Must it be said again? Jon Stewart and his team are likely some of the best research journalists in the country, though they and most would scoff at being called journalists.
A country is in a sad state when those that protect its democracy by ensuring the transparency of government cannot be trusted with providing truthful, factual, and researched information. That most researched and factual information is coming from a comedy channel, and not “respected serious” networks, has repercussions that are being realized in the state of today’s politics in America.
The lack of the “respected serious” news media to provide factual information during the stimulus debate materially affected the outcome of the stimulus bill. Had Americans known that instead of using over one third of stimulus funds on tax cuts, spending would be much more stimulative, the economy would have been more robust and more people employed.
Had Americans not had to listen to patent lies that were giving plausibility by the mainstream media and Fox News alike, (e.g., the healthcare bill throws grandma off the bus, has death panels, is socialism, & much more), a much better bill would have been written. After all, Americans fear of the word socialism gave them a bill that continues to transfer billions in middle class wealth to those that do nothing to ensure their health, private insurance company executives and shareholders. If the media had shown that civilized countries that treat healthcare as a right have much better life expectancies and outcomes, while spending less, Americans would have forced politicians to effect a better bill.
Had Americans been told the truth about gun ownership, the truth that owning a gun increases the likelihood it would be used on a family member than an intruder, more people would give pause to the obsession of laissez faire gun policies. The NRA has such an unwarranted stronghold on American politics and implicitly the media, that very little comparative analysis is provided for countries with strong gun control that are democracies relative to America’s Right Wing’s infatuation with the a childish view of the Second Amendment.