No other outlet has had more fun with the "death of newspapers" tune than Comedy Central on The Daily Show and Colbert Report. Wednesday night, Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones paid a visit to the New York Times building. NYT executive editor Bill Keller offered himself up as a very amiable, if awkward, straight man:
Jones: Tell me about your love for this creaky old rag.
Keller: It's always been one of the higher aspirations in the business to work for the New York Times. These days, we're a little bit like the last ship afloat; we have all these lifeboats floating around underneath us, and people are dying to clamber on board.
Jones: But your lifeboats are made of paper, right?
At this point, Keller vainly struggles for an answer, but quickly recognizing he'd only dig a deeper hole in his proverbial "lifeboat," he opts for silence. Later, Jones turns the old riddle "What's black, white and red all over?" on its head, telling Keller it's not a newspaper, but the NYT's "balance sheet."
In the middle of the segment, Richard Berke, assistant managing editor for news, is asked to defend the "aged news" that printed in the paper as opposed to the immediate news of online. In what seems like an exchange that could have been written by Lewis Carroll for its funhouse mirror logic, Jones challenges Berke to tell him one thing in the paper that happened "today."
Berke: Nothing here [gesturing to the paper] happened today. But, I think, [there are] several things that didn't happen yesterday.
Jones: So it's even older.
Berke: [Pausing] It depends on your perspective. [Unfortunately, The Daily Show doesn't post its videos with the same immediacy as online news, which Jones showed ample appreciation for. So to see the clip, you'll just have to wait until long after Thursday's NYT rolls off the presses]
By David Kaplan