the story in my own words. At a lecture, back in 1989, I was asked a question about blasphemy according to Islamic Law, I simply repeated the legal view according to my limited knowledge of the Scriptural texts, based directly on historical commentaries of the Qur'an. The next day the newspaper headlines read, "Cat Says, Kill Rushdie." I was abhorred, but what could I do? I was a new Muslim. If you ask a Bible student to quote the legal punishment of a person who commits blasphemy in the Bible, he would be dishonest if he didn't mention Leviticus 24:16.
      • Well, when a guy spouts some extremist rhetoric and then tries to pass it off as "jokes", which Jon's called pundits on the Right out for doing on multiple occasions...
      • Ah, yes, the old "taken-out-of-context" excuse. Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this. Stevens (sorry, Yusuf Islam) was never "taken out of context". He advocated murder, plain and simple. The fact that, to this day, he refuses to admit it further proves the point. I think Salman Rushdie summed it up perfectly in his Letter to the Sunday Telegraph:
      Cat Stevens wanted me dead. However much Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam may wish to rewrite his past, he was neither misunderstood nor misquoted over his views on the Khomeini fatwa against The Satanic Verses (Seven, April 29). In an article in The New York Times on May 22, 1989, Craig R Whitney reported Stevens/Islam saying on a British television programme "that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, 'I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing'." He added that "if Mr Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, 'I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is'." In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Mr Whitney added, Stevens/Islam, who had seen a preview of the programme, said that he "stood by his comments". Let's have no more rubbish about how "green" and innocent this man was.
      • Not taking sides in the Rushdie-Stevens/Islam debate, but after the rally, Rushdie spoke with Stewart, and said that Stewart apparently regretted inviting Islam for exactly these reasons. Rushdie himself seems to hold no malice/grudge/whatever against Stewart.
      • Funny. I don't know where you got your information, but from what I read, the opposite is true. Stewart had no regrets about inviting Yusuf Islam, even if it upset Rushdie. Here's what Rushdie had to say:
      I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam's appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.
      • what's the problem here? he said that Stweart did apologized, just that "he" didn't believe him, that doesn't makes it a fact.

  • Oftentimes, during the second act correspondent section, they will have two interviewees on opposite sides of an issue. But they sometimes edit it to look as if the correspondent is actually getting up in the middle of the interview to go to the other one and quote something the first interviewee said. Then they appear to "go back" to the first one and quote what the second one said. But oftentimes these subjects are in different cities, how are they arranging that?
    • Daily Show correspondents are never on location during those segments. It's all done with green screen, something that gets played for laughs during the live Indecision specials, when people who had minutes ago claimed to be in Washington or at a state poling place wander onto the set.
      • No, not the "on location" bits, but the actual interviews.
    • Simple prediction: They are going to two people on opposite sides of an issue. It's not all that complicated to predict talking points of both sides.
      • That coupled with an old strategy used by lawyers - never ask questions that you don't know the answer to beforehand. Maybe not that far, but, as mentioned before, when you have two diametrically-opposed viewpoints, there's going to be some level of predictability.