Media Analysis: Content Decisions

A recent interview conducted on The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly interviewing Jon Stewart from The Daily Show grabbed my attention. The original interview is a 40 minute unedited piece that shows the two political personalities jarring on multiple issues. Ignoring political affiliations, the interview provides an entertaining and interesting glimpse of two television juggernauts expressing opinions in a sometimes friendly, sometimes not so friendly environment. The most fascinating part of the interview is that it features the interaction of two people that have had such a large effect on each others shows. Below is the first part to a the five part series. I recommend watching all five parts.

After watching the original, another friend brought to my attention a piece on the Daily Show where Jon Stewart pointed out the differences in the original interview and the one that was actually aired on The O’Reilly factor. Curious, I watched the three piece segment that was aired over two separate shows. Although there were still glimpses of the witty banter and sometimes tense moments between the two, most of Jon Stewart’s better remarks were removed in an attempt to make Bill O’Reilly appear as coming out on top. Below is the first of the three part piece.

It is understandable that the producers of The O’Reilly Factor had it in their best interest to make the host of the show appear the more powerful opponent, but in doing so they removed the lure of the original interview. Rather than showing the two hosts displaying why they are the faces of their networks, the final cut is a somewhat dull representation. This isn’t a negative critique of The O’Reilly Factor (or of Fox News, because I’m pretty sure The Daily Show would have done the same thing), but I’m hoping that in the future, producers make the decision to choose the richer/fuller content than the one that the key demographic would want to see.

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