August 25th, 2008
03:34 PM ET
14 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. Mike, TX

    Stewart is a comic, a so-so one at that.

    August 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Jack - Des Moines

    Amen John Stewart.

    August 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Ryan

    By the way, CNN, you did NOT break Biden. Just so you know.

    August 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Sean

    The problem is news has become dominated by business. The 24 news channels make tons of money, and since we the people didn't flinch when journalism lost its integrity to businesspeople, we're left with impotent reporters shooting blanks and news channels striving towards marketability. Is it possible to crawl back to responsible and hard-hitting journalism?

    August 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Ben

    John Stewart for President!!!

    August 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. NoMccain

    I think we should leave the jokes to the comedians. The state of the economy and our nations' place in the world is no laughing matter.

    August 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. John in Ohio

    "McCain compares to Bush about as much as Obama does. All you fools that repeat the McSAME mantra over and over are showing what moronic hypocrits you are."

    McCain compares to Bush in voting the way Bush wants 95% of the time, and having a campaign staff full of former Bush campaign staff.

    Nice try, liar.

    August 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Ike , Austin

    I don't know your name (You Know My Name), but I think you are dead-on with your analysis. Are we supposed to be glad that CNN is broadcasting Jon Stewart's contempt of political reporters. If everyone thinks he's asking all the "right" questions, why in the hell is 'goo-gooing' on his show? Comedy is one thing, but standing on a pedastal is another.

    Thank you, Jon, I now will never watch comedy central again.

    August 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Shirley-Ohio

    I ditto everything he said.

    August 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Meghan

    Jon Stewart is the most trusted newsman of my generation. He was right when he told off Tucker Carlson a few years ago, and he is still right. Edward R. Murrow probably IS rolling in his grave; not because of what a comedian said about journalism, but because the comedian is right.

    August 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Butters

    I have a degree in journalism and I couldn't agree more with Stewart. Thank goodness for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Somebody has to call it like it is. And it doesn't hurt that they're both funny either.

    August 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. jimbo

    Is everyone under 21 years old on these comments? Jon Stewart is as much a part of the media as cable and network news with a product to sell and sponsors to keep happy. Commenters' opinions on the overblown accuracy and freshness of this guy is laughable.

    August 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Shirley-Ohio

    John Stewart you da man. Now you should take all these comment and read them on your show or most of them.

    August 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Steve - WY

    I recently read that there is as much actual news coverage on Stewart as there is on the nightly news. Go Jon!

    August 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. John ---> Portland

    "Hi, my name is Jon Stewart. I make second-rate impersonations, and make half-hearted attempts at da-da humor. I'm only really known for taking out Tucker Carlson, which was actually cool, but it was also several years ago. Media does suck, but hey, it's not like I'm doing anything different. I too work for a corporation and would sell my soul if I was taken off it."

    August 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. MidwestGal


    YES, I miss the old days of Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien.

    August 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that Stewarts opinion. I personally have my own because I am a self thinker, but it doesn't make me newsworthy.

    August 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. MidwestGal

    I am over 21 but Stewart's show is not touted as a news show, it's a comedy show and he'll be the first to admit it.

    August 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Mark G. St. Paul, MN

    Stewart may well be one of the few honest jounalistic voices in the U.S. media.

    August 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Luke in MN

    CNN is almost as bad as Fixed noise when it comes to cheerleading for the GOP. They'll always mention Obama's faults, but never any mention Keating Five, how McCain left his first wife for the beer heiress because he didn't like how his first wife looked injured, or that he flip-flopped to GWB's side on just about every issue! By-the-by, You Know My Name, funny how you're too chicken to reveal your actual name. Hmm. Jon Stewart is correct. The Daily Show and Colbert report look like real news compared to the 24 hour news channels.

    August 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Jeannette, CT

    Many of us don't get our NEWS from Stewart and Colbert. We get THEIR spin on the news. It's the only way we can laugh about something so appallingly pathetic as politics in this campaign, and something as appallingly obsene as the government and governing of the last seven plus years. Someone has to point out that the media seems to love the arguments and infighting more than giving us insights into policy and substance and, oh, say, NEWS. No one has to pay for campaign ad spots on tv. CNN will air the smuttiest fifty times for free and call it news. Stewart offers SATIRE. Satire is funny, but the best of it is spot on right. And Stewart's spin on things has turned out to be right more often than the media's, so why not watch him for his take? He's a he... heck of a lot smarter and more perceptive than the "experts" on CNN, NBC, CBS, or ABC... we'll not talk about Fox, the fair and balanced folks. C-Span to listen to speeches in entirety, PBS and Jon for perception. By the way, David Brooks is NOT a liberal, before someone throws that in my face about PBS. Thank GOD for Stewart and Colbert.

    August 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Stephen Colbert

    WHAT!?! This monkey's uncle gets a whole page on CNN and I get nothing? What has happened to you American?

    August 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Paula

    Thanks Jon! I read these blogs in disbelief as folks rip each other and don't even realize how their chains are being jerked!!
    Obama '08

    August 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. RGB in MN

    When is the MSM going to surface the story about BO's half-brother living on $1 per month?
    Thanks, and waiting.

    August 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Mike

    Did any of you ever even watch his show before Bush was in office..? It sucked and no body cared about it. He can't do comedy. He just makes fun of Bush and other Republicans. When a Democrat is in office, he doesn't have anything to make fun of. I caught a few when Clinton was president... He spent the ENTIRE show trying to make fun of the Iron Chef show, and another time it was a whole show about the life of a guy who cleans up at a peep show.

    If you are a comedian you need to make fun of both parties, not just the one you don't like... The only reason I would want Obama to win is so that all his fans can see how much he sucks when he can't make fun of Bush anymore...

    August 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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