The big news in basic cable this weekend was that Stephen Colbert, comedian and host of Comedy Central’s "The Colbert Report" has arrived in Iraq for a week of taping the program from an actual war zone. It’s a bold move on Comedy Central’s part and, depending on your definition of "war zone," potentially a very brave move on Colbert, himself. But some could argue that Colbert still has a lot of work to do if he wants to rival his colleague, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart in the race to be dubbed a Real American Hero.
Loyal reader Ron Najor made such an argument in an impassioned email sent to Screen Junkies this weekend, and we liked it so much, we thought we’d publish it. Unlike the majority of posts on SJ, this is a completely serious rant. But don’t panic. We embedded some funny clips.
By Ron Najor
A modern day Edward R. Murrow, Jon Stewart carves up and dispenses with any who would do wrong as he marches forward to a brave new world. He has single-handedly brought the country’s focus to the root of the very problem that plagues our modern day news corporations. With NBC being owned by General Electric and several NBC sister companies in bed with the financial sector, it blatantly and knowingly misled and misinformed the public. I knew that; my friends and I talked about it. But Jon Stewart exposed it for the farce it was. And only through his comedic but bold interviews did we finally see someone in the national spotlight hold the media accountable for its huge part in all of this.
The following three clips feature the now famous showdown between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer, a financial analyst and host of “Mad Money” on CNBC. In many ways, this meetin mirrors similar events that took place when Edward R. Murrow faced Joseph McCarthy on “See It Now”.
SEE THE COMPLETE UNEDITED 3 PART VERSION:
March 12, 2009: Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 1
March 12, 2009: Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 2
March 12, 2009: Jim Cramer Unedited Interview Pt. 3
For those who may not know, Edward R. Murrow, beyond being a highly respected journalist in his day, was immortalized as the man who took down Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy, a politician from Wisconsin, started the “Red Scare” and accused masses of Americans of being communist. Being called a communist back then was the equivalent of being called a terrorist today. Ruining countless lives, McCarthy’s wrath engulfed anyone who opposed him and few did. Until Edward R. Murrow called him out and brought to light to the nation the wrongs he had committed upon so many innocent Americans. The News did its job and helped its people find truth in a chaotic time.
This clip shows Edward R. Murrow calling out Joseph McCarthy on his news broadcast “See It Now,” a show which in many ways resembled Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” but with clearly fewer laughs.
Stewart, a satirist/comedian, was hired by Comedy Central to make fun of the news when Craig Kilborn left “The Daily Show” in 1999. I can’t imagine anyone thought he’d do such a good job of it. Jon Stewart is a fluke, really, which is the scary part of all this. His job was to make fun of the media and current events, but was never thought of as a legitimate opportunity to expose our country’s failures and corruptions. “The Daily Show” was engineered for a few laughs and I don’t think it was ever thought to bring about any type of social change or enlighten the public as it has done in the past several years. You can be sure corporations will think twice before allowing someone like a Jon Stewart to break through and do the job of the news who have so neatly fit in the back pocket of the corporations that own them today.
So many of the journalists today are loyal to the corporations that hire them and pay their (often) exorbitant salaries. We the people are no longer told the truth, but rather a version that is in line with the corporations that own the news channels. Now, I do realize there are good journalists out there, but corporate news people are not only in a conflict of interest but a conflict of ethics. Do you do what is right when doing what is right bites the hand that feeds you and your family? We have allowed our news to develop into a structure where it can no longer fully provide for the people.
It’s clear that corporate news has faile the American people. Whether it is their misleading reporting on the financial sector that Jon Stewart exposed or the War in Iraq that turned out to be one colossal lie with no Weapons of Mass Destruction and no terrorist linked to the 9/11 disaster. The corporate news was not only on board for both of these events but lead the charge. Corporate news has done nothing to inform or challenge the powers at be because they themselves are the powers at be.
I think we need a clear separation of corporations and news before it is too late. Access to honest and fair reporting is something we all desperately need to make informed and proper decisions as Americans. Without a [televised] news source that is acting on behalf of the people we are left to blindly make decisions that will not only impact us but future generations and the people around us on a global level. We have a responsibility to the global community to get the best information to the people and try our best to make sure it is accurate and credible. The present corporate news entities have proven to be none of these.
I say this all not with a sense of satisfaction but nervously wondering once Jon Stewart goes, whom will we turn to, to help impart information to us as citizens. If corporate news has its way we will all sit blindly by as we are fed their version of “fair and balanced” journalism.
Good night America and good luck Jon Stewart!
— RON NAJOR
As a bonus, here’s a clip of Jon Stewart famously taking down the hosts of “Crossfire” ENJOY:
Soon after Stewart’s appearance, “Crossfire” was cancelled.