“Jon Stewart, a man who got 1.5 ratings, a smidge less than Mike Huckabee’s 1.7, was apparently beloved by the entire nation,” Ace of Spades quipped on Twitter, leading Kathy Shaidle to write that upon Stewart and Brian Williams’ combined exit announcements, there’s been a “A Slight Depression in the Liar Market:”
Nevertheless, Viacom’s stock value dropped by about $350 million after Stewart announced his imminent departure. I was shocked by that figure, but got zapped again, Milgram-wise, when I read the article under the headline:
That staggering amount represents less than 2 percent of the corporation’s total worth.
So, yes, it has been a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week” for the mainstream media. Former crack addict and wife beater David Carr of the New York Times died, as did Bob Simon of 60 Minutes and, as some of us like to call it—speaking of journalistic malpractice—“Pallywood.”
But given Viacom’s billions, and the comparable wealth of every other print and broadcasting conglomerate, it’s sadly safe to say that reports of big media’s death—like much of their very own output, from Twain’s premature obit onward—are greatly exaggerated.
Old media isn’t going anywhere — no media ever completely dies; nine million people were watching Brian Williams when he spontaneously combusted; that’s down significantly from the numbers watching the evening news during the Cronkite era, but nothing to sneeze at. But at least now “people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” as Williams once sneered, can point out that the bespoke clothing seen at 6:30 PM has no emperor inside it.
As for Williams’ counterpart in the fake news business, Kyle Smith of the New York Post, much to the horror of Stewart’s wild-eyed fan base, explores “How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation:”
Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.
He is especially beloved by others in the journo game. (For every 100 viewers, he generated about 10 fawning profiles in the slicks, all of them saying the same thing: The jester tells the truth!)
Any standard liberal publication was as likely to contain an unflattering thought about Stewart as L’Osservatore Romano is to run a hit piece on the pope.
The hacks have a special love for Stewart because he’s their id. They don’t just think he’s funny, they thrill to his every sarcastic quip. They wish they could get away with being so one-sided, snarky and dismissive.
They wish they could skip over all the boring phone calls and the due diligence and the pretend fairness and just blurt out to their ideological enemies in Stewart style, “What the f–k is wrong with you?”
As Smith writes, “Brian Williams has become a joke for telling lies, but Jon Stewart is a liar for the way he told jokes.”