When news breaks, you can depend on Jon Stewart to take all the cable news outlets to task for screwing it up.
“For every all-too-familiar American tragedy, you can be sure the news will exacerbate it with yet another Force 5 Wrongnado,” Stewart cried.
Stewart placed the blame on what he sees as the worst offender of the breaking news error cycle — CNN. Specifically, its president, Jeff Zucker, who recently said that after his network made several grievous errors in its Boston Bombing coverage, “we had our biggest audience in 10 years.”
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“Oh my god!” Stewart said. “The lesson they take in this is: no matter how much they betray our trust, we’ll keep coming back.”
“We’re in an abusive relationship with CNN!”
Despite many instances of getting facts wrong and giving audiences speculations disguised as definitive conclusions, cable news continued to do what it does worst, as evidenced by its coverage of the latest American mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Stewart said.
After taking Fox News and MSNBC to task for their mistakes (employing “experienced speculation” to incorrectly guess at the number of shooters and the type of gun used, for instance) — and then comparing the discourse that usually occurs on cable news in general to a masturbating baboon and a monster, Stewart paid special attention to CNN.
First, Wolf Blitzer wondered whether the fact that the shooter might have been wearing a black shirt and black pants said anything about “a possibly motive.” Stewart pointed out that Blitzer’s “best colleague,” Anderson Cooper, is known to wear such an ensemble quite frequently.
Second, Blitzer told viewers that “initial conclusions can obviously be very, very wrong,” but that didn’t stop him from actually saying them out loud. Stewart suggested he employ a “speculation jar” and just make his guesses into that.
“I know you think that saying ‘this could all be wrong’ makes it OK to say it. But it doesn’t make it OK,” Stewart said. “No one else in the world is allowed to operate that way.”
After reminding viewers of CNN’s past breaking news meltdowns, Stewart decided that “this is deliberate. The chaos, the vomit onto the screen, the very thing we thought news organizations were created to clarify is a feature — not a bug.”
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