The Atlantic

What Is 'The Media'? (Jon Stewart Edition)

The former Daily Show host joined his old colleague, Stephen Colbert, on The Late Show to give an indignant rebuke to the American press.
Source: CBS

If the Jon Stewart-hosted Daily Show was media criticism in the guise of comedy, it was a very particular kind of criticism of a very particular kind of media. Stewart and his merry band of satirists, for the most part, aimed their jokes at the bright and broad target of cable TV news: Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. And The Daily Show, itself a parody of a televised newsmagazine, was especially equipped to do that: If you’re going to mock something, you should, at a bare minimum, understand the way it works.

In the year-and-a-half since he left that hosting gig, though, Stewart seems to have taken a much broader view of the American press—and he has expanded his criticism in turn. Nowadays, Stewart simply talks about “the media”: the institution, the looming creature, the plural noun that is generally treated, revealingly, as a

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