Jon Stewart points out the irony of the Brian Williams ‘investigation’
Jon Stewart used the mainstream media news coverage of the Brian Williams lie to illustrate their dereliction of duty. He first told the story of Brian Williams reporting the story, then embellishing the story, and ultimately lying about the story.
“But it was more sin than crime. Wouldn’t you agree?” Jon Stewart asked. “I am sure his colleagues would agree.” Stewart then played clips from different media outlets scrutinizing Brian Williams. They were contemplating whether he lied. What would it mean for the news media industry? What would be the damage to his credibility?
“The media is on it,” Jon said sarcastically. “Never again will Brian Williams mislead this great nation about being shot at in a war we probably wouldn’t have ended up in if the media had applied this level of scrutiny to the actual f$cking war.”
Jon Stewart wondered why the media was so up in arms. He then played clips where the different talking heads and analysts began self-diagnosing. They made comments stating the incident was a huge credibility crisis. ‘Credibility and trust are what we go off of, what we stand for.’
Stewart agreed with pretty much all that they said in the abstract. But then he burned them. He showed how the news media allowed the Bush administration to seed them with stories favorable to the war. Dick Cheney and the Bush administration then used those planted stories to justify an unnecessary war.
But even worse, when many in the news media were asked if they did a good job on reporting the war and what led up to it, few if any took responsibility for their journalistic failure. “Could we had done a better job?” asked Wolff Blitzer in a clip. “Sure. Remember, we are a first draft of history, journalism.”
Jon Stewart’s response was epic. “But it wasn’t even your draft,” Stewart said. “You were just copying off of Cheney’s paper. You were plagiarizing history.”
Jon then hoped that this incident would cause the media to reflect on itself. Maybe they would go back and attempt to find where they have failed on real important issues. Who knows, maybe they would no longer give plausibility or news worthiness to topics like ‘death panels’, ‘government takeover of healthcare’, ‘death taxes’, ‘envy economics’, and on and on.
Of course that was not to be. Stewart showed that instead of attempting to find out if Brian Williams may have misreported items of substance in Iraq or on other important subjects, they were concerned if he lied about being robbed, had saved multiple dogs, or had seen a body floating in the New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The purpose of Jon Stewart’s skit was however much less about Brian Williams and more about the media. One wonders if the traditional mainstream media will even get the excoriation Jon Stewart gave them. They seem immune to all external criticism thus far. It is for this reason that when the President used alternate channels to get the message out many applauded.