Jon Stewart and Fox News anchor go head to head
June 19th, 2011
03:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Jon Stewart and Fox News anchor go head to head

(CNN) – Comedian Jon Stewart sparred with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace over media bias Sunday and argued that "the bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness," instead of a liberal agenda.

When challenged on how he develops his stinging – and persistent – satiric critiques of Fox, Stewart joked, "It's actually quite easy when you feel it. You got to feel it in your soul, you know?"

But Stewart stood up for his "Daily Show" antics.

"Here is the difference between you and I," he said, "I'm a comedian first. My comedy is informed by an ideological background, there's no question about that.

"The thing that - in some respect - conservative activists will never understand is … I'm not an activist. I'm a comedian," Stewart said.

He argued that his own influence is drawn only from the public's own letdown in the media.

"The embarrassment is that I'm given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media does," he asserted.

"There's no question that I don't tell the full story.

"But I don't not tell the full story based on a purely ideological partisan agenda," Stewart continued.

The comedian also showcased his serious side, admitting that he voted for George H.W. Bush because "there was an integrity about him that I respected greatly," and revealing his disappointment in President Barack Obama because, "I thought he understood the corrosiveness of the system that existed, and I thought he was going to do more to blow the system up."

And he denied his own ambition to be a "political player," saying instead, "Do I want my voice heard? Absolutely. That's why I got into comedy."

Filed under: Fox News • Jon Stewart
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    While debating media bias Wallace mentioned that Fox presents a view from "the other side."
    Stewart mocked the remark last night by displaying the Fox motto, "Fair and Balanced."

    June 21, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. Marcela

    One of Stewart's goal's is to point out how ridiculous the media is as well as politicians; may it be republicans or democrats. I agree that he doesn't have to search very far to catch them in their own hypocrisis. Stewart also tries to upscale the values of some members of our societies a little more and take off their blinders especially if they base their views of the this country or the world on what's presented by Fox News or other media organizations.

    June 21, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. Maryann

    @Jon Eaton: John did not apologize. Chris Wallace accepted an apology, but Stewart laughed and shook his hand. He never apologized.

    See how Fox does that?

    June 21, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |

    Jon Stewart is a good comedian and a good person. Chris Wallace is a typical republican – they just don't understand!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Byrd

    Stewart debating Wallace is a bit unfair, don't you think? Stewart has a functioning brain and working mind that he actually uses.

    June 21, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. TM

    And of course Fox edited the tape for broadcast, leaving out the name of a Fox exec that Stewart said might be giving "marching orders" to Fox hosts while AT THE SAME TIME denying that anyone at Fox was giving out "marching orders"

    June 21, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Herbie Walker

    Nobody would accuse CNN of being lazy or repetitive. Such a charge would surely either TURN HEADS or RAISE EYEBROWS as you constantly put it...

    June 21, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. gunther

    Im still trying to figure out why we even have the split in parties, why cant there just be one damn voice. My ears start to bleed everytime I hear, Repulican this, Democrat that. Its wisks me back to the playground in grade school. What it all boils down to is what is best for this country, The fact we are STILL being devided after eveything we have been through as ONE country, makes me want to hurl. There are way to many problems to deal with for all of us to be acting so juvenial, and ripping out each others throats every chance we get. Sadly the only thing that will ever stop all of this is total enialation, maybe the next time around humans will "get it"....

    June 21, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Six companies own 80% of media

    Why did the republcans want to get rid of NPR, because they are independent journalist. By closing the loop and not providing jobs to non-corporate journalist, they control the message getting to us the people.

    June 21, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. Mark Bernadiner

    Stewart demonstrated again and again and again how poor educated and primitive he is regardless of his rich vocabulary. He is typical leftist with big mouth and very little knowledge. He has no capability to connect dots in sequence and provide serious in-depth analysis and logical conclusion. He creates a combination of numerous words that combined have no logical meaning what so ever. He is typical representative poor educated Americans.

    June 21, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  11. Christine

    The difference between Jon Stewart and Chris Wallace is that Jon knows he's a joke- Chris Wallace is a joke but he doesn't know it. That's the whole point of Stewart's show. He doesn't pretend to be the news- he knows he's no Edward R Murrow or Tom Brokaw and I don't think he ever has tried to be. Most media today is a joke-it's sensational, misrepresentational and a farce to say the least. Jon knows that, everyone who watches his show knows that. I mean really. Fox tries to be real news that's what makes it even funnier.

    June 21, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  12. Ancient Texan

    No one said they wanted the president to fail! Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk show commentator, said that he hoped "Obama's Socialist agenda failed".

    June 21, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. TheButcher

    Stewart stretches his comedy around a political point of view, no big deal. Other comedians go the other way. To be honest, I'm suprised there is not a ton of comedians doing this little routine. There is enough comedic material that flows out of washington to keep an army of comedians busy. And who gives a wingnut if a comedian argues with a news anchor.

    June 21, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  14. Gina

    Jim, I suggest you check your facts – Obama served 10 *years* as a state senator, and three as a US Senator.

    June 21, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Mike

    It's somehting to be concerned about when a comic makes more sense than someone who actually reports the news. But then again it is Fox News, the most biased news orgainzation out there.
    Politics has become more about those that control each party and what their beliefs are rather than the beliefs of a party. The Republicans in particular do not care about the average American. The idea that tax cuts stimulate the economy is garbage. Ronald Reagan cut spending to the stated many years ago and now that the states are hurting they put more of a burden on the tax payer. When you cut taxes you cut programs which costs taxpayers more out of their pocket. Our country has been at it's best when both parties work together. I fear those days are long gone.

    June 21, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. JohnM

    Was chris wallace at this show or was it just Jon Stewart, as the story never really tells you what or if wallace said anything? No quotes whatsoever from chris wallace.

    June 21, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Gina

    honestmistake, Rush Limbaugh said it and millions of his listeners agreed. They're Rebublicans. If you don't like that, take it up with them.

    June 21, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. Jeff

    "Jon Stewart and Fox News anchor go head to head", yet there are no quotes in this article from that news anchor (whay isn't his name in the title?). Another example of how the media can slant or tilt one way or the other. At least Jon Stewart, who is not the media, is honest. How did Mr. Wallace respond? Was he cracking up? Was he mad? Was he nonplussed?

    June 21, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. nope

    Mark... Claudia is correct. The GOP said that they wanted the President to fail. They backpedaled a little to what you are saying, but that wasn't the initial claim.

    June 21, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  20. Freedomics

    @ Jim, Texas

    You castigate Obama for lack of experience...

    Please remember that Abraham Lincoln, first Republican president, and undoubtedly one of the three greatest US presidents of all time had only served two years as a congressman (from Illinois) and was very inexperienced in national politics when he was elected president. Like Obama, Lincoln first came to national recognition as a result of just a few speeches. I'm not equating Obama with Lincoln, I'm just pointing out that great presidents don't necessarily have great national resumes.

    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are the real deal. Even some of my GOP friends admit to watching their shows because they are so funny.

    June 21, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  21. aatami

    Jon Stewart's middle of the road "reasonableness" is part of the problem that we are experiencing in this country right now. He represents an outmoded paradigm that is ill equipped to counter the corporate right wing. I do think he's pretty funny though.

    June 21, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. Buster Bloodvessel

    There's a hateful, sniping quality to FOX that makes me wonder how anyone can take them seriously. They make stuff up.

    June 21, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  23. edpeters

    The sad part is that many people laugh more at cable news (yup; CNN/MSNBC/FOX) than they do at the comedians. FOX for instance doesn't get it (they can't see the humor in what they do), maybe it's because they don't allow mirrors in the studios?

    June 21, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  24. VegasRage

    I'm glad John Stewart walks into the lions den and slays a few along the way.

    June 21, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. Freedomics

    Jon Stewart proved his integrity as a comedian by decimating his long-time friend and fellow liberal, Anthony Weiner over the recent Twitter scandal. Jon could have easily ignored or tread lightly on his friend's public failure, but true to his ethic, Jon went all in and ripped Weiner apart. Not only is Jon Stewart a great comedian, he is an objective comedian.

    June 21, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
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