The Daily Show's Jon Stewart is America's most trusted news anchor and if CNN wants to stay alive, they should put the Emmy winner in charge of their network for a month or so.
Sure, Stewart is comedian but unlike Fox New's Glenn Beck at least he's a successful comedian. And in addition to the fact that CNN's ratings are a joke, there are solid reasons for giving the comic some sort of guest editor status at the Cable News Network. Stewart is in the line of American comedians like Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Bill Hicks who used humor to speak truth to power.
In fact, Stewart's already spoken that truth to CNN, six years ago. Here's what Stewart said to the hosts of Crossfire about their show and their network in 2004 discussing why they are 'bad'.
"It's not so much that it's bad but it's hurting America. Stop hurting America. Right now you're helping the politicians and the corporations. You're not too rough on them. You arere part of their strategy. You are partisan hacks. I'm here to confront you because we need help from the media and you're hurting us."
The audience broke into unscripted applause at that point. They know -- hell, we all know -- that the weak tea theatrical media is hurting America. We don't take CNN seriously because it isn't serious. It's a puppet show. It's pro wrestling. It's the okey-doke.
None of this is a problem for Fox News because despite their smirk and a wink "fair and balanced" BS, we all know what we're getting when we turn on Fox. It's intentionally slanted. That is its strength. It's just unashamedly what it is. Republicans and their media arm Fox News proudly fight to gut Social Security and transfer money from the middle class to the rich by extending the Bush tax cuts. They make no bones about what they are doing.
On the other side, we have gutless cuckolded Democrats who are unwilling to stick their neck out on issues like real financial regulation, single-payer health care or gay-rights. Those issues aren't that controversial in much of the world but Democrats cower from them and they are aided by a similarly gutless cuckolded media, exemplified by CNN, whose idea of journalistic objectivity is to let partisan mouthpieces bicker between commercial breaks.
We live in an age of the one-sided battle and it's hurting America. Republicans with no real agenda are poised to win the midterms based solely on aggressive, self-confident bluster. It's a façade, but that looks like leadership to a lot of people when compared to Democrats who stand for nothing but the faint hope of reelection by being not as bad as the other guys.
The proper role of the news media is to keep people informed about the reality behind media spin and part of the job is to expose both the Democratic and Republican parties for their unique forms of hypocrisy. That's what The Daily Show does so well and what CNN does so poorly. It's time to let Stewart and team shake things up in Atlanta. Open minded, smart irreverence would do a much better job of tackling the news.
Take the August slow news month controversy about the "Ground Zero Mosque". The Daily Show has been absolutely nailing it on the story, including doing the journalistic work of revealing that the supposedly terror funding source behind the Islamic cultural Center is none other than Fox News's number two shareholder.
Meanwhile, CNN covers Glenn Beck's rally.
The feeling that The Daily Show fans often have is "why the hell isn't the real news covering this story this well?" The 'real' news media is losing its audience because there's simply no good answer to that question.
Follow Lee Stranahan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Stranahan