A Time magazine poll this week asked “Now that Walter Cronkite has passed on, who is America’s most trusted newscaster?” The results:
Jon Stewart: 44%
Brian Williams: 29%
Charlie Gibson: 19%
Katie Couric: 7%
What scares me more than the fact that the state of journalism is so pathetic these days that court jester Jon Stewart can be the most trusted American newscaster is that 29 percent of Americans actually trust Brian Williams, even after that embarrassingly fawning White House reality show nonsense he hosted recently.
But here’s why Stewart is trusted more than Williams:
Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor, appeared on Monday night’s “Daily Show,” believing, perhaps, that he was there to talk about Walter Cronkite, who died on Friday. But his conversation with Jon Stewart quickly took a turn into not-so-amicable territory.
There was a chill in the air from the moment that Mr. Stewart asked Mr. Williams about how news organizations like NBC seemed to promise favorable coverage to Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina if he appeared on their shows. Mr. Williams wasn’t thrilled. (“What way do you want to go tonight, Jon?” he asked.)
Stewart is the only one holding the powerful accountable, or at least asking the hard questions (if not getting the answers). Except now, the powerful are the water-carrying journalists themselves, leaving it to the comedians to do the job the journalists were once doing.
How do we fix this? Who should be our most trusted newsperson, if not Jon Stewart? I mean, other than the actual newspeople, since they don’t seem to want the job anymore.
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)