Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jon Stewart vs. Magazines

Last year, Jon Stewart went on CNN's "Crossfire" and fired some serious shots at the show and its hosts, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala. That video became one of the most widely-seen clips on the internet (more people saw it online than on TV), and precipitated the death of "Crossfire."

Now, Stewart has lashed out at the print media -- in particular, magazines -- and once again did it on their turf. Stewart was the headliner at a Magazine Publishers of America event, "Laughing Matters: Magazines Celebrate Humor," along with the editors of Vanity Fair, Time, Cosmopolitan, and Men's Health.

Although he was paid $150,000 for his appearance, that didn't keep Stewart from taking aim at the editors and their magazines. According to reporter Myrna Blyth,

He started by taking a few swipes at Men's Health. He asked [why the magazine] was "so gay?" And "Why do the men on your covers always have to be so... glistening?"

Stewart then took a slap at Time for cooperating with the federal prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case. He complained to Time's editor, "One prosecutor asks for some documents and everyone pulls their underwear over their heads, and you turn them over. And not only that, but Newsweek gets the story."
It will be interesting to see if Stewart's barbs send any kind of shockwaves through the magazine world, as they did with television journalism. Probably not, because the MPA event wasn't televised, so there isn't any viral video to spread online. Regardless, if publishers (and advertisers) don't see the problems that Stewart is so good at exposing, they have only themselves to blame.