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I watch The Daily Show, I enjoy The Daily Show, and I respect and admire The Daily Show. But I also realize that I shouln't count on them for news, or take everything Jon Stewart says at face value. And I realize that they are only humans, and therefore have faults, and make mistakes, just like everyone else.

Lately, I have seen a lot of people criticize the Daily show, and their role in the media. And while many of the allegations have been very valid (sexism, racism, and ableism etc), there are some allegations that I do not agree with. At all.

 

The Daily show is a part of a racist and patriarchal culture, and some of the things they say and do, are a product of just that. I don't deny that, and I never will. As a woman, and as a progressive feminist, I do notice these things (although I'd prefer it if the people making the allegations, were more focused on the over- all problem we have in our culture, instead of trying to smear and undermine one particular show or figure, but that's whole another thing.) So I won't be talking about that, because that's been done to death.

People have been saying that The Daily show are being 'too tough' on the Democrats, that they're being too biased on the show, or even that they're a part of the mainstream media, and on the same level as people like Glenn Beck.

I disagree with all of these things. Lets take how The Daily show are being 'too tough' on the Democrats, or 'too biased' on the show.

Too tough, too biased, by what standard? What standard are we talking about here? Because if you ask both MSNBC and Fox News fans, you're going to get at least two vastly different answers. Why? because different people have different opinions. Where does that leave the Daily Show, and their reporting? Are they neutral observers? are they truth-sayers?shilling hacks? or are they simply people trying to make sense of this world and its people, all the while having opinions, weaknesses, and biased point of views, just like everybody else, only with an actual outlet to share those opinions? Because that's how I see them.

I don't see them as leftist hacks, nor do I see them as unbiased reporters. I see them as people, comedians, observing the political system, and the state of the media, with their own point of view, and a show that they build and use as an outlet for those opinions. So when they do their show, and people like it, it's not because they preach the universal truth, it's because they're funny, and because a lot of people agree with points they make, and share the outrage that they express.

If you tone down the bias, then you have CNN's so-neutral-that-they-suck reporting, and if you turn up, with no regard for facts or logic, then you have Fox News's fear-mongering-you-will-all-die- reports. Neither of those would make a very funny or truthful comedy show.

While there's a lot of truth in a lot of what The Daily Show does(because they do tend to look at things more logically and objective than either Fox News and MSNBC, imo), they still have opinions, and they still take them into account when they make their show. Because that's what The Daily Show is, at the end of the day; a satire show, full of opinions and bias; and that's okay. Because it is not on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox news, it's on Comedy Central, and it is not advertised as being the truth, it's clearly labeled at a fake news show.

If you think that Comedy Central is somehow on the same level as MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News then obviously you are going to be disappointed. Because it's not. And if you think that The Daily Show is like the shows on the different News channels, then you're in for a surprise. Because they're not like them. And they shouln't be.

And yes, it is a bit of defence, and yes, its not edgy or brave; it's just their job. A job that, at the end of the day, only they are in charge of. A job, that is clearly not labeled as news or truth, and shouln't be taken as such. And of course it still is, because you can't decide how other people view your work, or how much they rely on it. All you can do is do your job, and label it as what you believe it is. And that's what I think The Daily Show is doing. They tell people again and again that they're not a news show.

For some people, it is the news, because they find it more honest, more unbiased, and more funny than the actual news. This is not a problem with The Daily Show; more like a problem with the mainstream media. For me, the difference between The Daily Show, and the mainstream media, is that The Daily Show do not present themselves as news. That's why I like the show.

Does all of this excuse sexism, racism, ableism, or make the show immune to any sort of criticism? Of course it doesn't. Actually, because the show is such a big reflection of people's frustration with society, it may even be more important to notice it when they make these mistakes, and point them out. And although they probably won't respond seriously to these things (proved by the whole sexism-fiasco), we can try. Maybe we could even make it less of a personal attack, and more of a a thoughtful critique, in the process.

They have every right to not listen, just like we have every right to not watch. Because it's their show. I've come to accept that the show is not perfect. And I've come to accept that Jon Stewart is not either. It won't make me stop criticizing it, and hoping that it will get better, but it won't make me stop watching it either. Because nothing is without problems, and no one will ever agree on everything, and if I were to give up on every show or book with faults like these in them, I would never enjoy anything ever again.

And this is my opinion on this, of course, so it's not at all smart or interesting, just a rant I needed to let out. Please view it as such. Feel free to give your opinion on it as well.

 


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While everyone's lost, the battle is won...

July 2012

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