This video of Jon Stewart taking CNBC to task over the faux populist rantings of one of its reporters is an example of the quality of journalism we should see from all news outlets, but rarely do.
Remember the 2006 Indiana University study that found The Daily Show contains just as much substance as traditional news sources?
Once again, The Daily Show has effectively demonstrated that to produce high quality, reliable journalism, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a global cable news network, newspaper reporter, news show on a cable TV comedy network, or a blogger.
Research matters. Facts matter. Access to power doesn’t matter when you squander it.
In What Battered Newsrooms Can Learn From Stewart’s CNBC Takedown, Will Bunch looks at the myth of access to power:
Great research trumps good access to the powerful: The Stewart piece makes this controversial but critical point in two different ways. For one thing, the story shows how access to the nation’s most powerful CEOs — supposedly the big advantage of a journalistic enterprise like CNBC — isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit when it results in slo-pitch softball questions, for fear of offending the rich and powerful.
And the importance of journalism that relies primarily on its own research instead of what’s said in interviews:
Jon Stewart’s act of journalism — reported, of course, by his ace team 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 their 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” sources.
On The Huffington Post, commenter jbeach goes a step further to explain why media outlets shy away from true journalism:
I think the full scope of the problem is, it’s not just that the pundits don’t know. They don’t want to *find out* because they’ll be forced to conclude that those who run our economy:
a) run it for themselves and don’t care how much it hurts others
b) are basically being bailed out by us because they’ve **finally over-extended** their ability to manipulate the market, and have eroded trust in the entire market as a result.