Fake News Beats The Real Thing In a Laugher

Serious news types regularly bemoan the younger generation’s new habits — “They get their news from things like The Daily Show!” Horrors!

Pretty good source, I’d say. It only took the Good Grey New York Times five days to catch up with Jon Stewart. A week ago, Hillary Clinton hit all the network Sunday talk shows in a regal romp through somnolent traditional journalists feeding her cues for clumps of her stump speech. But she regularly, on every show, erupted in eerie laughter at some of the tougher questions. It was like Rudy Giuliani getting a phone call from his current wife in the middle of five interviews in a row.

Jon Stewart Tuesday night ran a collage of these laughkeymessages. Seeing them one after another made them look like what I think they were — scripted, calculated attempts to show that Hillary is “human” and “warm” and “has a good sense of humor.”

This Sunday’sNYTimes has a story about the laughs. Five days after Jon Stewart took the trouble to show his audience context, pattern and meaning — something good journalism is supposed to do.

Does it matter if Hillary is now erupting, as Frank Rich writes in a Times piece today, “in a laugh with all the spontaneity of an alarm clock buzzer”? A little it does. How people act, how they carry themselves, gives us a look into their souls, according to historian Edward Gibbon. So rather than carrying yet another story about the horse race of meaningless polls or another round of “he said she said” soundbites about who has enough experience, Jon Stewart gave his audience a look inside Hillary Clinton. And Stewart will regularly, when a politician or government official says today he’s for motherhood, show a clip of him speaking against motherhood a couple of months before. Context. Part of responsibly presenting news.

I’m proud to say I get some of my real news from fake journalist Jon Stewart. Oh, gotta go, my third wife is calling…and she’s laughing.

-Bruce Benidt