After falling off her turnip truck today, Megan McArdle is pleading for no one to go on the Daily Show because the show is "...good at is making you look like a stubborn moron who couldn't find his backside with both hands in the dark." More on that later.
It's unacceptable to lie to interview subjects — especially members of the public, who probably do not have PR flacks and image consultants to assist them.
This appears to be something of a standard practice for "The Daily Show" when interviewing its ideological opponents. It is not good journalistic practice, which is why so many millennials should take Jon Stewart at his word and not treat the show as news. However, I'm sure millennials will continue to do so, and the show's producers will continue to supply them with dubious antics...
The good news is that the rest of us aren't idiots.
McArdle is just plain wrong. I have been working with the press for over 15 years now. Those fuckers lie, lie, lie, and lie some more. Both flacks and hacks do it. Ironically the latest lie in my world came from a Bloomberg reporter! (The lie was nowhere near the level of "Of course there won't be a hostile audience!" but more of a cheeky omission. I really do think Bloomberg is a decent publication, and I enjoy working with them.)
The worst offenders in my career have been FOX News. I'd explain why but McArdle already does my job for me with this tidbit:
They control the format, the questions and the editing process. There is no way you can win. Your purpose is to look like an idiot on the show, and they have all the tools they need to make sure you fulfill that purpose.
I feel sorry for FOX News bookers because they're just like that guy who won't stop calling you no matter how many times you blow him off. These bookers will tell me everything from, "Your boss would be the only guest" to "There will be no call ins" to "Of course we screen our calls thoroughly" to "We just want to get your boss's opinion." That network must think I'm blind and/or deaf because I tune into those shows to see the exact opposite of what I was told.
MSNBC bookers are also not the best at being that truthful when they're looking for guests, but they're nowhere near as bad as FOX.
The problem isn't the Daily Show, its staff or its content. What McArdle is really taking issue with is how the Daily Show guests, with particular regard to the libertarian, GOP, and conservative sort, are coming off to the audience. (Although the Daily Show claims to be non-partisan, the majority of the people they poke fun at are conservative.)
Here's what is really getting under McArdle's skin. What the Daily Show does is hold up a mirror to their guests convictions to show that bizarre reflection not only to the audience but the guests themselves. The writers don't modify or formulate the opinions of the guests. They don't decide that the minimum wage is bullshit or pharmacists shouldn't dispense contraception to women or that the NFL's regard for women is nonexistent. Daily Show guests have already come to those conclusions, and that's why they're on the show.
Instead of blaming the method, McAardle is better off begging conservatives and libertarians to come up with more realistic public policies and plans to solve this nation's problems instead of saying, "I got mine so fuck you." Her objection is part of an ongoing GOP insistence that their policies aren't the problem but rather the way they're conveyed.
Blaming the Daily Show and "typical liberal media" are easier strategies than modifying a party platform to encompass all Americans not the just the wealthiest.