Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Jon Stewart Says Media Needs to Wake Up and Stop Whining

Jon Stewart Says Media Needs to Wake Up and Stop Whining

During his celebrated stint hosting Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” comedian turned social commentator, Jon Stewart loved skewering media pundits almost as much as he loved taking it to double-dealing and equivocating politicians.


Since his retirement, Stewart has largely been off the radar, especially politically. He’s made a few appearances on late night TV. But it was a recent visit to The Late Show, hosted by Stewart’s former partner in satire, Stephen Colbert, that allowed the former host to reach an old familiar stride. He lambasted President Trump for a string of things … then Stewart shifted targets, taking on the media directly, telling them to stop “whining.”

Stewart continued, alluding to the media shift from reporting the news to the now-familiar format of pundits arguing: “It is time for you to get your groove back, media… let's face facts, you kind of let yourself go a little bit for these past few years. Put on a few pundits.”

And Stewart wasn’t done. He continued his diatribe, slamming the media for its Trump fixation: “Obsessing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about this one guy. 'What's Donny up to? Did he say anything about us? You think he's gonna come on our show? Do you think he even likes us? He doesn't even have to come on. He can just call us! Oh, Donny, please, just let us know you're OK!'”
For his parting salvo, Stewart offered the collective media bit of advice: “Instead of worrying about whether Trump is un-American, or if he thinks you're the enemy, or if he's being mean to you, or if he's going to let you go back into the briefings, do something for yourself. Self-improvement! Take up a hobby. I recommend journalism…”

In this commentary, Stewart spoke for millions of Americans who have had it with partisan media. They want to know what’s going on, and they’re getting sick of having to sift through the nonsense to find out … they’re even losing patience with the version that sells their own preferred brand of media. It’s an interesting development, and this mindset certainly doesn’t apply to everyone … but the numbers who feel this way are growing, and will eventually reach a tipping point.

What happens then? Will the media respond to the consumer ‘want’ for more news and less opinion, or will they be too far gone to change? Tough to say. Things have been building in this direction for a generation, and it won’t be a quick or easy transition to shift away from the highly profitable partisan programming to a more down-the-middle approach.


Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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