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Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand: Jon Stewart, Edward R. Murrow and Memory of News Gone Bye
Unformatted Document Text:  Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand 18 was a serious newsman who worked on both radio and television (on CBS) during the early days of its inception. (Clark, 2010) After providing more background on Murrow and Cronkite, the site offered a three- option poll: o No! He’s a comedian who just happens to know politics. o Yes! He tells it like it is just in a funny way. o There are similarities but Murrow may be pushing it. The news site ThirdAge similarly mixed celebrity news with controversy to comment: Jon Stewart has a career adorned with awards and high ratings, and the “Daily Show” anchor received another pat on the back Tuesday when the New York Times compared Stewart to Edward R. Murrow. The comparison has the media buzzing as those on the left congratulate and those on the right become infuriated. (Lander, 2010) Taking the celebrity connection one step further, SpliceToday connected the Stewart- Murrow comparison to a larger, bolder scenario: Not exactly an “I have a dream” moment, but it got everyone from Howard Stern to Oprah Winfrey wondering aloud whether Stewart should make the leap forward from commenting on politics to becoming a politician. Stewart dismissed the idea on Winfrey’s show, saying, “If I really wanted to change things, I’d run for office. I haven’t considered that, and I wouldn’t – because this is what I do well. The more I move away from comedy, the less competent I become.” (Zimmerman, 2010) In all, these different interested parties might not have intended to speak to – or past – each other, but instead to a reader of their broader conversation. However, by reading the full discourse, it is surprising how a single incident can be interpreted and discussed in so many ways, each one serving a specific purpose and vested interest, with multiple boundary adjustments going on simultaneously. Likewise, collective memory served these interests in different ways. For media organizations trying to raise controversy or assert their status as an alternative voice, memory served as a device for creating distinctions between themselves and the mainstream, providing authority to back an argument. For organizations within the media

Authors: Berkowitz, Dan. and Gutsche Jr, Robert.
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Drawing Lines in the Journalistic Sand   
18 
was a serious newsman who worked on both radio and television (on CBS) during the 
early days of its inception. (Clark, 2010) 
After providing more background on Murrow and Cronkite, the site offered a three-
option poll: 
o No! He’s a comedian who just happens to know politics. 
o Yes! He tells it like it is just in a funny way. 
o There are similarities but Murrow may be pushing it. 
 
The news site ThirdAge similarly mixed celebrity news with controversy to comment: 
Jon Stewart has a career adorned with awards and high ratings, and the “Daily Show” 
anchor received another pat on the back Tuesday when the New York Times compared 
Stewart to Edward R. Murrow. The comparison has the media buzzing as those on the 
left congratulate and those on the right become infuriated. (Lander, 2010) 
Taking the celebrity connection one step further, SpliceToday connected the Stewart-
Murrow comparison to a larger, bolder scenario: 
Not exactly an “I have a dream” moment, but it got everyone from Howard Stern to 
Oprah Winfrey wondering aloud whether Stewart should make the leap forward from 
commenting on politics to becoming a politician. Stewart dismissed the idea on 
Winfrey’s show, saying, “If I really wanted to change things, I’d run for office. I haven’t 
considered that, and I wouldn’t – because this is what I do well. The more I move away 
from comedy, the less competent I become.” (Zimmerman, 2010) 
In all, these different interested parties might not have intended to speak to – or past – 
each other, but instead to a reader of their broader conversation. However, by reading the full 
discourse, it is surprising how a single incident can be interpreted and discussed in so many 
ways, each one serving a specific purpose and vested interest, with multiple boundary 
adjustments going on simultaneously. Likewise, collective memory served these interests in 
different ways. For media organizations trying to raise controversy or assert their status as an 
alternative voice, memory served as a device for creating distinctions between themselves and 
the mainstream, providing authority to back an argument. For organizations within the media 


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