Thursday, August 28, 2008

point and shoot journalism

This is slightly old news, but stick with me:

According to a piece by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Joe Garofoli, comic Jon Stewart took a bunch of print reporters to breakfast on Monday and read them the riot act for letting cable networks set the news agenda. Here's Stewart's beef: quick camera shots on cable followed by quick cuts to the studio where a breathless talking head tells us that this is a matter of urgency. No filters, no depth, no insight, no background. That's the stuff, Stewart says, we should be getting from print -- but don't when the print guys rush to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle.

Good point. Garofoli quotes Stewart:

"We've fallen into this false sense of urgency that they [the cable networks] create," Stewart said. "That idea that everything is breaking news and that if you're not watching us, you're going to miss this thing.

"But nothing they're saying is of any import because nobody filters it. (Print reporters) are able to step back for a moment and think. They're not. They're just pointing a camera and saying, 'What do you think that is? I don't know. Let's go to 'The Situation Room.' "

"It's about earning your authority back. That gravitas," Stewart told the print journalists. "It's showing an expertise. It's the whole reason you guys are in the business. You're not on anyone's team. You're on our team. And that's what's stopped."


Lotta K said...

Like Ira Glass says, "I'd drink Jon Stewart's bathwater." (In the What I Learned from Television episode of This American Life.)

Anonymous said...

It's hardly just the "cable networks" and Stewart knows it. It's TV news and that's the deal. Stewart's a helluva comic, but he's not a journalist, he's not a deep thinker and he's as ratings and ad driven as anyone in the game.

barbara kelley said...

yes, stewart is a satirist, not a journalist. but what gives him a certain amount of cred is the fact that many people -- esp. twentysomething college students -- turn to him as their first source of news. probably a burden he doesn't want (apart from ratings, of course), but he's stuck with it.
ironic that one of the defenders of journalism's values is a comic. where is everyone else?! bk