At a breakfast in Denver yesterday, Jon Stewart did his usual excoriating of the political news media on TV outlets other than Comedy Central. He labeled the 24-hour cable networks “gerbil wheels,” and, as a whole, a “slow-witted beast.” He accused them of following already-reported stories rather than hunting down new ones, and creating a “false sense of urgency” about every bit of news. Which, of course, is completely true. If you wake up every morning and read the Drudge Report, you already know what’s going to be on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC all day — regardless of whether it is important or even fresh.
But Stewart also took the media to task for fretting over whether Obama and McCain themselves are, in fact, “funny.” Why would we need a funny president? What could that possibly have to do with running the Free World? It’s when the media itself loses its sense of humor about things like Obama’s bowling skills, or McCain’s recall of how much real estate is in his investment portfolio, that voters blur the line between what’s important and what’s just a brief, humorous diversion. Obama and McCain are meant to use every bit of ammunition against one another, but it’s the media’s job to help decipher what really matters — and it’s not doing a good job. Except for us, of course. We promise to continue our extensive, serious convention coverage and to press for debate on only the important issues, like whether Joe Biden has butt hair on his head, and which aliens are endorsing Obama. Because we want America to vote for the right president this year, damn it.