Putting Away “The Daily Show” and Other Childish Things

I used to watch “The Daily Show,” stopping around 2004 when the mockery and one-sided nature of the interviews became too much for me.

I knew enough about the world to know that “The Daily Show” was editing interviews to make people look like idiots. I noticed it first with people talking about traditional values — but I realized that it was the basis for every single sketch, er, interview on the show — of people whose views I shared and people whose views I loathed. Whatever else my faults,…

  1. EJHill

    Not unique. As they say in the production departments of daytime talk shows, “Pick them up in a limo, send ‘em home in a taxi.”

  2. Salamandyr

    Agreed on all counts.

  3. Bulldawg

    Good for Denny.  I am glad he had enough sense to not get suckered in.  Your comments on bullying and mockery are spot on.  The intelligent use of irony and satire (i.e. Swift’s A Modest Proposal) has been reduced to a constant cultural diet in all media forms of mere sarcasm and this is present on the right and the left.  Such a diet has led directly to the loss of civility in the public square.  Meaningful communication, which is the precedent to pursuasion, cannot be made in such a world.

  4. Kay of MT

    I never watched any of this trash from Groucho Marx Show to the View, to the Daily Show. Any show that debases it’s guest, and cast, I found despicable. When a new show would appear would watch once to give it a chance.  I no longer have cable service.

  5. Innocent Smith

    I once had a small argument with an acquaintance after I made an off-the-cuff remark about how John Stewart is biased in his interviews.  This guy – very young and extremely liberal – was indignant, saying that Stewart is 100% fair and objective in his approach.  It only took a few conversations for this kid to realize that I am a conservative.  Since then, virtually every comment I make (political or otherwise) is met with condescension and mockery.

  6. DrewInWisconsin
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.:

    The man who ended up being used by the program’s ace production team, explains how the show invented what they couldn’t get out of him.

    Follow that link, folks. That’s an amazing distortion that The Daily Show pulled. I don’t know what sort of releases they make their guests sign, but I would think that Matt Slick would have a case of defamation of character there if some lawyer was interested in helping him pursue the case.

    This distortion is no different than what NBC did to George Zimmerman in editing his phone call to make him sound like a racist.

    If we don’t make these media outlets pay for their crimes, they’ll keep doing it. Someone needs to bring them down, and make an example of them so no other media outlet would dare to try it.

    AND MAKE IT HURT!

  7. KC Mulville
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.:  Cultural engagement is important

    I immediately jumped at this line. Mollie’s spot on here.

    This isn’t culture. Culture is universal; it involves art but isn’t exclusive to it. It also includes basic social teaching, and the sum total of what society expresses about itself. 

    No, this is a politicized, money-obsessed industry trying to pass itself off as The Culture. 

    At the heart of comedy is absurdity. Even when you resort to mockery, the basis of mocking someone is that they defy logic, or that their beliefs contradict one another and they don’t realize it. When the Daily Show did an interview with Froma Harrop, it worked, because it showed her obtuse self-contradiction. That was absurd, and was funny. 

    But just because other people disagree with you doesn’t make their opinions “absurd.”  When they try to render every opposing argument as “absurd,” they merely display their own ignorance.

    The hubris of the politicized “comedy” industry (Big Mocking) is that they treat all other political arguments as absurd simply because they’re in opposition. Opponents deserve to be mocked because … well … how else can we oppose them???

  8. Misthiocracy
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.:

    I knew enough about the world to know that “The Daily Show” was editing interviews to make people look like idiots. I noticed it first with people talking about traditional values — but I realized that it was the basis for every single sketch, er, interview on the show — of people whose views I shared and people whose views I loathed. 

    When Steve Carrell joined The Daily Show, he was very uncomfortable with the formula they used for interviews.  That’s why he made his character a stereotypically ignorant tv journalist, thereby turning the joke around to make fun of the way journalists attack their subjects.

    I think the moment the show started going downhill can be pinpointed to Carrell’s departure.

  9. Calthaer

    Matt Slick’s pastor, when advising Slick about his prospective appearance on the show, should have reminded him not to throw his pearls before swine.

  10. Western Chauvinist

    I love that you referred to “thou shalt not bear false witness,” Mollie. False witness is the preferred modus operandi against conservatives. Especially against Christians and SoCons. Sometimes it’s due to invincible ignorance, but mostly it’s because, as Prager says, if liberals give conservatives the benefit of the doubt about their motives, they cease to be on the left.

    We can’t oppose President Obama on policy. It must be racism.

    We can’t oppose immigration reform because it incentivizes the hiring of illegals over citizens and encourages more illegality. We must be anti-immigrant.

    We can’t oppose SSM based on the historical, biological and teleological basis of marriage and family. We must be anti-homosexual bigots.

    I’ve often been tempted to shout out this commandment in defense of the Tea Party at my own parish. It’s a sad state of affairs how much distrust and disunity this causes. Truly the work of the devil.

  11. Songwriter
    DrewInWisconsin

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.:

    The man who ended up being used by the program’s ace production team, explains how the show invented what they couldn’t get out of him.

    Follow that link, folks. That’s an amazing distortion that The Daily Show pulled. I don’t know what sort of releases they make their guests sign, but I would think that Matt Slick would have a case of defamation of character there if some lawyer was interested in helping him pursue the case.

    This distortion is no different than what NBC did to George Zimmerman in editing his phone call to make him sound like a racist.

    If we don’t make these media outlets pay for their crimes, they’ll keep doing it. Someone needs to bring them down, and make an example of them so no other media outlet would dare to try it.

    AND MAKE IT HURT! · 1 hour ago

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: The MSM cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Ever. They only have their Narrative.

  12. C. U. Douglas

    The Daily Show and its ilk are strong influences in our culture’s embrace of the Appeal to Ridicule fallacy, mistaking it for legitimate argument.

  13. FloppyDisk90

    I think we should stop giving these shows air and gravitas.  Ignore them.  What’s the typical liberal response to say, for example, Fox News?  They marginalize and trivialize it, “Oh that’s just Fox News.  It’s not really news.”  We should do the same with the Daily Shows of the world yet instead we always rise to the bait like hungry trout.

  14. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    FloppyDisk90: I think we should stop giving these shows air and gravitas.  Ignore them.  What’s the typical liberal response to say, for example, Fox News?  They marginalize and trivialize it, “Oh that’s just Fox News.  It’s not really news.”  We should do the same with the Daily Shows of the world yet instead we always rise to the bait like hungry trout. · 15 minutes ago

    Right. In general I believe that we should be fully engaged with various media. But if the entire game is so corrupt, so rigged, as it is with TDS, don’t play it!

  15. Fredösphere

    The first I ever heard of this kind of thing was the Daily Show’s vile treatment of the comic book artist Bosch Fawstin. Horrible.

  16. John Boyer

    Don’t forget the epic Jonah Goldberg interview for Liberal Fascism. Jonah did a terrific job resisting all of Stewart’s attempts to mischaracterize the book and eventually asks Stewart if he actually read the book. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-16-2008/jonah-goldberg

    Jonah commented here: http://townhall.com/columnists/jonahgoldberg/2008/01/23/what_the_daily_show_cut_out/page/full

  17. Astonishing

    Although I see a bit of it now and then, I would never tune in purposefully. The pieces I’ve seen are rarely funny. The show pleases only those who are ignorant, malicious, or both. Many of its ignorant viewers are young, and the show teaches them that it’s “liberal” (and cool, which apparently amounts to the same thing) to malign those with different opinions without bothering fairly to try to understand those opinions.

  18. Butters

    All taped interviews are perilous.

    1) They control which of your words the viewer gets to hear.

    2) They can narrate the segment. 60 Minutes is notorious for this. The interview is spliced with the interviewers own narration in between the answers. They can craft whatever narrative they like, and keep your words if it reenforces that narrative, or throw out answers that refute the narrative. The only thing constraining them is the need to convey the shallowest veneer of objectivity.

    Think of it like a movie director that films a bunch of scenes and then later edits them into their desired narrative. The most notorious examples of this are the first Palin interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. Palin did herself no favors in these, but they also went out of their way to make her look dumb and unqualified. 

    Rumsfeld had a rule that he never did interviews unless a full video/written transcript were made available (or a member of his staff was allowed to record the full interview).  

  19. Misthiocracy
    Butters: 

    Rumsfeld had a rule that he never did interviews unless a full video/written transcript were made available (or a member of his staff was allowed to record the full interview). 

    Ann Coulter refuses to do any interview that isn’t broadcast live.

  20. Randy Weivoda

    It’s my understanding that Michael Moore has done the same kind of thing in his movies. 

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