BPSDB That’s right, Faux News thought Stewart’s coverage was just great, no irony or sarcasm at all.
The sad news is, Fox is right. The Daily Show earned that praise and deserves it, unfortunately.
Once again Stewart acted largely as an echo chamber for a climate story rather than as the insightful wit that cuts to the truth with clever juxtapositioning. Completely absent was Stewart’s trademark of letting a talking head crawl out on a limb, and then presenting some visual or commentary that exposes the lie.
Notwithstanding a couple of cheap shots at Inhofe, which is both too easy and pointless to the story, and affirming that the emails do not topple climate science, which is obvious to anyone with a brain, Stewart contributed nothing new. Instead Stewart just let’s the main claims of the CNN talking head stand. Not just stand, but clearly accepts the claims as stated to be both accurate and true.
Jon, seriously … when Fox thinks you’re doing a great job maybe it’s time to double check just what it is you are doing. Not to say that it’s necessarily proof that you’re screwing up, but it’s sure not a good sign.
I am not asking Stewart to do anything different from his usual schtick; quite the opposite, I want to know why he didn’t do his usual schtick?
Make no mistake, many aspects of this story are too nuanced, complicated, or as yet unresolved to be suitable for The Daily Show to tackle. Nor am I asking The Daily Show to be some sort of news show format. It’s not, it’s a comedy show. But it’s a comedy show that does cover the news of the day, and does so with a particular style … usually.
Elements of the story, particularly the elements covered in the CNN report, did lend themselves to being deflated with the usual Daily Show format. Further, this aired Dec 1st, when all of the information needed to craft a classic Stewartesque puncturing of the wingnut hysteria were easily available. One phone call or two hours of an intern’s time on the internet were all that was required, and yet that’s not what we got.
How could Stewart have handled it? Well, take the “hide the decline” piece. How hard would it have been to follow the talking head with this graph
- there was no temperature decline to hide in 1981, and
- the CRU data is no different from the other data sets, hence obviously had not been tampered with.
Instead of exposing the misleading story, Stewart chose to reinforce it “It’s just scientist-speak for using a standard statistical technique — recalibrating data -– in order to trick you.” He then uses that to segue into helping spread the lie that the raw temperature data from the 1980s has been destroyed, another lie he could have debunked, but chose to repeat instead.
As for the accusations of draconian suppression of dissent, I can easily see Stewart using his standard ‘speaker in the ear’ bit to clarify that:
- the alleged suppression was not of dissenting views, but of work and journals thought to be false, and that
- these works and journals did indeed turn out to be false.
Not only would that have been easy, it would have been standard Stewart style, but it’s not what we got. Instead we got a straight read as if Stewart were some Fox News sock puppet reading the teleprompter … no wonder Fox thought it was a wonderful performance.
So what does this mean? Is it that the facts are so hard to find that even The Daily Show can’t come up with them despite their considerable resources? What does that tell us about how the average member of the thinking public is getting their information?
Or is Stewart & Co. really so clueless on simple climate science that they start to border on Denial? That may seem hard to believe, but since when does Stewart uncritically accept and repeat stories exactly as the appear on popular media? Yet he did so here, and also with his servile fawning over the Superfreaks climate scam.
Regardless of why, this is not good given how relatively influential Stewart is. What next? Inhofe as a special and honoured guest? co-hosting with O’Rielly? Seriously Jon, if you’re not going to give climate stories the standard Stewart lampooning with all of it’s insight, accuracy and wit, please don’t cover them at all.
Much more of this sort of coverage and Glenn Beck will be holding you up as an example for the popular media to emulate, and I am not sure you want to go there …
“Over the 20th century, ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic main development region warmed during peak hurricane season, with the most pronounced warming occurring over the last four decades.” Earth Gauge
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