Opinion

Opinion – THE BEN IS MIGHTIER

By now, everyone who’s familiar with the CBS Evening News is well versed in Rathergate. Unfortunately, since CBS regularly finishes a distant third behind NBC’s Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight, “everyone” is really nobody when it comes to caring about who Dan Rather’s eventual replacement (or replacements) will be.

So, when CBS chairman Les Moonves spoke publicly for the first time last week about his future plans for the Evening News, one particular possibility stood out as an ideal option: Jon Stewart.

You see, Moonves isn’t only chairman of CBS; he’s co-chair of Viacom, which owns such cable stations as MTV, VH-1 and, you guessed it, Comedy Central. Furthermore, the sharing of talent between Viacom’s channels isn’t uncharted territory: Ben Stein, for example, may best be known for his Comedy Central game show, but thanks to his political know-how (he was, after all, a big part of the Nixon brain trust), he offers financial advice on a weekly basis on CBS’ Sunday Morning.

So the idea of using Stewart, if only as a correspondent, is not entirely out of the question in Moonves’ eyes. But my question is, why doesn’t Moonves take it a step further?

Using negative descriptions of the current evening news format such as “antiquated” to explain “the voice of God” (in referring to a single-anchor serious) format, Moonves pointed to revolutionizing the news to make it “something that younger people can relate to.”

And what better way to make the evening news relevant to America’s youth than by handing the reigns over to Stewart? Rolling Stone recently featured him on its cover as “The Most Trusted Man in News,” The Daily Show rakes in Emmys every twelve months like it’s Christmas, America (the book) is topping bestseller lists nationwide, and the show’s equal opportunity lampooning is a far cry from a fabricated document about W’s military service used to give someone a connection to the Democratic National Committee.

Sure, news purists may sit with mouths agape at this suggestion, but they can always tune in to ABC’s Peter Jennings or NBC’s up-and-comer Brian Williams. For CBS to make any kind of dent in the Nielsen ratings, though, a drastic change is necessary-one that John Roberts or Scott Pelley just cannot provide (does anybody know who John Roberts or Scott Pelley are, anyway?)

The biggest obstacle would be to find a way to get The Daily Show itself to switch from cable to network, but the concept of airing live in the Evening News’ old time-slot and then re-airing on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. isn’t entirely out of the question.

Of course, a humor format may seem like a giant step backwards, but if you know anyone who doesn’t like a good laugh at the end of the day, well, that’s news to me.

Ben Minkus can be contacted at b.minkus@umiami.edu.

January 25, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Former University of Miami star running back Mark Walton was arrested late Friday on a charge of mis ...

Friday was strange for Gino DiMare. It wasn’t because his whole family went out to the mound at Alex ...

One thing was obvious to Wayne Younger the first time he got his hands on Ladarius Tennison: The ath ...

Though it’s early, UM already has assembled an outstanding nine-member 2020 recruiting class, a grou ...

Three days before they open their season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Miami Hurricanes h ...

UM alumna Alina Mayo Azze, who has covered a myriad of topics during her 37-year career, has been a ...

Happiness and well-being scholar Tal Ben-Shahar is UM’s newest Distinguished Presidential Scholar. ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The University of Miami baseball team opened the Gino DiMare era with a record-setting victory over ...

The University of Miami women's swimming team put together 14 lifetime bests Saturday at its an ...

Game time is 6 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass. ...

The No. 20 Miami women's basketball team will play its second top-five foe in a span of three g ...

Despite earning the doubles point, the No. 15 Miami women's tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.