The question of how to report to an often ignorant audience is a serious one. Each network has their own style, and as Jon Stewart illustrates in the above clip, they tend to set their sights on the lowest common denominator. This does the people a disservice. It gives viewers the impression that their ignorance is ok, the norm, or even desirable.
From a ratings standpoint, this makes sense. People who are more afraid of appearing ignorant than being ignorant flock to such shows. They are easily directed and stirred to action. This spreads not only the ignorance, but the desire in other media to appeal to this audience. The result is a saturation of media with dumb content, while creating a divide between between itself and the more intellectual providers that becomes too intimidating to cross.
We should endeavor to provide content that is a bit beyond the average viewer, to encourage them to better themselves, and to give them what they came for: information they didn’t already know.