(By the way, here is a link to a clip from the show and, thanks to the folks at Slate, here is an MST-ed version with commentary by Slate writers, which is rather amusing...to me, anyway.)
According to this article, the show is the "brainchild" of the guy who made up 24, who complains that contemporary political satire is not "fair and balanced."
No shit, Sherlock. That's because it's COMEDY. Its purpose is not to inform but to entertain. Now, through some fluke, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show have managed to do both. They do dish it out to both sides, though, as anyone who actually FREAKIN' WATCHED EVEN ONE FREAKIN' EPISODE would clearly see. However, it is true that the Daily Show does not dish it out equally; they don't make fun of people unless those people have done something to deserve it. For example, if The Daily Show was doing what "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" was doing, every episode would include a joke about how President Bush's last name is also a word used inexplicably by some people to denote female genitalia.
The Daily Show is fundamentally a parody of news shows; that's how it got started, and even now, up to probably 70% of its bits are not making fun of one political side or another (or any other person in the news, for that matter), but the news itself and how they cover things. This is one reason why "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" is just not funny; it is trying to parody the Daily Show, and a parody of a parody just does not work. It suffers from replicative fading. Moreover, you can't really poke fun at the Daily Show because they're the first people to turn it around and laugh at themselves when appropriate.
In fact, that's another reason why the "1/2 Hour News Hour" is not funny; all it really is is two "anchors" repeating the same talking points that the other pundits on the network keep saying, but in a "fake news voice". This is not satire; it is doing an impression, and it's not even a funny impression. Moreover, their stated agenda is to make fun of liberalism in all its forms, which is just mean-spirited. I mean, making fun of Barack Obama's name...really, doesn't that just reduce us to the elementary schoolyard?
And yet, I find it difficult to come down too harshly on them, because they're obviously trying so hard, and they obviously just don't have a clue how to be funny, nor do they have a clue as to how stupid they look to those of us with the capacity for independent thought. For example, the lead-in to a bit about the new "BO: Barack Obama Magazine" has the female anchor saying, "Gee, [generic male co-anchor name], you sure know a lot about Barack Obama. Where did you get all this information?" Now, the logical punch line would be, "Well, [generic female co-anchor name] I read it on some website and I haven't bothered to verify its accuracy because it says something I would like to exploit for my own nefarious purposes." Because in fact, Fox News did exactly that on January 19th, when it reported an erroneous story that Barack Obama was educated in an extremist Muslim school in Indonesia.
Oh, Fox News, have you no sense of irony? I can only hope that Jon Stewart is going to ask you to meet him at Camera 3 when he comes back from vacation, because all I can do is shake my head at you in pity.
And now, bonus footage of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart commenting on Fox's reporting on the erroneous Barack Obama/madrassah story.
With extra bonus riffing of 24.
"This is huge!"