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Television Media

Daily Show Production Team Nets Creative Freedom 272

Posted by Zonk
from the stephen-colbert-deserves-a-hug dept.
gremlins writes "Jon Stewart, who recently celebrated his sixth anniversary with "The Daily Show" and was a rumored possible replacement to Dan Rathers, has signed a deal which allows his production team, Busboy Productions, to develop televison projects on their own. The deal also allows Busboy Productions to flirt with other networks when looking for a home for the projects. Comedy Central still gets the right of first refusal for any projects created."
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Daily Show Production Team Nets Creative Freedom

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  • by nebaz (453974) on Friday February 18, 2005 @09:48PM (#11719287)
    The Daily Show is often more insightful about the news than the mainstream media. You would probably be better served watching a half hour of the Daily Show than CNN/Fox News, etc.
  • by xgamer04 (248962) <xgamer04@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @09:57PM (#11719332)
    I'd say it's more "+1 Insightful" and "+1 Scary" than "+1 Funny"
  • Daily Show Rocks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:00PM (#11719350)
    The Daily Show is one of the greatest programs currently on American television. Perhaps part of the reason for it's success is that since it's obviously a satirical show, it can press questions many of the other "so-called liberal media" outlets feel intimidated to represent. For example, the Daily Show was one of the first national 'news' programs to publically acknowledge the whole Jeff Gannon [dailykos.com] controversy in the White House that most other media outlets are surprisingly quiet about (basically the White House repeatedly gave a press clearance to a mole, under a fake name, who planted easy questions for Bush to answer, after the heightened 9/11 White House security. This guy w/ the fake name also had access to 'classified' information before it was revealed by either Bush or other staff. Meanwhile actual journalists, like Maureen Dowd [nytimes.com] were consistently refused press passes to White House briefings. This has all been unraveled in the past 2 weeks, like Watergate, with the mainstream press just starting to hesitatingly picking up on it.)

    And of course there's this brilliant tidbit [ifilm.com] where he blasts CNN's crossfire for being theater instead of actual news. The best part is when conservative crossfire host Tucker Carlson tries to ask Jon Stewart why he gave Kerry softball questions when he was on the Daily Show, Stewart responded (paraphrased from memory) "What I didn't realize, and maybe this explains alot, is that CNN takes its queues on integrity from Comedy Central. The show that leads into mine is puppets making crank phone calls."

    Jon Stewart is brilliant, and since the Daily Show has the satirical factor embedded in it, it allows him more freedom than most other media outlets. And ironically in many cases he does a better job at explaining the news. For example, Daily Show viewers tend to be more informed [cnn.com] than viewers of many other programs.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:01PM (#11719357) Homepage Journal
    actually it's better if he's transparent about his political beliefs, that way you know that it's his opinion about things. if it was just hidden, but the stories chosen still with certain bias, you wouldn't figure it out so easily.

    and all that doesn't really matter.. it's not like the anchor could go against his employer(and the team behind the news, after all the anchor just reads them..).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:04PM (#11719370)
    Not too surprising when you think about it. People whatching the daily show do so to get an interesting perspective on things, you may not agree with it - but you watch it from another angle. Many people who whatch network news just take whatever is spoon fed to them. Not surprising that they end up out of touch (considering the news itself is sort of out of touch).
  • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:05PM (#11719374)
    This isn't completely true. You have to at least know what is going on to understand The Daily Show. Fox/CNN are a prerequisite of sorts for many of The Daily Show's jokes.
  • by Surye (580125) <surye80 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:08PM (#11719389) Homepage
    And it's the only show I regularly watch on tv. I think you summed it up nicely.

    (by the way, I do get "real" news, mostly in the form of reading newspapers. However, daily show provides true insight where one many not expect from Comedy Central).
  • by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:09PM (#11719392)
    You mean the Daily Show line "Where more Americans get their news than any other nationality" didn't clue you in that they're just making fun of the system as a whole?

    Have you only watched the Daily Show during the last four years? Stewart has basically been cleverly mocking the hypocrisy of the country's political leaders since the show started. It's been a Republican administration for the past 4 years (and a fully-dominated Republican Senate/House for the past 2 years), so that's where most of his focus goes.

    During the Clinton years there was definitely a slew of anti-Clinton, anti-Lewinski, anti-Gore jokes, etc. But when you have a president like Bush who gives comedians enough material without even trying (along with an administration with policies just dripping with potential for satire), you cannot expect them not to pounce on it.

    For example, I remember back during the Clinton years they basically showed a bunch of clips tacked together of Clinton saying "I did not have relations with that woman ... I did have a relationship with Monica Lewinsky", etc, showing his hypocrisy. Guess what? It was funny then, and his take on the Bush administration is funny now.

    And finally, as Stewart said on Crossfire - he didn't realize that CNN takes it's queues on integrity from Comedy Central. It's COMEDY CENTRAL, a COMEDY channel, not a NEWS channel.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:09PM (#11719393)
    Except, the parent isn't trying to be funny. The Daily Show is, in some regards, better "news" than the crap that comes on after primetime television.

    Their news IS parody of real news, of course, but it's insightful, it's thought-provoking, and they're equal opportunity in their mocking of liberals and conservatives.

    If you saw Stewart on Crossfire, you'd know he takes politics seriously. [Read his book, America: Democracy Inaction [amazon.com] - at $15 for a "textbook," you can't beat it.

  • Re:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:17PM (#11719437)
    But why is it on Slashdot?

    For the same reason that Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek gets covered here... it's what geeks watch.
  • Re:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chuckgrosvenor (473314) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:19PM (#11719440) Homepage
    Crossfire was far from informative or even somewhat useful. Two sides shouting at each other without any rhyme or reason is not debate. Politics maybe, but not debate. Crossfire was part of what's wrong with political discussion in this country. A circus freakshow. The Daily Show is a freakshow, but it doesn't pretend to be "serious news" like Crossfire did.
  • Re:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beakerMeep (716990) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:24PM (#11719479)
    OK, put down the xbox controller and try and think for a minute about why it would be damaging to take a complex, maybe nuanced issue and debate it from two extreme, skewed viewpoints. who stands to gain or lose from such style arguments? (I am not here to peddle conspiracy therioes on you so I will let you decide that for yourself).

    The daily show isn't offensive it's irrevrant. There's a difference. and it's in this irrevrance that jon gained his following -- by exposing the ridiculous and disengenious crossfire style arguments.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:25PM (#11719484)
    Dan Rather was actually good at hiding his political beliefs

    Have you ever actually watched Dan Rather? Especially in the last 5 or so years, he couldn't have been more overtly partisan in both his delivery of the news, and in his editorial/production decisions. I'll leave the pre-election phony document shenanigans out of it - there's plenty of his older material to make my point.

    The difference between him and Stewart is that Stewart is much more direct about his preferences, whereas Rather plays coy about it, while, through his actions shows his (blue) colors.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rooktoven (263454) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:26PM (#11719490) Homepage
    Because it was. (A shitty show.)
  • by randomiam (514027) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:28PM (#11719498) Homepage
    I remember seeing that survey, or online poll or whatever a few months ago too.

    I think that people (willfully) misinterpret that result. That poll in no way implied that 'Daily Show' viewers (myself included) were more knowledgeable on current events *because* they watched DS. Although there's no way for me to know, I suspect that the opposite is what's really happening. In order to apperciate the humor in the show, the viewer has to be informed of current events. So, the group is self selecting.

  • by otis wildflower (4889) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:29PM (#11719504) Homepage
    I think it works best when he's got a writing crew to keep him 'honest' when it comes to covering all sides of an issue. He's not quite so 'fair and balanced' solo. That is to say, he doesn't let his personal sympathies get in the way of a good joke.

    I form opinions issue by issue, rather than subsuming my opinion to one particular groupthink tribal mass or another. Finding the absurdity in any situation where it appears appeals greatly to me, and good satire works when it's honest, telling the truth with humor. For the most part TDS is honest and smart satire, whether it's targeting Bush (I mean, I don't love or hate the man, but it's objectively honest that he can barely string two words together in public speaking.. ) or anyone else.

    Besides, he'll have rightists on as guests often enough, and he's pretty fair. He won't usually go for the easy jabs, as a recent interview with Mike Mills demonstrated.. His interviews tend to be more thought-provoking, given that he'll engage his guests in some serious questioning, and I'd call it 2/3rds BookNotes with only 10% of the dryness.

    I consider TDS mandatory viewing, and I only wish there were more of it.

    I don't think Stewart would be a smart replacement for a network anchor like Rather though, I think he needs a guest to discuss things with, I think he'd do better as a George Stephanopoulous replacement.
  • Uh huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:37PM (#11719550)
    Like, has anyone else noticed that when The Daily Show's correspondents report "from the field," it looks like in-studio video effects? Yeah. Bad in-studio video effects.

    This guy's a little slow

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by /dev/trash (182850) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:54PM (#11719662) Homepage Journal
    he's anti-Bush. That goes over real well here.
  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hastings14 (646760) on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:57PM (#11719673)
    To be a nerd requires the ability to think critically. An sense of humor about the nature of the universe doesn't hurt, either.

    One of the primary sources (possibly the primary source) of critical thinking and humor on TV today is the Daily Show.

    Karma-wise, we're all on the same wavelength....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2005 @10:57PM (#11719674)
    Wow, missed the point award goes to....

    Jon's whole point was "we don't pretend to be news"
    Obviously too subtle for you. At least he's funny.

    Show me a Crossfire fan and I'll show you a psycho.
    You people need to get laid while you still can.
  • by edremy (36408) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:02PM (#11719699) Journal
    There's a long history of using satire to speak unpleasant truths to people who won't otherwise listen. Read up on your Shakespeare (Lear, for example) and you'll see numerous fools who are the only people who can get away with it.

    Jon is our court jester. It's truly sad that you'll see more incisive commentary on TDS than on the major news networks. I've given up on all TV news except TDS- there's no point left to the major news programs anymore.

    The most telling comment I ever saw on TDS was a short clip of a british journalist grilling Tony Blair about something. Stewart's comment was something like "Where can we get some guys like this?" Lord knows the american media has just given up.

  • by tim256 (855256) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:12PM (#11719748)
    For a second there, I thought you were really Jon Stewart like on the Daily Show. But, Jon Stewart is American and they spell rationalize with a z and behavior without the u.
  • by Skreems (598317) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:36PM (#11719861) Homepage
    Damn, dude... you totally missed the point.

    First, whenever someone claims that he takes it easier on democratic candidates, they give examples of A) the worst things he's said to republican types and B) random introductory things like "how are you doing?" that he's asked democrats. They're purposely choosing examples to make it seem more skewed than it really is.

    Second, neither Jon nor any of us have to explain any perceived or real slant. Because guess what: it's a COMEDY SHOW!!! They have NO responsibility to be balanced whatsoever! IF they're being unbalanced, it's because they're playing to their audience -- more of the people that watch their show lean to the left than to the right, I would guess. The fact that people try to compare the Daily Show with actual news in the first place is ludicrous... the fact that during those comparisons people keep bringing up the fact that the Daily Show seems biased is beyond critical stupidity.

    Nobody has ever suggested that the Daily Show should be treated like "real news" as you claim in your analogy to Bloggers. They have no desire to run "real news", they just want to do comedy and satire. None of us want the Daily Show to take the place of a real news source, and most of us are saddened and disgusted that they can compare in any way. It just shows how badly defective our "real news" sources actually are.
  • Re:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Friday February 18, 2005 @11:44PM (#11719914) Journal
    The Daily Show is a freakshow, but it doesn't pretend to be "serious news" like Crossfire did.

    No, The Daily Show is not a freakshow. It's really a satire of all the other freakshows, and rather insightful in that role.

    FOX news, saying the US will be attacked if Kerry is elected, is a freakshow.

    Daily Show, reporting that the planet will explode if Kerry is elected, is biting wit, not a freakshow.
  • by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @12:33AM (#11720201)
    Bush ... and got loudly booed

    He deserves worse.

  • Re:Daily Show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX (665546) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @12:48AM (#11720274)
    "...although I do agree that his show is comedy, for him to play it off as if he doesn't have an impact on how people think about politics was an artful dodge on his part."

    He's never claimed to be anything but comedy. He delivers deadpan frequently, but he directly makes fun of news. The reason why there is irony here is that he, a self-proclaimed (and acknowledged) comedian goes on a supposedly serious news show, blasts them for their practices, and when they try to attack him for journalistic integrity they are left with nothing specifically because he isn't a journalist, but they have confused him for one. They can't make any logical retort at that point because his comedy is more accurate news than their journalism is.
  • by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @12:54AM (#11720310)
    Did you ever play chess against anyone who mirrors your every move? Ultimately, it's a losing strategy, but it's pretty annoying anyway.
  • by demachina (71715) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @01:02AM (#11720351)
    I love the Daily show but.... I unfortunately I understand why I love it, and all the rest of the Blue state'ers probably do too. Its the only American news show, or even fake news show, that people who aren't right wing wackos can watch since Bush assumed his throne, since 9/11 and especially since Bush got reelected. The Daily Show's popularity is almost directly corellated to the rise of Fox News and George W. We all fled to it to escape reality. Some people maybe fled to CNN or ABC but they all turned in to pale echos of Fox News, shameless flag waving after 9/11, their insane rush to war in Iraq, so we had to flee them too so we all landed on the Daily Show. When I tune in CNN I can barely tell it from Fox lately, except maybe Fox has more hard news.

    So we were all happily watching Jon Stewart, havin' a good laugh, and figuring the nightmare would be over in November. America would come to its senses and put a pathetic excuse for a Democrat in the White House, lesser of two evils ya know. He would suck but nothing could be as bad as George W.

    Two problems developed:

    - While were off escaping from reality, the Christian fundamentalists, the neocons, the hawks, Karl Rove and the rest played a deadly serious game to stay in power at all costs, they played hard ball and they won, while we were all off pretending Jon could just poke fun at them, everyone would see he was right and there was no way they could win. BUSHES REELECTION IS ALL JON'S FAULT....WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

    - Somehow the Democratic party nominated the absolute most pathetic candidate they could find, if you went looking for the absolute most pathetic candidate to nominate for President you couldn't have found anybody worse.

    So at this point we are trapped, we have only three options:

    A. Stop watching television or at least the news
    B. Watch the Daily show and have a half hour respite from the insanity that has siezed hold of America. Unfortunately its just escapism, pretending that if Jon makes a joke out of something horrible the White House did today that its must not be so bad, well unfortunately it still is.
    C. Watch the network news and just lose it, and start yelling at the TV,

    "How can you people be so stupid"
    "How did you all fall for that"
    "He is lieing, can't you tell he is lieing, he is really obviously lieing, how did you fall for that"
    "When did CNN U.S. get bought out by Fox News?

    That's pretty much all I did during the run up to the Iraq war. It was driving the family nuts everytime the news came on and I started yelling they are lieing about the WMD's and about the ties to Al Qaida, the RPV's spraying American cities with Anthrax and Saring, and about the "mushroom cloud", just so they can sucker Congress, the networks and the American people in to backing a war no one in their right mind would have backed otherwise.

    Its what I do lately when I see John Negroponte getting appointed head of this new monster of a national intelligence agency and all these politicians drooling as they praise him as a great diplomat and statesman, and all these 9/11 families and 9/11 commission, god bless them, naively giving the right wing the cover they needed to create this monster that makes the KGB look puny, the right wing all the while acting reluctant about it as they salivate about going back to the good old day of the '50's and '60's when the CIA was an out of control rogue agency toppling elected government after elected government.

    This is John "Death Squads are Us" Negroponte [democracynow.org] who was ambassador to Honduras during the Contra part of Iran Contra and the reign of terror of the CIA trained Battalion 3-16 whose specialty was torture and summary executions.

    He has numerous times, under oath said he was unaware of any human rights abuses in Honduras while he was there though death squads tortured hundreds, if not thousands of people, he was briefed on it, he knew about, he
  • Modappeal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @01:34AM (#11720491) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I know, we're not supposed to gripe about moderation, but I think the parent poster is fairly close to right. TDS wants to have it both ways: to be treated seriously by its audience, and at the same time to be left alone as "ha-ha-only serious" satire. Can't have it both ways, kids.
  • Re:Modappeal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by creysoft (856713) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @02:27AM (#11720649)
    I concede in advance that I don't have an extensive knowledge of this topic, but I'll throw my two cents in here anyway. Rest assured, paramedics are standing by with the jaws of life to unjam my foot from my mouth.

    I believe the entire point is that TDS *doesn't* want to be treated seriously by its audience. As an earlier post pointed out, they even said as much in on of their disclaimers. You can say what you want about ulterior motives, but the fact of the matter is they are a comedy show, view themselves as a comedy show, and have never done or said anything to contradict that position.

    People get confused when they see Jon attacking the "real" media, because they don't realize that Jon isn't speaking to them as a journalist. He's speaking to them as a concerned citizen. Something along the lines of, "Look, I run a comedy show, and people still think it's better than your real news. That shouldn't be happening." I think it's time for an illustration.

    Let's say for a moment that a popular TV doctor from "E.R." breaks his leg, and goes to the real emergency room, where he is mistreated by the staff, neglected by the doctors, overcharged for the services, and denied appropriate medical treatment. As a celebrity, he has access to the public and decides to hold a conference, blasting the facility for its poor performance.

    The hospital issues a press release, pointing out numerous instances in the show "E.R." where his character failed in his duties, or where much worse events transpired. They end by saying that if the show can't get it right, he has no right to complain about the real thing.

    Can you see the absurdity of this? The only reasonable response is, "I didn't know hospitals took their cues on ethics from cable television." Meanwhile people like myself, who have little or no regard for "E.R." rail away at detractors by echoing the same arguments used in the press release.

    The point is that The Daily Show is not a news show. Jon isn't speaking as a journalist, attacking his colleagues. He's speaking as a concerned citizen, attacking the people charged with providing him accurate, unbiased information, and failing to do their job. His capacity as a news anchor for TDS serves only to grant him access to the public. To accuse Jon Stewart of hypocrisy in failing his own journalistic responsibilities is every bit as absurd as charging a TV actor with failing in his duties as a medical professional.
  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smidget2k4 (847334) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:00AM (#11720999)
    he's not nessessarily anti-bush, before the bush administraition he poked plenty of fun at the clinton administration. it's mostly whoever is in power gets made fun of (thought Gore and Kerry each had their fair share too). And have you watched the show recently at all? I would say the Bush jokes and the democrats are pussies jokes almsot even out (or are at least getting a lot closer). And besides, when you have an administration as absurd as the Bushie admin, how can you NOT make fun of it? Its just so easy...
  • by JonStewart (663472) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @04:53AM (#11721145)
    Actually, my father was Welsh. But you didn't hear that from me.
  • by Sloppy (14984) * on Saturday February 19, 2005 @06:51AM (#11721412) Homepage Journal
    There's one thing the Daily Show should do, to turn it from a good show into a great one: get rid of the interviews with entertainers, who are just trying to promote their new movie or something like that.

    It just doesn't fit, and I almost always fast-forward through it (and when I don't fast forward through it, I always regret it, because it turns out to be incredibly boring, even if it's Eric Idle). It's never funny or entertaining. Lose it, and the show will improve. Interview authors and politicians instead.

  • by mr100percent (57156) * on Saturday February 19, 2005 @09:17AM (#11721720) Homepage Journal
    I've been watching Jon Stewart for years. Typically, he doesn't hold a guest's "feet to the fire" as he likes to call it. He's not like O'Reilly where he tries to force them to answer. He had Kerry on, and treated him civilly, but he also warmly had on Republican chairman Ed Gillespie and a number of GOP candidates. He even had Bill O'Reilly on, and despite making fun of and criticizing him so many times, was just as civil as when he spoke to Kerry.

    Stewart is nice to all of his guests. He sometimes asks them tricky questions (I remember when he tried to nicely throw Jon Stossel's idea right back at him when it seems apparent Stossel couldn't defend his thesis), but he always asks his audience to applaud the guest, whoever it is. Even Bill O'Reilly, who once insultingly referred to the audience as "stoned slackers" gave him some applause and you couldn't tell Stewart had any contempt for him by the interview.

  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Therlin (126989) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @10:07AM (#11721859)
    I don't care if someone is gay, or sells his body to consenting adults.

    What bothers me is that "somehow", a person using a fake identity and with no reporting experience gets access to White House press briefings to ask the President prepared soft-ball questions.
  • by Dasch (832632) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @10:26AM (#11721922)
    Have you *ever* been outside the US?! Only in America can a liberal be on the left wing...
  • Re:Jon Stewart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interiot (50685) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @01:44PM (#11723148) Homepage
    ACTUALLY... Until the Blogosphere digs up solid evidence of the Cobert/Hitler link, Stephen Colbert's statement on the Daily Show can be considered invocation of Godwin's law, and therefore anyone responding to his statement (outside of intelligence-gathering or fact-checking) is probably violating Godwin's law themselves.
  • by creysoft (856713) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @02:42PM (#11723456)
    Jon admits to a bias and refuses to correct it... but he wants to still correct all sorts of faults he detects in the mainstream media.

    This was exactly my point. Let me rephrase. Do you have a bias? Are you a liberal, conservative, libertarian? Librarian? Unless you're absolutely apolitical, you have some sort of affinity for a particular political party. Now, to use your argument:

    "You have an admitted bias, and you refuse to correct it. But you still assume to attack Jon Stewart for having an admitted bias. When your hypocrisy was pointed out, you say, in effect, 'I'm not a journalist!' To which I say, 'EXACTLY!'"

    Jon Stewart isn't a journalist. He plays one on TV. Your second argument, "So taking his advice about media bias is taking the advice of an arrogant joker." seems to indicate that you don't believe comedians can complain about how crappy the news has gotten. If that's what you really believe, well... I'm afraid we're probably never going to come to an agreement. :-)
  • by mindaktiviti (630001) on Saturday February 19, 2005 @03:33PM (#11723779)
    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."

    - Will Rogers (I think, took it off a 'net source)

    This quotation seems to hit the mark since all of our comedians actually end up making a lot more sense than our politicians and media.

    Bring on the comedian overlords.

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