Dan Froomkin on what makes The Daily Show and Colbert Report so popular – and what the media needs to get back to doing: calling bullshit.

Calling bullshit, of course, used to be central to journalism as well as to comedy. And we happen to be in a period in our history in which the substance in question is running particularly deep. The relentless spinning is enough to make anyone dizzy, and some of our most important political battles are about competing views of reality more than they are about policy choices. Calling bullshit has never been more vital to our democracy.

“Fair and balanced” reporting is not repeating what each side’s media guys say. It’s repeating what they say, and then pointing out the facts. Let your readers/watchers know the facts, and when they are being lied to. It’s why blogs have grown so explosively. It’s necessary for democracy to function.

So, media? Start calling out bullshit. Show no mercy. Treat everyone’s bullshit equally. We’ll all be better for it in the end.

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