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

Jon Stewart lectures reporters on coverage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/25/art.stewart.gi.jpg 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. Go Obama

    Finally Jon, where have you been...oh that's right reporting balanced news. THANK YOU!

    August 25, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. BROOKLYN

    He is right...

    We allowed the media to dictate when, where, who, how and why...

    Sad that our minds are bent so easy... "Gerbil wheels" is exactly what they are...

    August 25, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Jack Nicholson

    We still got two branches of government, and that ain't bad!

    August 25, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Jack

    Right on Stewart!

    Actually CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all feed us with garbage news and stuff that have been engineered to garner high rating. Especially CNN, has forgotten its role in a democratic process is to inform people so that they can make informed decisions and instead it is now too driven by corporate greedy and have lowered the journalism standards in the process. That to me is an unpatriotic act.

    I personally miss Tim Russet, the most objective reporter of our time

    August 25, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. roland

    This is what I am talking about! The Press are just too cossy with Obama because of his race. I believe that if the press do not get hard on him now, the GOP will. If Obama is not grilled by the American people, he will be grillled by the outside world. And that will bring worst shame. Mark this.

    Obama is not ready at all. As a matter of fact, he is a celebrity.

    August 25, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Chipster

    "tedious898," you're spot on! PUMAs are behaving like spoiled brats. Believe me, I'm a Hillary Clinton supported from years before many of them knew her name. But Get Real! Pout all you want but don't vote against you own best interest and especially our country's best interest.

    We cannot afford 4 more years of this incompetence, greed, and abuse of power.

    So, grow up. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up! Vote for Sen. Obama because he will begin the process of restoring our national sanity. John McCain will embrace the insanity

    August 25, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Observer

    Well put, Jon! The 24-hour news cycle really can be a pain as each network tries to outdo the other, and everything is a potential catastrophe in their eyes. Also, you have an endless stream of polls, often contradicting each other, and the networks saying things like, "The latest polls could spell trouble for...(fill in the blank)... in the election." And then it's the other party's candidate that's in trouble the next day.

    August 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. EC

    Biden voted for the Iraq war as did McCain. once again obama showes it all about politics. biden may bring him older white men, who he has had trouble attracting. Biden and McCain are much the same, infact those buddies should be running togeather. How can obama critize McCain on the war when the VP pick held the same "bad judgement", how can he bring something fresh to washington when his VP is a 35 YEAR washington vet ?? It's about history to obama, not governing for the American People

    August 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. bsmall

    I just hope his words will be taken seriously.
    STEWART
    Colbert
    08'

    August 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Danny in Chicago

    CNN – why won't you even post my comment on The Daily Show? Just becaue I put –

    The Daily Show – The most Trust Name in News

    Doesn't mean it should be posted here......am I right? Look at some of the uneducated bogus put on here and here I am trying to atleast be a LITTLE ironic and you wont post it. Are you THAT scared????

    August 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. B.F. Pierce

    My advice would be to not listen to any of the media - just listen to the candidates, consider their positions on the issues, inform yourselves as much as possible, then make a decision.

    August 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Jason, Los Angeles

    Amen.

    August 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    Ironic that comedians are the truth tellers these days, and not the reporters charged with bringing the truth to us.

    August 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. james

    To the writer of the following and those of similar sentiment:

    "Actually I guess that's a good fit for an inexperienced candidate because Obama is a joke in himself"

    You say he's inexperienced, but would you like someone with a proven track record of getting nothing done and having viewpoints that would send the majority of us to financial and possible millitary ruin? Let look at the candidates' experience, but let's also look at their intellect and ability to really grasp the information and substance that is bound to fall upon their laps when in office. Being president isn't as easy as cracking a joke about someone's looks or a quick yes or no answer. There are some extremely complicated issues at the plate here. Let's pick the one with the ability to think through all our possibilities and not just the one being fed to you by others' uninformed opinions.

    August 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Tony

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! And even worse, he's biting the hand that feeds him. And people say John Stewart's smart...

    Over the past five years, John Stewart's ego has gotten out of control. Get back behind the desk and read your jokes prepared by others.

    August 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Agnes

    In this country we have freedom of speech and the censoring of that speech in any form is unamerican. While I agree some reporting is trivialized, it all deserves due consideration. Who are you to judge if some bit of information is relevant to another? If you don't like the reporting then don't watch/ read it. Further there is a very dangerous precedence in stating what may or may not be reported.

    August 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    SAD TO SAY BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IS A TOOL!

    THE MEDIA DESTROYED HILLARY CLINTON; CALLED HER NAMES AND MADE HER LOSE THE NOMINATION!

    NOW THEY ARE TRYING TO PROP HILLARY UP; BLAME OBAMA FOR NOT RESPECTING, DESTROY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND MAKE HILLARY & BILL LOOK LIKE THE QUEEN & KING OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!

    THE MEDIA DID THE SAME THING TO OBAMA – RAISED HIS PROFILE UP; TALKED ABOUT HIS CHANGE MESSAGE.

    NOW THAT OBAMA HAS WON THE NOMINATION; THE MEDIA ARE OUT TO DESTROY HIM; CALL HIM INEXPERIENCE, EMPTY SUIT, DISUNITY IN THE PARTY....FOR GOODNESS SAKE; THIS MAN IS A LAWYER AND A SENATOR.

    GEORGE BUSH IS THE MOST UNINTELLIGLE AND UNEDUCATED PRESIDENT AMERICA HAS EVER HAD!

    THE MEDIA CAN'T ASK QUESTIONS OF McCAIN BECAUSE THE SAY, OH HE IS A POW AND GUESS WHAT THEY DID TO NY TIMES WHEN YOU START ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS LOBBYIST RELATIONSHIP......

    THE MEDIA USE ALL OF US AMERICANS AS A TOOL....

    THE MEDIA DONT DISCUSS ISSUES; THEY DISCUSS CONTROVERSIES AND THE MOST NEGATIVE ADS; PARIS & BRITNEY!

    THE MEDIA TALK ABOUT WHO OWN HOW MANY HOUSES...

    THE MEDIA STIR UP FABRICATED FIGTH BETWEEN OBAMA AND HILLARY & CLINTON IN BETWEEN

    AND GUESS WHAT; SOME FOOLISH AMERICANS JUST SWALLOW IT ALL; HOOK, LINE AND SINKER!

    NO WONDER AMERICA IS A MESS TODAY – WE HAVE A PRESIDENT CALLED GEORGE BUSH WHO DESTROYED OUR ECONOMIC LIFES AND STARTED AN UNJUST WAR!

    YES, THE MEDIA WILL MAKE YOU VOTE FOR MORE YEARS OF GEORGE BUSH!

    ASK QUESTIONS AND VOTE FOR A REASON, NOT TO SPITE THE OTHER GUY BECAUSE YOU CANDIDATE DIDN'T WIN

    DO YOU THINK JOHN McCAIN CARE ABOUT YOU SO MUCH....PUHLEASE. HE JUST WANT TO WIN AN ELECTION AND CONTINUE THE REPUBLICAN FAILED ECONOMIC AND FOREIGN POLICIES!

    DONT BE A TOOL FOR THE MEDIA AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. b. Krause

    Jon Stewart for President!

    August 25, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Drewski

    As John Stewart indicated this will be a pathetic election based on the fact that it is being usurped by a large percentage by uneducated, "blogosphere" political neophytes who believe that if you can post and vent an uneducated opinion based on knee jerk mentality versus real facts that you are a politico. Free speech is good but only as good as the substance that spews forth both verbally and on the keyboard. The fact is that this election stands to be the largest travesty to our democratic process since the inception of this country, and the way it looks could make the great depression and WW2 look mute in comparison. The country is at a crossroads and based on the majority of blog posters, they do not get it, do not have any understanding of foreign affairs, economics and the cancerous nature of how our politicians both Democrat and Republican are machinated. Perhaps and hopefully sound minds will prevail.

    August 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. June

    Finally a voice of reason!!!!

    August 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Everyman

    Stephen Colbert for President!

    August 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Big D

    He is absolutely right – the media is horrible. They have completely abandoned their journalistic integrity. They do echo the campaign's talking points without critical analysis (the RNC/McCain points especially, and don't point out the lies and distortions). And another point – they do stir up and exaggerate controversy. All in all, the coverage of this campaign has been atrocious and the media should be ashamed of themselves, especially the cable news.

    August 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Sue A

    Jon Stewart is a national treasure. I find I get more "real news" on Jon Steewart's "fake news" thirty minute show.than I get from hours of CNN. I wish that reporters would watch his show and get some ideas for stories they ought to be pursuing. Frequently I forward information I have learned on the Daily Show to CNN in hopes that they will start doing real journalism. If any of you are so inclined, I would ask you to do the same. If anyone at CNN is reading this please get a clue and start being journalists. PS I'm an old lady.

    August 25, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Nova from NV

    John Steward has his style which is unique. I doubt that all the so-called journalist graduated from big name schools such as Columbia will ever get it.

    August 25, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Fred

    Right on, Jon!!
    I used to be able to watch Wolf, Keith and Chris, but in the last 6 mos. they have become just as unbearable as Fox.
    I am truly concerned that out media and political systems have gone beyond the point of return.

    August 25, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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