Having Your Cake and Eating It Too…

So this week’s blog focuses on the extent to which we tolerate criticism from journalists as well as comedians.  Let me explain: I like Jon Stewart.  Yes, I admit it, I watch and love the show.  Still I must admit that I often have a bitter taste in my mouth after watching his shows, as I think something’s not quite right.

Remember when Imus was one radio as a comedian? He’s the old guy with the weird hat who recently caused a stir and lost his syndication as a result of his referring to a college womens basketball team as a “bunch of nappy headed hoes”.  Click HERE to listen to this broadcast.

There were many who proposed that Imus would have been able to “get away” with such language back when his show was considered a comedy show.  However, his show had apparently made the transition to a more political (and objective journalism) venue so he was held to a different standard.  I’m not sure about this line of reasoning, but it does bring up an interesting point about what our society will tolerate when its labelled comedy (and satire) as opposed to genuine journalism (objective newsmaking).

I wonder about the same thing with regard to the Jon Stewart Daily Show.  I don’t think Stewart has used Imus’s sort of language, but he definitely “skirts” the line of what we believe may/may not be appropriate.  Moreover, Stewart seems to have the luxury of both worlds (serious political journalism and comedy) and loves to use the “I’m a comediy show” response when confronted with serious questions.

Watch these two videos in regard to this line of reasoning and then let me know what you think:

Stewart and Crossfire

Stewart and Jim Cramer

19 responses to “Having Your Cake and Eating It Too…”

  1. Anna Wasmund says:

    Wow you bring up a very valid point! John Stewart is SO sarcastic. Most things that he says have some sarcastic underlining and yet his words are very political. I think it is possibly unfair to label him as “comedian” and yet he can hide behind it. He really does have the “best of both worlds.”
    I can definitely see where some distaste can be present in the closing of his shows. He is such a mix of comedy, satire, and serious politics. He cunningly and safely gets the information he wants to be pervaded into society while being completely safe.

    Whether you label anything comedy or not, people hear what is said and dont walk away not taking anything from the conversation.

  2. Katie Francour says:

    I can see where Jon Stewart is coming from where he states that he is very upfront about his show being a comedy, so it can’t be taken too seriously. As long as he keeps that out in the open then I think he is okay. The other shows that do are not labeled comedy people may turn on and take their advice, when in reality they were not being serious. That could turn into a very bad mix-up. Especially when it comes to finances there is no room for comedy. I do think that it is okay for Jon to continue the way he does as long as he keeps it open that he is a comedian and doesn’t try to get people to take him too seriously.

  3. Andrea Nelson says:

    I don’t believe that what Jon Stewart is doing is right. How can you mix such serious topics and issues of America with comedy and not expect people to get confused. What does he want you to think after watching his show that everything was just a joke? I had no idea what was a true fact or his comedy ways. And for him to sit there and yell at Kramer for making jokes about finances is even more crazy when he sits there and makes jokes about everything too.

  4. Loy Vang says:

    Well, after watching these two videos, Jon Stewart seems to be the type of guy that dances around serious questions when asked upon. The show “Crossfire” was the one that bothered me the most because of Stewarts’ lack of seriousness. You can tell that the two guys were frustrated at him and wanted to get out of there. Plus, the central idea that these guys were arguing about lost its meaning along the way. You focused more on Stewarts behavior and reaction more so than the conversation. Now I’m not saying that he’s a bad guy, I’m just saying that the truth needs to be told in a sense where people can actually focus on the situation, not the person.

  5. Kimone Holtzman says:

    After watching the videos it just made me remember why I don’t watch Jon Stewart to begin with. If you don’t know the facts of a topic before you watch him who knows what you will end up believing after the show is over. Both clips reiterate the point that Stewart should be and is a comedian. I don’t see how one man can twist the current hard times of the US and make huge jokes about it. It does not lighten my attitude about the crisis at hand.

  6. Sara Lind says:

    I really do not understand why someone would try to get a reliable source of information from the tv station, comedy central. I can see that why someone could say that he gets the luxury of both worlds, but the fact of the matter is that his show is about political satire. His show involves news but he puts his own opinion on the issues. I think it is meant for the sole purpose of entertainment to those who are educated about current political events. He does not claim to be a scholar of any sort so who is really counting on his show for credible information? Seriously, pick up a newspaper. In fact, I think Jon Stewart is right to point out that people watch the shows on cnn and msnbc to gather the facts because that is the purpose of those shows, but people have to keep in mind that these shows can be misleading since a lot of them seem to be biased. If you want the facts, find a reliable source. I mean, professors require scholarly articles for papers and the such for a reason. Would anyone in their right mind write about what Jon Stewart said on one of his shows?
    At this point, I do not see how he portrayed himself or his show to resemble serious political journalism. It is up to the individual to ensure him or herself that they have the facts and clearly his show will not provide that for you.

  7. Jessica Mesmer says:

    After watching both of these videos, I see your point. Stewart seems to avoid all serious questions when he is confronted and definitely uses the comedy like to get out of taking responsibility. To mix political topics and his comedy people will get confused and start to ask questions. Especially when it comes to the finances in this economy right now. It’s interesting to see how he says one thing and then yells at someone for saying something within similar topics. He really has it made being about to say what he wants and if he is criticized about it just hides behind his ‘comedy’ routine.

  8. Ashley says:

    The biggest thing that i noticed through watching the videos was that Stewart does NOT answer many questions that he is asked. I understand that he is a comedian and what not but when you are asked a question, answer it. Now, i do that that in hard time, like we are currently in, it is nice to everyone once in a while listen to a comedy show or something like that. However, these are some serious issues that our country is facing these days and i dont think that they should be made into jokes. Thats putting it in people minds that its nothin too serious, and we can all laugh about it. I do see however though that he makes it pretty clear that his show is a comedy and shouldnt be taken seriously but still.

  9. Betsy Beck says:

    I think that Stewart has a comical side to him, but at the same time I think that he needs to pick one approach or another. By labeling his show as being a comedy it means that he can get away with really saying what he wants, while escaping the scrutiny from viewers. In a way it is smart on his behalf because he can get his point across with out any reprecussions. I also think that if he is going to take a humerous approach about politics, he should be consistent. It seemed to me like he attacked Jim Cramer about finance entertainment and the entire ordeal was dragged out for far too long. If Stewart was strictly a comedy based show, it should have moved past this topic more quickly. There is entertainment value to the show, but at the same time its watchers should know not to take everything to heart.

  10. Lindsay Ellifson says:

    Once again, this topic is a mixed bag for me…I normally don’t watch Jon Stewart’s Daily Show or take much stock in listening to people who yell/joke fight to get their point across. However, a lot of people do, and they take what he has to say to heart. Because of this, it can impact our youth or people who are more impressionable, but once again, as we are intelligent, “sociological” thinking adults, I believe that we should have the ability to decide what we internalize and what we just take for entertainment television. Everyone has opinions, and not everyone agrees with one another…thus Jon Stewart clashing with other people’s ideas gives us entertainment, along with facts. It’s just up to us to decide what we want to believe.

  11. Lindsay Pethan says:

    Stewart does seem to dance around serious questions. He is very upfront about his show being a comedy. He does not promote it as being a serious show, so I don’t think it is a bad thing that he doesn’t take certain situations all that seriously. If it was suppose to be a serious talk show, then it would be a problem. You have the choice to watch it and take what you want from it. The show clearly pulls in viewers, so it is up to them what they want to take from the show. It is a form of entertainment, and Stewart does that well.

  12. Brianne Coffey says:

    It’s for certain that Jon Stewart is comedian. How could one expect to learn anything relevant about political issues if he avoids the answer or jokes about the topic.

    I think that with shows like the Daily Show and comedies bring up topics that appeal to the average American, but the issues are discussed in a relaxed matter.

    If I want real news, I won’t watch Jon Stewart’s show. However, if I want hilarious bantor and debates between Stewart and Jim Cramer, then I’ll tune in to his show.

    I think the standards of genuine journalism are being lowered by show hosts who would rather give their own opinions. For example, O’Reilly Factor.

  13. Jay Stokes says:

    I am a firm advocate of ‘balance’… like… in everything. Too much of anything is bad. Being exteam democrats or extream republicans, I would argue, is to be EXTREAMLY WRONG. Both parties have good ideas and both have some things that dont work.

    having said that, I think stweart should NOT be criticized for his balance. I think others shouldbe criticized for their IMBALANCE.

    I do agree with Stewart (completely) about the label of the network. He is on comedy central and he is knows that a lot of his material is ‘snake oil’

    Personally, I think that stwewart reports the news-the bullshit+comedy… I dont watch ‘serious’ news… but I would watch Jon Stewart.

    Finally, There IS a difference between the daily show and CNN. Just because the people on CNN are (possibly) jealous of Jon and his freedom. I agree with everything that Jon said on crossfire. MY ONLY CONCERN is that people dont understand that ther IS a differnce between CNN news and comedy central news. :/ I hope that viewers can comprehend the nature of the program as well as the message it is sending.

    the source of any message always needs to be known for its real meaning to be known…

  14. Jacob Johnson says:

    I think that the Imus comments were of a much more serious nature than most anything John Stewart has ever said. I do watch The Daily Show quite often, and never have I heard John Stewart attack a person’s ethnicity. I believe that Imus’ show, as stated, had clearly made a transition to a political program rather than anything associated with humor. Another thing is that Imus has never spent any time covering athletics, so I would like for somebody to tell me why he is discussing anything related to sports. While he may have an opinion, he has zero knowledge of athletics. If he would have actually seen the two teams he was referring to play, he would have seen that there are actually more African American girls on the Tennessee basketball team than there are on the Rutgers team which happens to be the one he attacked. Based on this I think Imus’ comments were a pathetic attempt to get a rise out of people and boost his ratings. As far as John Stewart goes, his spot on a channel called comedy central is clearly geared towards humor. As he said, the show that precedes his on the network is one that features puppets making prank phone calls. I do have a strong stance against Imus because I have heard him say that his show is a humorous and in my opinion it has not been like that for quite some time. Yes 40 years ago his job title was related to humor, now it is not. They are clearly two separate things, and given this, people will take remarks such as his very seriously whereas a show called COMEDY CENTRAL will be given a free pass. After all, half of the networks programming is standup comedy in which comedians make a living at pointing out stereotypes of different races/ethnic groups.

  15. rachel woodford says:

    people need to distinguish the difference between reality and comedy, we choose to watch this type of program and need to realize that since he considers himself a “comedian” anything and almost everything that he is saying is to make us laugh, but when serious subjects are being talked about many people feel that a comedian crosses that line between what is funny and what is offensive if it was to be taken seriously i dont think it would be on a comedy central, he is for sure using his title as a comedian to get out points that are very serious but i think people jst need to take it as it is meant to be funny and not offensive most of the time comedians might now even believe what they are jsut saying rather just want the audience to laugh.

  16. David Hanizeski says:

    I think the idea of John Stewarts show is a lot different, and not in a category like any other on T.V. today. I think that they talk about very serious issues but the main goal is to take the information and beable to laugh and break it down for what its worth. I think Stewart is a reality comedian. It goes along the lines of If you can’t make a joke about everything, then you can’t make a joke about anything. I dont think Stewarts goal is to hurt people but to raise viewpoints on things that people normally dont think about.

  17. Elisabeth Callahan says:

    I love Jon Stewart, just going to throw that out there right away.

    Having watched the video of Stewart on Crossfire I really don’t think Stewart was doing more dancing around the questions then the other two, especially the guy in the ridiculous bowtie. Stewart’s show is on COMEDY central, it is not meant to be the viewers only source for political information. Instead, it is meant to look at the issues from another perspective, a perspective that channels like CNN cannot give.

    I heard someone mention above that Jon has the “best of both worlds” and while that may be the case he also has the worst of both worlds. He was trying to get out a serious message to the people on Crossfire AND all Americans and Mr. Bowtie didn’t take him serious and wanted him to spit out only jokes.

    I think what’s really the sad part is that while Jon Stewart doesn’t claim to be any political scholar and makes it clear that he is comedian, I find myself agreeing with him the majority of the time. While he uses satire to attack political issues, the definition of satire is: to the use of wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to attack the vices and follies of humankind. The political world is no perfect place and Stewart sends a message in a humorous way that something needs to change to make it a little better.

  18. Courtney Harries says:

    I have actually saw the Jim Cramer video a while back, and like then my response is still the same, his comment was so out of order and beyond disreppectful! John Stewart is sarcastic as well, and the reason I think some men that have some kind of position or if they are considered a celebrity think that it is okay if they say anythin over the TV, or on the radio. man=ybe they think they can get away with it and not be punished for their actions when in actuality they cant.!

  19. Kendra Lutz says:

    I completely agree that it’s not fair that John Stewart can sit there and make political statments and when he gets yelled at for it just say “well I’m a comedian.” I agree that he really does have the “best of both worlds”. I think if he is going to make such bold statments he better be ready to get critized for what he says. That’s just how it is.

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