Jon Stewart is Overrated

Yes I said it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s certainly funny, but the problem is that he tries to have a point behind the funny, and in that I think he’s arguably as problematic as the media aburdity he likes to malign so much. In any event, he actually said he thinks Fox is the best of the cable networks today:

“I think Fox does the best probably because they have an idea of what they’re doing. Because they have an editorial perspective they’re able to focus it more. It’s more cohesive and it makes more sense,” he said. He chided the television networks for pandering to their viewers.

“I think my audience would like to see a naked women smoke crack,” he said.

Now, aside from the idea that an “editorial perspective” (cough, bias) in reporting is a good thing, it’s also been well documented that Fox is shameless in using sex to draw eyeballs.

Beyond that though, I have a really broad problem with Stewart’s media criticism in general. Now that might sound hypocritical, given that I do  a lot of criticism of journalists in print, on cable, in the puditry, and so on around here, but the difference is that I watch a lot of the cable news that I’m criticizing, and I read even more of the writing I criticize. I scroll The Corner and Commentary every day. I watch CNN and MSNBC for hours, and check their websites regularly. And Stewart, while never shy about attacking cable news, doesn’t actually watch much of it, as he made abundantly clear when he interviewed David Gregory. I mean, could anyone who had watched MSNBC for, say, an hour actually not know that their slogan is “The Place for Politics?” They only say it every 6 minutes or so. So I’m curious how someone who clearly hasn’t watched much, if any, of MSNBC could say that he thinks Fox is “better.”

Gregory also called Stewart out on, arguably, his most annoying trait, the way he edits clips selectively to make them look as absurd as possible. Now that’s perfectly fine to do in order to make a joke, but again, Stewart is trying to make a point with his jokes, and when you take the liberty of editing something down to make that as easy, or as visual, as possible you’re doing a real disservice to what you’re doing.

Anyway, long story short, if you’re going to make a schtick of criticizing something, be sure that you’re actually paying attention to it.