No joke

The journalist in me always bristles whenever someone says they "get their news from The Daily Show" and can't be bothered with ever tuning into a TV network or PBS newscast show or reading a reputable "newspaper of record" or even just checking the top news out at the companion website of such a show or paper.

That's not to say I don't get how funny Jon Stewart is and I certainly can tell he is smarter than most of us. Yup, I've watched The Daily Show a few times. But since I was about 10, I have been so immersed in the news-- nowadays that means trucking's, my hometown's, my state's, my country's and sometimes at least some of the world's-- by the time I watch Stewart's send-up of the news, I've already had enough of the absolute absurdity of much of what goes on in our world that frankly I do not need him to skewer the events and personalities of the day for me. I get it all by my lonesome.


Jon Stewart, an Edward R. Murrow for our times.

Yet I am glad as all get-out that Stewart has woken up a huge chunk of the U.S. population who had become critically news-deprived (for whatever reason) to what they should not only be laughing at, but paying incredibly close attention to, day after day after day.

So not being a regular devotee, last night I missed Stewart going after CNBC talking head and show host Jim Cramer for his contributions to the collapse of our nation's once rock-solid financial system. From what I've read, I wished I hadn't! It appears Stewart was channeling-- for all of us-- the news anchor portrayed by Peter Finch in the 1976 flick Network, who screamed he was "mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Well, I am right with you on your dramatic call-out of the "Mad Money" man, Brother Jon. We should all be mad as hell at what has happened to our financial system and we should expect an accounting from everyone who helped bring it down-- be they politicians who weakened perfectly good regulations, be they greedy bankers and investors or be they-- perhaps worse of all-- journalists who traded in their professional ethics for cheerleading costumes.

In case, like silly me, you missed the big smackdown, click here.

Bonus personal trivia: Exactly 28 years ago today my ink-stained career as a journalist covering trucking was launched, thanks to the late great James E. "Jim" Jones hiring me-- 10 months out of college-- for my first job. And thanks, too, to my first boss and fellow Iona College alumnus, the legendary Bob "Two Animals!" Deierlein, who taught me things I still benefit from today. Yes, that happy day came during the severe recession of 1981-82. And it was also a Friday the 13th.