Jon Stewart vs. Brian Williams: Exiting News Media Grudge Match

Are you confused about why everyone’s up in arms about Jon Stewart’s exit from late night TV? I have an answer for you. But it’s not about him; it’s about how terrible mainstream news outlets have become. The age of investigative journalism and Walter Cronkite’s fatherly ethos are over. Once everyone over the age of 60 dies, that kind of news is done for. If you’re over the age of 60, nothing personal—it’s just a data point. Brian Williams is under 60 and look what happened to him.

 I have felt so much more well informed about what’s happening in the world since I started using BuzzFeed as my primary source for news. Seriously. They’re not paying me to say that or anything. I know most people may think of them as an entertainment site with lots of silly quizzes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and videos about people eating foie gras for the first time (which they are) but they also have a pretty credible “hard” news section too. Did you know they interviewed the president a few days ago? Yes, THE president. Of the United States. Granted, YouTubers did it first, but still.

One of the YouTube interviews was by Hank Green, who is better known for his vlogbrothers YouTube channel and for being the younger brother of John Green, author of young adult fiction novel-turned movie, The Fault in our Stars. The day after he talked with the POTUS, Hank wrote an essay on his interview   responding to criticisms from “legitimate” news outlets on whether his interview was credible or worthwhile.  Did they think that because Hank took a selfie with the president, his questions about healthcare and drone warfare weren’t worthwhile? Here’s the thing: Hank rightly points out how younger people don’t trust “legitimate” news outlets anymore. The median age for viewers of FOX News (not that I’m calling them legit) is 68. For CNN, it’s 60. His argument is that those news outlets have no idea what “journalism” is supposed to be anymore and people under a certain age have more faith in YouTube and BuzzFeed contributors who’ve established a rapport with their younger audience. (Read Hank’s article. He says it more eloquently.)

Since I’ve been relying on “nontraditional” news outlets like BuzzFeed and educated YouTubers like Hank and John (who recently put out a well-researched, informative video on the Boko Haram terrorist group) to not only provide information on what’s going on, but provide relevant context for it, I haven’t felt confused and out of touch. Okay, I haven’t felt AS confused and out of touch. Whatever. The point is, if you don’t understand why people are so upset about Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show, I have just explained it. People trusted him.

In summation, Hank Green hugged the POTUS, “Brian Williams Misremembers” is my current favorite meme, and we can all hope to get all our future late night news from Amy Poehler.