Jon Stewart and David Letterman: Arrogance of the Media and the Long Goodbye

TORONTO, ON -  SEPTEMBER 7:  Stewart is seen at the Royal York Hotel.
Jon Stewart (of the Daily Show fame) directed and wrot
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 7: Stewart is seen at the Royal York Hotel. Jon Stewart (of the Daily Show fame) directed and wrote a film called Rosewater about a journalist who was detained and tortured in Iran after an interview on American television. The film was shown at TIFF. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

I don't get this...

Why do some people in the media announce months, maybe a year or a year plus, in advance that they will be leaving their jobs on TV? What happened to just finishing your contract (as agreed to) and just going? I don't get it. Why the big fanfare? Is this more of the media and its "me, me and me" mentality?

And now with the announcement of Jon Stewart (and before that, David Letterman), everyone in the media is now (months out) writing about and talking about the departures as though we in the media are very important and that a departure is a big event in the course of human history. It is not. It's two high-paid, talented people who we have enjoyed watching leaving their current TV shows -- and they are not leaving for a year!

It gets worse: They will probably be popping up some place else -- some other show, some other network. That's it. Two high-paid people who entertained us are leaving their current TV jobs. That's all it is... people (celebrities) leaving jobs! But because the media is so self-consumed, viewers of all networks are now saturated with how the media thinks this is so important and has a profound impact on everybody.

Profound impact? I don't think so. People who work emergency rooms, or discover the cure for diseases, or teach skills to others, or create jobs or design computers that change lives etc. have a profound impact. The impact of people on TV is mostly, if not all, transitory. TV people do their thing for 30-60 minutes, people talk about it and then shortly thereafter (24 hours?), everyone moves on.

People on TV -- and especially entertainment TV -- do not change history or change lives. They entertain or inform or provoke debate, and some do all three simultaneously and do it well, but they don't change the course of history.

And as much as many of us in the media wished, it is so rare that we have the opportunity to really change lives for the better. We are sideline people, not players. We put a spotlight on others, the players, hoping they will fix things. It is important to put the spotlight on issues, but we should not over inflate what we accomplish.

Television is not a hard job. I know because I have been doing it for 20 plus years. It is great job. It is fun, challenging and exciting. Those of us who have these jobs are lucky to have them.

This is not to take away from the creative talents of Jon Stewart or David Letterman but rather to put the brakes on some of the silliness of the media. Say something nice (or not nice) about those who leave TV shows and then move on. This endless talk, this hand winging and over analyzing about who is leaving and its over-inflated impact on the nation makes us in the media look really bad... yes, silly and arrogant.

P.S. I confess I am going to miss Jon Stewart's show. Why? Most of all because he would be the first to be making fun of all this coverage of his announcement.