Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jon Stewart, Media Watchdog

Monday night, Sean Hannity did a segment on his Fox News show about the weekend rally by some right-wingers in Washington (led by whackjob congresswoman Michelle Bachmann).

Tuesday night, Jon Stewart did a segment about Hannity's segment, showing that, in order to make it look like the crowd was larger than it really was, the Fox News crew had re-used video of another rally that took place in DC two months ago.


Wednesday night, Sean Hannity ended his show by admitting that Stewart was right, claiming the use of that old video was "inadvertent."


Bullshit. This wasn't a simple mistake. It was FNC continuing to do whatever they can to pump up their anti-Obama agenda and make it seem like huge numbers of Americans agree with them. And yet again, it was "The Daily Show" that called them out on it. Jon Stewart and his colleagues do a better job of fact-checking the media than the media do on the actual news.

As Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch wrote,
Jon Stewart understood something that many high-ranking traditional media editors still, sadly, do not understand. That this kind of thing matters. A lot. For Fox News, which has stepped up its partisan cheerleading for the right wing since Barack Obama became president, size -- of anti-administration protests, that is -- matter. And when they run misleading footage to make a conservative rally appear to be much, much better attended than it really was, that accomplishes several things. It fires up the right-wing base -- the people that GOP wants to get rowdy at town hall meetings or flood congressional phone lines. And the bogus report also pressures wavering lawmakers, especially those centrist Democrats looking for any excuse not to support health care reform. Using doctored footage to make a point is not news. It's propaganda, and in America that makes it a serious matter, indeed.