Taking Down the Daily Show with Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein

Abby Martin interviews co-founders of Citizen Radio and authors of the new book, #NEWSFAIL, Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein, about the biggest flaws in corporate comedy news and why topics like feminism and climate change are covered so poorly by cable news.

Abby Martin

Abby Martin

Creator at The Empire Files
Creator The Empire Files on teleSUR, Founder Media Roots, BOD Project Censored & Former Host Breaking the Set
Abby Martin

9 Comments on "Taking Down the Daily Show with Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein"

  1. Bill O'Reilly | Oct 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm |

    I like what Jamie like said about all that like stuff. I can really see how he like took like Jon Stewart like down.

  2. marvin nubwaxer | Oct 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm |

    russia today? RT may as well be fox news.

  3. InfvoCuernos | Oct 26, 2014 at 1:59 am |

    Well. that was an odd moment: I just watched the Abbey Martin RT piece about how we need to “humanize” the people who are getting bombed overseas, and then I watch this one where they are decrying Jon Stewart’s “humanizing” warhawks by interviewing them. They really should stagger things like this. This is how the US tromped the old USSR in the propaganda machine. They telegraph their motives so bad, even the dumbies they are targeting can catch on.

  4. misinformation | Oct 26, 2014 at 2:43 am |

    False…dichotomy…must…live…on…Need…right…left…paradigm…for…useless…career.

  5. Roger Mexico | Oct 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm |

    I’m actually old (and nerdy) enough to have watched the Daily Show in its pre-Stewart version (with Craig Kilborn). It was clearly created as an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Onion, and the format was pretty similar–mostly absurdist fake “stories” designed to make fun of common tropes you see in the news media itself. (Kilborn started most shows by saying “And now, the fake news.”)

    Stewart continued with this format. It seems to me that people often misunderstand the central conceit of his routine. He’s deliberately playing a character not unlike Colbert’s–except Colbert’s character is meant to represent an opinion commentator on an overtly partisan network like Fox while Stewart’s character is meant to represent an anchor on a more traditional network like CNN. Colbert plays a satirical version of a person like Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly–Stewart plays a similarly satirical version of someone like Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer. The basic joke is that someone like Cooper or Blitzer has a job where they essentially get paid to explain things they don’t really understand. Stewart’s occasional shit-flipping rage fits seem to be part of this act, designed to show the frustrations of being in this role (a “neutral” or “objective” explainer of things that are often offensive or irrational or just don’t make sense), rather than political editorials per se.

    I think it became a lot more popular mostly because Stewart is funnier than Kilborn, but it got politicized at around the time it switched hosts mainly because of what the media were doing, not because of Stewart. Fox News in particular became a major target because they’re a very easy target if the point of your show is to make fun of journalists who don’t do their jobs very well. Throughout the whole Iraq war, Fox was blatantly just parroting government propaganda, which is the exact opposite of the role that privately owned media are supposed to play in politics. (You’re supposed to be able to use private media organizations as sources of information that can tell you whether the government is telling the truth or not.) Stewart wasn’t originally pushing an anti-war perspective–early on, like around 2002-3, he was keeping up his “the news reporters are just as clueless about what’s going on as the rest of us” schtick. He only started focusing on the war as a topic, and the government’s tendency to bullshit the public about it, when it became clear that the major news outlets were mostly just copy-pasting official government talking points instead of doing any real investigative journalism on what should have been a major news story. THEN the joke became how obvious it was that the government was trying to bullshit the public and how easily the big news networks were apparently falling for this.

    (The underlying point being that we don’t get good investigative journalism anymore, because news networks don’t specialize in it anymore–they specialize in getting the most sensational bits of information out to the public as quickly as possible, regardless of how reliable it is, and they’ve effectively abdicated their role as a filter for what information is reliable and what information isn’t.)

    Obviously this was a politically charged thing to do at the time, but I don’t think Stewart has ever been very interested in showcasing “alternative voices” from outside the political mainstream. (I recall several segments from around 2003 which involved going to antiwar protests, finding the most inarticulate people they could, interviewing them, and then basically going “hey, let’s all point at the silly hippies and laugh” as a punchline.) The joke about Fox, in fact, seems to be precisely that Fox has deviated from the centrist consensus that normally determines mainstream political discourse. He’s not out to undermine the Establishment–rather he’s saying “why is the Establishment so willing to listen to these people who are clearly extremist weirdos?” (And the answer is, they do it for cheap ratings, not because of some political conspiracy.)

  6. Number1Framer | Oct 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm |

    I gave up Stewart and Colbert years ago when I abolished TV. For the time being, I have to say that John Oliver’s show is pretty good at the comedy-news schtick – plus he’s able to be a bit edgier with language and content since he’s on HBO and YouTube. To me infotainment is all comedy and the only question is whether it makes me chuckle or shake my head.

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