This morning I listened to this collection of Fresh Air interviews with Jon Stewart that aired last Thursday, his last day as host of The Daily Show.
My favorite part is when he speaks about the role of media:
I feel like politicians, there’s a certain inherent — the way I always explain it is when you go to the zoo and a monkey throws its feces, it’s a monkey. But when the zookeeper is standing right there and he doesn’t say, ‘Bad monkey!’ — somebody’s got to be the zookeeper. I tend to feel much more strongly about the abdication of responsibility by the media than by political advocates.
They’re representing a constituency. Our culture is just a series of checks and balances. The whole idea that we’re in a battle between tyranny and freedom — it’s a series of pendulum swings. And the swings have become less drastic over time. That’s why I feel, not sanguine but at least a little bit less frightful, in that our pendulum swings have become less and less. But what has changed is the media’s sense of their ability to be responsible arbiters. I think they feel fearful. I think there’s this whole idea now that there’s a liberal media conspiracy, and I think they feel if they express any authority or judgment, which is what I imagine is editorial control, they will be vilified.