In addition to being a Godless Communist, a freedom-hating terrorist sympathizer, and one of the only 15 fat nerd comics bloggers who hate everything, I’m also a stoned slacker. So it’s no surprise that I enjoy The Daily Show on Comedy Central. I won’t bore you with the usual accolades; if you don’t know why it’s great, I can’t imagine you’re here reading this.
We watch the 7pm incarnation, which is the rerun of the previous evening’s late night one (the show comes on past pumpkin time for me), which is why I’m late on this one. The guest a few nights ago was Peter Jennings, head newscaster for ABC news and Canadian Propaganda Agent according to my friend Chris. Peter Jennings was on to discuss the news story that is so important, an upcoming two-hour report was necessary to give it the serious in-depth coverage it deserves. That story is, of course:
The Many Lies of the Bush Administration Are UFOs Real?
Yes, that’s right. While bloggers were busy discovering the existence of a fake reporter in the White House Press Pool who only existed to do the job of a “fluffer” (look it up, kids), Jennings’ crack team was getting to the bottom of this whole flying saucer issue.
I applaud host Jon Stewart for not letting this one sit and asking, pretty much flat-out, “With so many important stories going on right now, why UFOs? Didn’t anyone think that maybe the Iraq war was a bigger story?” Jennings’ response: “NOPE!” Because, and this is still whipping my head around in circles, ABC found out that more people want to hear about UFOs than the Iraq War.
Time was when the media reported on stories the people needed to know about in order to stay informed. In our more enlightened age, we find out from the horse’s mouth that what’s really important is whatever the people want to hear about. They don’t want to hear about boring old lies told to manufacture a fake Social Security crisis so that Republicans can get the elderly and the poor to pay for their own screwing over. Who cares if genocide is being allowed to take place in Africa because nobody will act until we can figure out if it’s really genocide or just sorta genocide. Syria, Iran, whatever. Just bomb whoever you want and tell me more about them Martians and their flyin’ saucers.
And then, oh man, it got even better. Then Jennings has the unmitigated nerve, to start cracking on bloggers! Thankfully, Stewart didn’t let that go either, pointing out that bloggers have done a hell of a lot more actual journalism than the networks have done recently. Jennings’ response to that was a condescending, “Oh, I’m just joshin’. They’re a great bunch of kids and I love their stuff.” Then he added: “But I think they confuse the consumer.”
You see, Jennings is concerned about bloggers as a news source because there’s no quality control. You just don’t know who they are, see. You got no way to check their credentials. Never mind that the stock-in-trade of journalism are facts, that a good journalist (professional or otherwise) lets you know the sources of these facts, and you can verify to see if she’s reporting them accurately or not. Unless you can look at the person and say, “Ah yes, I recognize that journalist as someone who is often on my television” you just have no way of knowing. So while you have no way of knowing whether or not a story you read via Daily Kos about Bush canceling a “town hall” meeting in Germany because they wouldn’t let him script and stage the entire event like he does in America is true, you can be sure that with the Peter Jennings Seal of Quality, you’re getting only the freshest, tastiest UFO coverage.
This is just sad. It was especially painful to see Jennings sitting there making an ass out of himself and not even realizing he was doing so. How can he be saying ridiculous things that belie any integrity he’s had as a journalist – he’s a mainstream media reporter! If it doesn’t matter to him, how can it possibly matter to anyone else? Hell, even though Fox only screams Republican talking points, at least they scream Republican talking points about actual current events and not frickin’ UFOs.