Jon Stewart wins, CNN cancels Crossfire
In the middle of October, Jon Stewart took his usual complaints about partisan hackery to his appearance on CNN's Crossfire (transcript here | streaming video here). From the beginning of the discussion, Stewart took aim at Crossfire and other media shows, saying (at first with a smile) that they "hurt America" by making politicians' lives easier by failing to "hold their feet to the fire." The gist of Stewart's complaint was that shows that were purportedly "hard" and "cutting" were really only theatrical performances of talking points and sensationalism. The incident is now famous, and little needs to be said about it. I'm following up that story because it was so popular when we ran it before.
Today CNN announced that they are nixing Crossfire, and dropping their relationship with one of the show's "commentators" (I use that word lightly), Tucker Carlson (who claims that he actually quit months ago). CNN's new President, Jonathan Klein, said that he agreed with much of Stewart's indictments against the media. So sayeth the New York Times:
Mr. Klein specifically cited the criticism that the comedian Jon Stewart leveled at "Crossfire" when he was a guest on the program during the presidential campaign. Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were "hurting America." Mr. Klein said last night, "I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise." He said he believed that especially after the terror attacks on 9/11, viewers are interested in information, not opinion.
Now, few would think that Stewart is the cause for the demise of Crossfire, but his complaints are most certainly a symptom of the media's unwillingness to throw punches. Whether it's Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or forged National Guard documents, too much time is spent discussing discussions about "news." Then, what becomes news are the discussions themselves, and the journalists don't spend enough time asking whether or not any of this garbage is actually correct, or engaging in real debate. I commend CNN for dumping the likes of Crossfire, but they, like most major media outlets, have a long way to go before the thinking public truly respects them again.
- Quoted from Ars Technica