Where would we be, as a nation, without Adam Chodikoff? Admittedly, the first question that springs to mind when you hear his name might be more like, “Adam Chodiwho?” But check out this fascinating profile that ran in the Washington Post yesterday (hat tip). Apparently Chodikoff’s a top researcher/editor at The Daily Show; he’s been there since they launched in 1996, which I think is longer than any of the current on-air talent. He’s the guy who sifts through the news cycle’s detritus every day, compiling video-clip reels that catch public figures in lies and inconsistencies. Those montages are the show’s bread and butter — the thing that sets The Daily Show at its best apart from mere stand-up, however clever, and takes it closer to the realm of real journalism.

Actually, it sounds like Chodikoff might actually be more rigorous in his research methods than a lot of “real journalists.” Executive producer David Javerbaum, who calls Chodikoff TDS‘s “unsung hero,” doesn’t pull his punches on this point: “We think all of these [TV networks] are really, really bad at what they do. My opinion is they suck at their jobs.” That’s no shock to a hardened media cynic like myself, but I’m impressed to see that point acknowledged (more or less) in as venerable a mainstream outlet as the Post.

Last night’s ep was particularly strong, in my estimation; below is a funny/insightful clip about talking-head idiocy for which, I’m assuming, we can thank Chodikoff. Anyone else have a renewed appreciation for the research that goes into your nightly dose of Daily after reading that piece?