What ‘The Daily Show’ Writers & Producers Think about the Media

About a week and a half ago, I tweeted: ” ‘Daily Show’ watchers: What are some of your favorite clips? Which ones have you found to be most clever, convincing?” I was planning to write a story about “The Daily Show” and wanted to learn more from readers about the kinds of clips they like.

About five people tweeted back their favorite clips, which included “End Times,” in which “The Daily Show’s” Jason Jones visits The New York Times office; “Marines in Berkeley” and “Trapped in the Closet.”

I collected the links people sent me and then had to turn my attention to more timely stories. But when “The Daily Show” exposed Fox’s Sean Hannity for using incorrect video in a clip of the recent health care protest, I knew there was a greater time peg. I called my contact at the show last Thursday, and he set me up with three interviews on Friday. I ended up talking with two of the show’s producers and one writer. They had some pretty intriguing things to say about journalists and about their strategy for finding the perfect clips that expose the media’s wrongdoings or shortcomings.

There really aren’t many professional media critics out there, so it’s interesting to see how “The Daily Show” is helping to fill this void and holding journalists accountable when they make mistakes. The writer and producers I talked to said they don’t think journalists turn to “The Daily Show” for news. The jokes just wouldn’t make sense, they said, if people didn’t come to the show without some prior knowledge of the day’s political news. I wonder the extent to which people turn to it to get a better sense of how truthful the media reports they’re consuming really are. …

You can read my story here:

“Daily Show” producer Ramin Hedayati spends his morning flipping back and forth between the “Today Show” and “The Early Show,” glancing at major news sites and political blogs and reading The New York Times. When he gets into the office, he scans through news shows recorded on the office’s 13 TiVos and looks for glaring inconsistencies, misleading reports and humorous soundbites.

While watching Sean Hannity’s coverage of an anti-health-care-reform rally at the Capitol last week, he knew something wasn’t quite right. “I remember saying to myself …’There couldn’t be a more beautiful day for this rally.’ Then all of a sudden it went to cloudy footage,” said Hedayati. “Hannity used footage from Glenn Beck’s 9/12 rally to make his rally look bigger … We were surprised that no one else caught it.”

Hannity responded last week to the show’s uncovering of the inconsistency, saying the video switch-up was an “inadvertent mistake.”

While its touts itself as a comedy show first and foremost, “The Daily Show” is also an unabashed media critic and ombudsman of sorts that exposes journalists’  wrongdoings and shortcomings.

How do you see “The Daily Show” and journalism fitting together?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

One thought on “What ‘The Daily Show’ Writers & Producers Think about the Media

  1. I usually dont take the time to leave comments, however it is difficult to find real infomation on this subject today. You did a great job in this post and I am going to take the time to read the rest of your blog. Keep up the great work!

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