FIVE THINGS I’M THINKING ABOUT TODAY
1. It’s Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Valentine’s Day is 4 days away. Easter is 53 days away. Mother’s Day is 88 days away. Father’s Day is 123 days away.
2. Yesterday’s big media shocks raise a lot of questions.
Let me start with Jon Stewart.
Having just left a job after 16 years, I understand how one can get a little weary. And, when you reach a certain age, you realize there are things you haven’t done that you might like to do.
I suspect that Stewart has reached that point. After a while, I imagine it’s gets harder to find a new and cleverer way to rip on Fox News (although Fox News does its darnedest to give Stewart new material).
But I just wonder why he’s getting out now. The 2016 election seems as though it could be a great source of fresh material, and I’d bet a lot of money that the Republican debate will provide a lot of fodder. Stewart couldn’t wait another two years?
And why on a Tuesday night? His show is Monday to Thursday; it seems as though he would do it one of those nights.
I’m just wondering if there’s more to this than just the idea that he doesn’t think he can devote his full attention to the show.
3. Just throwing this out there to the powers-that-be at Comedy Central: How about picking a woman to host “The Daily Show”?
Samantha Bee, Kristina Schaal and Jessica Williams have all done funny stuff for the show, and understand the format. And I’m sure there are other women working the club circuit or on one of the late-night circuit that old fogies like me don’t watch.
There’s been a lot of criticism that late-night television is a white male playground. And, to be fair, the white males who inhabit it are pretty talented: Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien and soon Stephen Colbert. Comedy Central appears to have done well in giving an African-American, Larry Wilmore, his shot on “The Nightly Show.” Going with a woman might help give late night another cool twist.
4. NBC’s six-month suspension of Brian Williams also had me scratching my head.
That seems like a long time for your marquee player to be sitting on the bench — again, noting that the 2016 election is just starting to formulate.
If Williams’ offense is embellishing tales of what happened to him in Iraq, then any suspension shouldn’t have been for as long as six months.
But six months also tells me there might be more to this than the false RPG matter. Perhaps the other exaggerations and outright falsehoods speculated about in recent days, such as Williams’ reporting from New Orleans after Katrina, are true, and Williams has a serial tendency to create his own truth.
In that case, should Williams ever again be the face of NBC News?
The six months just seems weird to me.
5. General Motors is still in the process of rebuilding its trust with the American public following the 2009 bailout. And that public has been extraordinarily patient, despite the loud critics on the right, even through last year’s debacle involving the recall of millions of older vehicles with ignition problems.
I think the patience is due to the fact that, deep down, Americans want GM to succeed. It’s the home team, or at least one of them, and even if we own Toyotas and Hondas the idea of GM is one we all support.
So the effort of one of the bailout architects to increase share buybacks in order to bolster the stock price is troublesome. GM, at this point, does not need to worry about shareholder value. It needs to worry about regaining the trust of car buyers. The model should be Apple — no company has ever been worth more, and it did so by building products that people love.
If every company focused on that, instead of short-term shareholder gain, life would be a whole lot better. For everyone.