Monday, August 25, 2008

What If The Most Trusted Man in Broadcast News Wasn't a Journalist? What does that say about us?

The New York Times' critic Michiko Kakutani wrote an interesting, lengthy article about the most trusted man in broadcast news.

According to the 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, when asked to name the journalist they most admired, Americans picked a tie for No. 4 that included Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper -- who have all spent decades practicing journalists.

But there was one other person who was ranked No. 4 among admired journalists, and one of the interesting things is that he doesn't even consider himself to be a journalist.

You might think he's got to be joking.

But he's not.

He's Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.

What does it mean that Americans selected a comedian as one of the most admired people in broadcast news? For that matter, what does it mean that surveys have shown that people who watch "The Daily Show," a fake news program (whose slogan once was: "When news breaks, we fix it" but has evolved to "We deliver the news first -- before it's true"), are better informed about current events than viewers of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, which is a real news program on a news channel.

What it means is that we've come a long way since Walter Cronkite delivered the news.

It's worth checking out Kakutani's article, "Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?"

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