The Daily Show’s missed opportunity

Like thousands of my fellow nerd-geek-politicos, I’ve been watching the post-election situation in Iran unfold via multiple channels, but most consistently on Twitter. It’s not just that the platform lets us watch — in real time — as protesters organize and report information. It’s also a tremendous source of information about what’s being written off of Twitter.  True to form, folks pass around links to deeper analysis and criticism, making Twitter — and the #iranelection hashtag — the most vital and current source for both breaking news and analysis of the Iran situation.

Twitter, of course, is filling the void left by cable news and other forms of traditional media.  I explored that idea a bit in a post on the Save the Internet blog, but I also was disappointed by another, less traditional news source.

Last night I tuned into to the Daily Show expecting to see an echo of this criticism.  Isn’t this what Jon Stewart is for, to skewer the media to which he’s built a career playing the evil twin?

I guess it was too much to ask.  Instead, we got a few pat lines about Joe Biden’s poor use of words (easy target), and more depressingly, a bunch of dumb jokes about Muslim people, going after women in chadors, illustrating an Iranian student as a dude in non-Western clothes, and generally painting Iranians as a people who’ve barely emerged from the 19th century.  Watch it:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Irandecision 2009 – Sham, Wow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

The funny thing is, this whole episode has shown a lot people, including me, what a uniquely modern place Iran is.  Check out the street art that’s showing up in Tehran, including a little dude holding a picture frame, who’s apparently everywhere.

And have you noticed how well-dressed the young Iranian men are?  They look like they’re all wearing Diesel jeans and Armani t-shirts.  Maybe next time the Daily Show won’t have to resort to this kind of crass stereotyping to make its point.

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