August 25th, 2008
03:34 PM ET
15 years ago

Jon Stewart lectures reporters on coverage

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Jon Stewart met with political reporters in Denver Monday."]DENVER (CNN) – As Comedy Central's "Daily Show" descends on Denver for four days of coverage, Jon Stewart took after the "established" media for getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin when it comes to political coverage.

In a breakfast with reporters, Stewart directed most of his ire at the 24-hour cable news networks, which he called "gerbil wheels," and said the media at-large had "abdicated" to what he called the "slow-witted beast."

He said the never-ending television news cycle creates a "false sense of urgency" and forces reporters to "follow the veins that have been mined," instead of pursuing serious and in-depth reporting.

Even as Stewart shredded reporters for, in his estimation, getting too cozy with and used by political candidates, he readily admitted that candidates flock to his show to attract his much sought after younger audience. "It's just one part of their sales pitch," he said.

Stewart said he found neither Sens. McCain or Obama particularly funny and it was "absolutely irrelevant" which one takes the White House because "the jokes will be there." He dismissed criticism that comedians are having a hard time joking about Obama because of his race and said "the age joke with McCain is somewhat meaningless because it's already trite."

The choice of Joe Biden as Obama's runningmate, Stewart said, was refreshing because of the Delaware senator's large personality and endless possibility for jokes. "Biden is really nice. His style is so effusive and unguarded," Stewart said. "He's emotion plus."

Stewart said politicians in recent campaigns are "animatronic" because all of the "humanity has been managed out of campaigns." He referenced the back-and-forth during the Pennsylvania Democratic primary over Obama's lack of bowling skills.

"It's stunning where this election is going to be decided on," he said. "Or what we allow it to be decided on."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Linda31

    I knew their was a reason I loved Jon Stewart!

    August 25, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Lindsay

    I really love Jon Stewart. Okay, yes, there are times he's very very obviously liberal, but that doesn't stop him from ripping on anything and anyone and telling it like it is.

    90% of the stuff he says, I'm pretty sure it's what everybody else is already thinking but doesn't have the guts to say.

    August 25, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. tedious898

    Yeah PUMA's let's support John McCain...the same John McCain that said "Chelsea is so ugly because her dad is Janet Reno".

    To tell you the truth, if I were Bill , John McCain would have hated seeing me coming. But instead you PUMA's are going to get this guy elected for his wonderful record on the treatment of women.

    You are idiots one and all...just admit it!

    August 25, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |

    Stewart is right.

    vote for the DEMOCRATS

    August 25, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Billy

    MS = tabloid newspapers these days. All of them.

    August 25, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Amanda

    Jon Stewart also said that "as a comedian, a person, a citizen and a mammal" he cannot wait to see Bush out of the White House, and he is right.

    August 25, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. paulie_nj

    Personality and ability to tell jokes, really, those are great qualifications for a running mate. Actually I guess that's a good fit for an inexperienced candidate because Obama is a joke in himself.

    August 25, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Good for Stewart.
    Another thing, did you ever notice, particularly during the 4 to 6am coverage how John Roberts and Kirin what's her name have to add their two cents into every story, political or not.

    August 25, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Is it any wonder that thinking people get their news form Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, two comedians whose journalistic insights show how shallow and 2-Dimensional REAL NEWS has become. THe Fourth Estate is largely responsible for allowing the criminals in the White House to operate without oversight for eight years while these tools followed Paris and Britney around like the second coming....

    August 25, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Jim

    WELL SAID! Can you believe a comedian has a better and clearer head on his shoulder's than half of America!

    August 25, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Realpolitik

    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert ARE COMIC GODDSSSSS!!!!!!! Big Fan right here!

    August 25, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Michelle, PA

    It is stunning, absolutely stunning, how often Jon Stewart is right on the money. Just because journalists are called "Reporters" doesn't mean they have to dutifully report word for word every talking point they get from the campaigns. Might as well refer to them as "Parrots", with a choice of 3 breeds: CNN the Clinton News Network, FOX the 24-hour Neocon Free Advertisement, and MSNBC the Obama Democrat Cheerleader.

    August 25, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Todd

    Jon Stewart, the voice of reason for America

    August 25, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. fa

    Home run, mr. Stewart!

    CNN is guilty on this charge. Innocent until proven guilty???. Youjust have to see the stuf CNN reports as news, and you say gush. The problem the next best option is FOX. I have too much common sense to listen or take FOX any serious.

    I still do have my hope on the likes of Wolf Blitzer and John King... and from an unexpected hook: Joe Stewart?

    August 25, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Ian Wright, Laurel, MD

    Dead on, Jon. The establishment media spends so much time spitting out what has been leaked to them, without any independent work on their part, that watching cable news is pretty worthless. The DNC and GOP should just make their own news channels with openly paid flacks at this point.

    Or, CNN could take what he says as serious advice and do something about the problem... Like that will happen.

    August 25, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Mander

    Amen! I love Jon Stewart. It's actually a pretty sad state of affairs when I'm starting to to rely on Comedy Central for fair and unbiased reporting.

    August 25, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. John in Ohio

    The media coverage of this election has been absolutely atrocious. I'm surprised FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc, haven't yet had to face torch-waving mobs of Republicans and Democrats.

    This year the Democrats are really getting the short end of the media stick, because the media feels it has to create a narrative that the race is much closer than it is, and doctor the polls and the poll results to further that illusion.

    August 25, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Mickey the Fish

    All of the comedians in America will probably vote for Obama, but secretly hope for a McCain victory. I predict that if McCain wins, an entirely new generation of new comedians will, in fact, be sustained by that presidency.

    August 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. CNN Reporter

    He's SO accurate! CNN heads the pack of lemmings running after every scrap of lint from Obama's navel!

    August 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Bruce

    What ever happened to “REPORTING THE FACTS”? There was a time when lies and untruths were reported as being lies and untruths, those days are long gone. Now all we get spewed at us from FOX and CNN are regurgitated LIES that are presented as if they are truth. Both Fox and CNN have gone out of their way to provide FREE political advertising for one of the parties by endlessly replaying the adds propagating the distribution of the LIES.

    Once there were real journalists that reported the facts, now we have willing dupes that seek to invent sensational stories out of every scrap of innuendo. Now every talking head on TV thinks they know more than the people that they are supposed to be reporting about.

    August 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. thank you

    thank you, jon stewart, for summing it up better than i ever could.

    August 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. susie

    Obama could never be like us with his Chicago style politics. He's not even going to let all the states at the convention have a roll call because he's afraid he will lose to Hillary. Shame on him!!!

    August 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Haven't made up my mind yet!?!?

    God Bless Jon Stewart. Maybe he should run?

    August 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. CNN lying about Hillary supporter numbers

    CNN is cherry picking an old poll about the # of Hill supporteres bot voting for Obama.

    The latest New York Times /CBS poll out this morning says 60% for Obama, 30% Not happy about Obama but will vote for him becuase he is the dem nominee.
    Finally, only 5% thats right 5% will not Vote for Obama. Not 27% that CNN is trying to feed all of us.

    CNN is cherry picking polls based on old data and is hyping this. See Chuck Todd's excellenet and fair analysis on
    Its b5% folks, they are hyping this division for their ratings.

    SHAME ON CNN.......guiess Im going to MSNBC for the REAL news coverage. Just lost a viewer CNN.

    August 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. tedious898

    How come the Obama campaign doesn't point out John McCain's record on the treatment of women? Both via his policies and comments.

    You need only one surrogate to remind the PUMA's of his statement about Chelsea to really reclaim those disaffected Hillary supporters. I do not know of a mother or father for that fact that would let McCain get away with that ...much less benefit from it during this particular election. Bill should really talk to John McCain about disrespecting both his wife and daughter....letting the Senator know "Leave my wife and child out of your ads and conversation from here on"

    August 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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