but unfair. Stewart did a bunch of things that no journalist could, or
should, ever get away with. He showed ultra-short clips of anchors and
reporters saying things that, by themselves, sounded really stupid but,
in context, may not have been quite as dumb as they seemed (though some
surely were). And he included clips of interviewees saying dumb things,
something for which CNBC bears no blame (unless they went totally
unchallenged, which I assume in some cases they did).
If you wank any harder you’re gonna pull something. In the first place, and I can’t believe six years on I still have to yell about this, but sniffing that Stewart isn’t a journalist is like trying to insult me by saying I’ll never win an Olympic medal in figure skating. I mean, my triple toe loop isn’t the question here. In the second place, what is that last sentence? “CNBC is blameless unless they did THIS, which in some cases they did, so they might not be blameless, unless they are.” Jesus tits.
(The thing you could argue was unfair about what Stewart did — aside
from the appended commentary, which on a regular TV news station would
have been delivered by the news director or what have you — was to
fail to present CNBC with an opportunity to respond in an official
capacity to the staggering incompetence he exposed. Other than that, I
can’t think of a single thing that wouldn’t have been applauded in any
non-wanker-filled newsroom in the country.)
What exactly is out of bounds journalistically about calling people on their bullshit? Honestly, I don’t know what a journalist’s job IS if not pointing out the discrepancy between what was predicted and what happened. I can’t tell you how many times I did this: So and so said. Yesterday, the exact opposite occurred. From this juxtaposition the following eight people drew the conclusion that Politician X or Preacher Y is taking the following action. It’s not then followed up with “I can’t decide which of these people I’d rather see in jail” but if you DON’T come to that conclusion you need to go back to elementary school and learn how to read.
The only reason you ever write about what’s fucked up is the hope that someone, somewhere, will read or see your reporting and FIX THE FUCKING PROBLEM. Journalists historically have been advocates for all kinds of change and action. It’s why you have editorials in newspapers: to urge particular solutions to the problems your reporters have been writing about. It’s why you fucking exist. When I was doing it, it was to get child molesters thrown out of churches. “Bishop X said this, but five years ago, he did this, this, this and this.” I’m so glad I didn’t know that that was unfair.
Look, we are all in our own ways trying to make the world a better place and storytellers do it by shoving the great and glorious life we live back in our faces so that we have to look at it honestly. It’s not to put a tab in a slot, it’s to get stuff done. Dan Mitchell spends an entire page of text sniffing that Stewart isn’t a journalist, which Stewart himself has pointed out many times, but he fails to answer the central question Mitchell says was raised by Stewart’s work:
of writers — worked because there were no interviews at all. It all
hung instead on meticulous research, dredging up lethal quips of CNBC’s
stock pumping hosts to hang them with theior own undeniable words
— Jim Cramer’s “buy buy buy” when the Dow was roughly double what it
is today, his touting of Bear Stearns’ and Bank of
America’s doomed stocks. The kind of research that’s so hard for most
newspapers to do anymore, with downsized staffs and ever-looming
deadlines, but which can so often belies the spin from our “accessible”
4) The First Amendment doesn’t say anything about not being funny, or
not being passionate. I don’t know about you, if you actually watched
the piece, but I feel like I learned something important —
confirming the cheerleading nature of the nation’s most-watched source
for business news, even in a moment of oncoming disaster — but I also
busted my gut laughing as I did. And there’s nothing wrong with that,
informing and entertaining at the same time — isn’t that what
newspapers are charging people 75 cents for?
So if Dan Mitchell up there can just put the lotion back in the cabinet when he’s done, we’d all appreciate it.