Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Daily Show Shines Mirror On Self-Important News Coverage of Katrina

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is almost always funny. But it’s at its best when it can turn a mirror on those making the news.

Most of the time, that means showcasing the blowhardiness, hypocrisy or stupidity of people in and around the world of politics. But sometimes, the mirror has to be shined on the media.

On the Sept. 26 edition of the Comedy Central classic, host Jon Stewart and correspondent Ed Helms were able to poke fun at the media world, reminding viewers that disaster coverage makes news stars (think former MSNBC 9/11 reporter turned primetime anchor Ashleigh Banfield) and that sometimes news stars think they are the story. (For example, NBC anchor Brian Williams, discussing Hurricane Katrina coverage, was a little self-congratulatory when he told the Washington Post: “We were witnesses, so we drove the story.")

Here's an unofficial transcript of the Daily Show's coverage:

STEWART: Now we’ve become inured with the site of reporters being tossed about by gale force winds during hurricanes, but since Katrina, a new breed of journalists like (CNN's) Anderson Cooper, have upped the ante in their post-storm involvement, actually participating in search and rescue missions.

CNN. Not the most popular cable news channel. But the customer service: outstanding.

Now, Cooper was good. But he barely broke a sweat. Still a distracting whiff of selflessness about his behavior. Is there any way to make a story like that completely about the reporter?

(Cut to footage of Fox News Channel's Geraldo Rivera):

RIVERA: All right here, we are going up, this is the uh, the holy angels rest home. This is an elderly lady. Uh, I’m on the back end of that wheelchair. She’s uh, 76 year old. Her first name is Audrey. She resisted going until we could find her bible.

STEWART: Said the woman later, who was that pompous jackass who saved me?

Cooper and Geraldo: compelling. But my heartstrings remain insufficiently tugged upon. Can anyone pull them for me?

(Shot of CNN’s Miles O’Brien, above the banner “Dog Rescue”):

O’BRIEN: There’s a puppy in there. Come here little puppy. Come here sweetie. Aw, he’s scared but I think he’s going to be ok. We, uh, we will take care of the dog. I promise you that. One way or another. But I’m sure that somebody knows who he belongs to and we’ll make sure the dog gets to his rightful owner.

STEWART: This story has a happy ending. Miles O’Brien was adopted by a nice family in Baton Rouge.

For more on the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, we go to Beaumont, Texas, and Senior Hurricane Analyst Ed Helms. Ed thanks for joining us.

HELMS: Jon, Jon, there is no easy way to draw the line ...

STEWART: Ed, Ed, I’m sorry, Ed, Ed ...

HELMS: What?

STEWART: Are you carrying a person?

HELMS: Yes I am, Jon. It’s a resident of Beaumont that I found wandering the street after the hurricane. I had no choice but to help. After all, I’m a reporter second, but a human being first.

STEWART: Yes. Uh, Ed, uh, you said wandering, uh, this gentleman seems unconscious ...

HELMS: Yeah, about that, uh, he kind of got in the middle of a tussle between me and (Fox News Channel's) Bill Hemmer over who was going to rescue him and uh, I think he caught an elbow.

STEWART: All right. But Ed, you know I understand you helping him out, but do you have any word there, at least about the infrastructure of Beaumont. How much damage ...

HELMS: (interrupting) ... come on poochie, come here, come here buddy, come here buddy. Oh boy, Jon, I would like to introduce you to Quigley. From the swirling trash-strewn waters of Hurricane Rita, life emerged from the devastation. It’s a story of hope that’s dog-gone inspiring. Ain’t that right, Quiggers?

STEWART: Yeah, uh, Ed, I think that’s a stuffed animal actually. I don’t think actually ...

HELMS: Stuffed animal? My friend, you need to get down here on the streets. To be out on the ground rescuing people, and animals, and things that look like animals. And then to be ridiculed from the media elite from the comfort of their studios. I just want to tell these stories.

STEWART: Right, Ed, I’m sorry, they seem to be stories though that you’re making, not really reporting. And I really would prefer it if you could give us some information on the actual conditions ...

HELMS: I’m sorry Jon I can’t talk right now I’m orally siphoning flood water back into the gulf.

STEWART: Ed is that ... Ed? Is that going to do anything?

HELMS: Well, hopefully it will get me my own show.


Blogger P'tit-Loup said...

I'm also a big fan of the daily show. Thanks for revisiting that!

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Lol, yea. Geraldo was hilarious. I actually find him the least annoying on Fox News, because he at least realizes he's a joke.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous applegrove said...

Seeing as how the press were the ones who actually got federal government to step up their involvement... I would take offense - except it is the DS. So how could I.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Michael McClure said...

Stewart couldn't shine Howard Stern's boots.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael McClure said...
Stewart couldn't shine Howard Stern's boots.

1:38 PM

And why would he want to shine Stern's boots? I'm sure Howard has somebody who can do that for him...

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:47 AM  

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