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. Dale O.

    Fresh off the Press...Stewart schools CNN...AGAIN!!!

    August 25, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. maurice

    Obama would rather lose then pick Hillary and thats
    what he`s going to do.

    August 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Guess what - CNN is censoring (not just moderating) posts to this discussion. That's frightening.

    August 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Republican for Obama

    Jon Stewart is right. While good reporting remains, by and large network news and cable news have done a marginal job at covering the candidates in a way that demonstrates balance and critical thought.

    August 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Anne P

    Amen to Jon Stewart... call it what it is they are slow-witted.

    August 25, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Staci, LA

    I love Jon Stewart and Colbert. I watch CNN & Fox(sometimes to see what the enemy is plotting) and then I watch my Comedy Central so I can laugh to keep from CRYING over how stupid some people in this country are...please people vote on issues this time and not your foolish pride. The Republicans would never turn on each other the way Dems do...they might not like McCain(which I am sure most of them do not), but they wont let us or the media know...they will go down fighting in the name of RNC. Lets be smarter this time people. I have a four year old daughter and she as well as your children deserve better.

    August 25, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. V

    Jon Stewart is funny...but he's just a comedian on a fake news show. I'm tired of him constantly pushing his pansy, liberal agenda behind the facade of his comedy routine. He thinks nobody will notice because he has jokes about Obama, but they are always the nudge-nudge "laughing with him" kind instead of the biting humor he uses on everyone else (Hillary included). He's using his show's mindless youth appeal to add to Obama's youth vote – come on, he even told the audience to vote for Obama at the movie awards. It's enough to inspire foul man-love jokes, if this weren't on CNN. Just because Jon Stewart is funny doesn't mean that he should share his skewed view of politics. He needs to stick with that he is good at – starring in movies about marijuana.

    For those of you wondering, I'm not a Dem or a Republican....just an Indpendent / Libertarian.

    Oh, and about news channels....yes, Fox has a conservative lean, MSNBC is falling over liberal, and CNN has only one agenda....putting out whatever stories that bring the most viewers. Why? Because viewers = money.

    August 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Brian

    Yes he's a liberal, but a very funny one. But what he said about the media is not that funny, because it is so painfully true.

    August 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Greg

    If McCain wins, America's economy will need a good mortician.

    August 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Jean

    Did you delete my comments????


    August 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Zion

    All of the news media is owned by the same rich, white men, who prey upon the ignorance of Americans. By gosh, it works. Stewart is right.

    August 25, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. xargaw

    I don't watch a lot of CNN. Cafferty is the only one I really like because even when I disagree with him, I know he is being honest. The rest are sucking up the corporate ladder. Blitzer CANNOT interview, King is a GOP man, Crowley is always looking for a manufactured Obama weakness and most of the crew never even bring up the serious foundational gaffes made by McCain. I used to think they made an effort to at least look fair. Not anymore. They have a GOP bias, when they are not covering some totally unimportant gossip.

    August 25, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Debbie Wilson

    Go Jon Stewart! Finally someone that speaks the truth about political coverage! The interest in his influence is evident by just looking at the number of comments it has generated compared to the other ticker items! Hats off to CNN for reporting it, bet the so-called "fair and balanced" network does not!

    August 25, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. HM

    or maybe Clinton/Stewart in 2012!!!

    August 25, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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