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Alameda: What is news?

By epearlman
Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 8:59 am in News media.

With the dying newspaper industry (here, here, and here) being the discussion of the era, and Jon Stewart’s calling out of CNBC’s Jim Cramer being the discussion of the week, The Chronicle’s Phil Bronstein had this post Friday about how Jon Stewart is NOT the news.

Bronstein’s argument runs something along the lines of if Stewart is news then suddenly all news will be required to be funny. He writes, “Will Katie Couric be replaced by someone with a big red nose and floppy shoes?” Uh, who knows. But if that person is asking hard questions about such things as, for example, why no one was safe-guarding the public good while banks and bankers spun further and further out of control or what the heck happened in Iraq, then maybe the nose doesn’t matter.

The real deal is that—no matter what form it takes, be it blog, comedy show, newspaper article, or conversation—what is important to a democratic society is the willingness to ask hard questions, to do real research, and to find out what makes sense: the pursuit of truth. And no matter what Bronstein says, by that standard Stewart is one of the best things we’ve got going for news right now.

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  • http://everwas.com Ian Kennedy

    ‘Jesters do oft prove prophets’ – Shakespeare in King Lear

  • http://www.cantor-law.com Attorney ASC

    Regardless of political orientation or what your medium of choice is when it comes to dissemination of the news, I think it’s fair to say that Stewart’s interview of Cramer was, in and of itself, an intelligent construction of logical questions. It was a great interview, and I think Mr. Bronstein misses the point – Stewart’s interview was great and serious. It was an interview of the same caliber you would have seen Russert do. There was nothing funny about the interview. If Stewart is guilty of anything, it’s wearing his heart on his sleeve a bit too much. It’s fairly obvious (and he even said so) that he takes it all personally. And I believe great journalists can detach themselves from the story they are reporting.