Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," is quick to stress that his program, though styled after a television newscast, is actually "fake news" played for comedy.
Nonetheless, in a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Stewart was named by 2 percent of respondents as the journalist they admired most. That doesn't sound like much, but no single journalist was named by more than 5 percent of the public, and at 2 percent Stewart was tied with Tom Brokaw, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams.
Does the fact that he is regarded as a journalist by so many people impose any ethical obligations on Stewart -- say, to offer his send-up of the news in an accurate and well-researched manner?
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Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.
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