Apr
05
2012

Bill O'Reilly: Muffin but the Truth

Heard the one about the $16 government muffin? That story originated with a Justice Department inspector general report that claimed $16 muffins were served at a conference for immigration judges and attorneys. That was reported on the front pages of the September 21 Washington Post. But the story fell apart in a matter of days, after the hotel explained the paperwork was being misinterpreted. Post ombud Patrick Pexton (9/30/11) explained that both the original report and the paper's story were at fault. The real bill was for continental breakfast and afternoon snacks–not a bad price for a D.C. hotel, it […]

Jan
19
2011

Beck: Murder Fantasies Are Funny

Glenn Beck has expressed on-air desires to strangle Michael Moore with his own hands, beat Charles Rangel to death with a shovel, and once aired a sketch on his Fox News show that had him poisoning then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on the Today show this morning (1/19/11), responding to questions about his frequent murder fantasies (a specialty of Fox News personalities), Beck told host Meredith Vieira that he was just being funny. Beck said the host should ask Jon Stewart and the Simpsons the same question. "Comedy is comedy," he explained. Vieira did not point out that […]

Dec
22
2010

Rove, O'Reilly Combine Their Ignorance to Battle Jon Stewart

Last night on Fox News (12/22/10), Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly attempted to defend GOP opposition tothe James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, whichwould providehealth care for 9/11 Ground Zero workers. In his final broadcast of the year (12/16/10), Comedy Central's Jon Stewart devoted the entire show to lambasting the Republican opposition.Stewart's attention to the issue seems to have pushed other media outlets to pay attention to this issue. (With any luck, we'll remember this the next time there's a "debate" aboutpeople watchinga comedy show instead of "real" news.) Rove and O'Reilly'sdefense of GOP intransigence is hardly […]

Sep
20
2010

NYT's Carr to Jon Stewart: Get Off the Field!

The New York Times' David Carr (9/20/10) compares involvement by media figures in politics–exemplified by CNBC's Rick Santelli and various Fox News figures fueling the Tea Party movement, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's dueling answer rallies to said movement–to "a football game where the reporters and commentators, bored by the feckless proceedings on the field, suddenly poured out of the press box and took over the game." Writes Carr: "In politics, it seems as if the media is intent on not just keeping score but also calling plays." Regardless of what one thinks of any particular media figure's political […]

May
06
2009

Economic Misreporting Matches Iraq War Failures

Eyeing a new poll that "revealed that one in four Americans now believe that the 'faux' news delivered by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is replacing 'real' news sources as viable outlets," Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher, 5/5/09) has to wonder "if the remaining (if relatively low) public respect for the press is gone for good": Yes, the delivery platform of the future will change–the Kindle, iPhone apps or rubbery plastic may replace paper everywhere–but the content still has to be credible. And now it must be said: The media blew both of the major catastrophes of our time. I […]

Mar
18
2009

Glenn Beck Offers New Fox Slogan

Jon Stewart (3/17/09) has found Glenn Beck expressing his philosophy in what may be its purest form: Believe in something! Even if it's wrong! Believe in it!

Mar
17
2009

Richard Cohen on Jon Stewart's 'Cheap Shot'

Many observers praised the Daily Show's Jon Stewart for his hard-hitting interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer. Columnist Richard Cohen (Washington Post, 3/17/09) begs to differ. Actually, Stewart was "wrong" to go after Cramer, Cohen wrote–it was a "cheap shot at business media." His main argument is that Stewart charged that Cramer "knew all the time what was happening" at game-playing financial companies, but Cohen has a list of CEOs at such firms who lost money on their own company's stock, so even they must not have known what was really going on: "When someone puts his money where his mouth […]

Mar
16
2009

'Wall Street Hubris' as Orwellian Comedy

Writing on CounterPunch, former Wall Street insider Pam Martens notes (3/16/09) that the academics and economists (none of whom ever worked a day on Wall Street) have been telling us in op-eds and speeches and testimony before Congress that the crumbling Wall Street structure results from bundled subprime mortgages, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and asset-backed securities. Meanwhile, "in a week's time, [the Daily Show's Jon Stewart] has zeroed in, like a heat-seeking missile, on the core of Wall Street's malady…. The core of Wall Street's corruption might well be the same core that it has drawn the darkest […]

Mar
16
2009

NPR Can (but Doesn't) 'Take a Lesson' from Jon Stewart

When NPR ombud Alicia Shepard commented on an NPR blog that "we can all take a lesson from" Jon Stewart because "he holds people in power accountable for what they say"–this being her "definition of a good journalist"–Matthew Murrey, AKA NPR Check blogger Mytwords, couldn't resist asking "So when will Shepard hold the NPR journalists to such a standard?" Mytwords' challenge of Shepard "(or anyone for that matter) to show any examples in the last 10 years where NPR's main news shows… 'held people in power accountable'" was met by one reader (3/15/09) who had only heard one instance of […]

Mar
13
2009

Jim Cramer–Calm, Sober Wild Man

During his well-publicized appearance with Jon Stewart (Daily Show, 3/12/09), CNBC's Jim Cramer tried to present himself as a rational financial journalist, dismissing his on-air wild man persona as entertainment. But if you listened to his calm, sober pronouncements, they really weren't all that rational. For instance, he said by way of apology, referring to the current financial crisis, "I got a lot of things wrong because I think it was kind of [a] one-in-a-million shot." Well, no–if you build a financial system on the idea that assets are going to keep rapidly increasing in value forever, the system's eventual […]

Mar
13
2009

There's Nothing Funny About CNBC

Economics writer David Lieberman (USA Today, 3/11/09) previews a Today show interview with CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer by pointing out that Cramer will "have to answer for misguided stock predictions–including some last year urging investors to buy and hold Bear Stearns just before the investment bank collapsed." But the ironic bit comes after Cramer's dismissive quote–"Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me!"–when business journalism academic Andrew Leckey "says that while CNBC wants to be seen as serious, 'The best ratings go to a wacky guy.' Cramer often bellows and uses sound effects to highlight his stock picks." As […]

Mar
05
2009

Media Keep Faith in Dow Jones as Oracle

Prefacing a Daily Show segment (3/4/09) with his version of current big-media reporting: "Recent opinion polls indicate that six weeks into Barack Obama's administration, the American public thinks they approve of his performance–but it turns out they're wrong," Jon Stewart runs clips of celebrity news figures like Fox's Sean Hannity asking, "How did the market react to this latest liberal spending spree? Well, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped almost 400 points," and of Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto asking, "The Dow is down more than 1,500 points, nearly 3,000 since Election Day, now is this a vote of no […]

Feb
11
2009

'Right to Privacy < O'Reilly's Need to Know'

Jon Stewart has a Daily Show bit (2/9/09) replaying Bill O'Reilly's staunch declarations that "we hate those paparazzi, we think they're the scum of the earth" because "the right to privacy is a basic constitutional tenet." That sounds like quite a principled stand; the only trouble comes when Stewart then shows O'Reilly Factor clips of its own camera crews ambushing journalists out with their families, in front of their own homes and even commuting on a city bus to quiz them about why they said or wrote certain things. Stewart then embarks on "a great experiment," showing O'Reilly listing "the […]