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. Mike in NJ

    Said it before, I'll say it again:
    Jon Stewart + Stephen Colbert = Mark Twain, 21st century version.

    June 21, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. 2saymore

    Lol, Faux news slogan "Fair and Balanced" UGH! They disgust me.

    June 21, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. Russ139

    I love Stewart, but he's in over his head with the Fox gang. They are masters at creating their own reality, and he tries debating them as an honest broker. At Fox, winning is the only thing. That's the Murdoch mantra, and the employees in the news division have all apparently drank the kool-aid. They are invulnerable to any legitmate criticism because they have the ratings. 'nuff said.

    Stewart keeps attacking Fox for being idealogues, to which they respond, "Well, we have the ratings – you must be wrong." It's an endless, unwinnable argument. Only the public can determine that Fox News is crap, and start tuning out. But the next generation has been weened on entertainment, and Fox will find a way to meet their needs (might even have to go Liberal.)

    June 21, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. gt

    jon stuart leibowitz is part right ... but the media still leans left of center...but he is right ,, there in it to sell soap ... head lines brings in the money...

    June 21, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Not All Docs Play Golf

    That's not really a fair fight. One guy with brains vs. a whole network of nitwits. It's decidedly stacked against Fox.

    June 21, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  6. Trace

    The sad thing is that he is a news organization to many people. The youth of this country is doomed

    June 21, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Arthur W

    I love Jon Stewart and how he pokes fun at FOX and hardline Right Wingers.. And I understand his frustration with President Obama.. I think we Progressive Liberals expected much more from him.. as Stewart said.. But we must acknowledge the tremendous battle that was pushed against him by the right and even some in his own party. The healthcare battle for example.. Major right wing politico's and FOX lied.. and spread fear so strongly it killed any chance to get a good reform bill passed. The Obama administration should have put pressure on the media to explain the bill clearly so Americans fear would be dispelled. We Americans also have to accept our share of the problem. The vast majority of us do not investigate facts concerning our system. Just a little research would go a long way to getting the representation and results we deserve. Finally the media is to blame. They have lost their way as far as journalistic integrity goes. Where is their responsibility in showing the truth? It seems ratings in securing $$$ trumps good journalism. Sad

    June 21, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. James

    Jon Stewart remains one of the most positive aspects of TV; antithesis to FOX news.

    June 21, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. Ronnie

    I think Jon Stewart's most telling line was the one he showed on his show last night. Faux News pretends to be Fair and Balanced but it is very obviously not balanced at all. Not that anyone has been balanced in the news media in many years. It may just be that the 24 hour news networks were a BAD idea as it required a bunch of filler instead of real investigative journalism.

    June 21, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. Bob Bichen

    Jon underestimates himself, or is simply a very humble man. Far better educated and read than his opponents by most indications, he infuriates them by virtue of their inability to push him off of his game. Chris Wallace is certainly not his father in terms of skill or temperment. Jon absolutely manhandled this smug little man, and Wallace's frustration was clear as he tried to rile or anger Stewart without success. I consider Stewart to be a true jewel of the modern age; our Mark Twain. We are fortunate to have him.

    June 21, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. allens

    theae fox people know they are lying. they are out for political points only. they also understand most people are sheep, and allow themselves to be led.

    June 21, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Edwin


    It was not just one radio host. The minority leader for the senate stated after the election that the number one objective for republicans was not to turn the economy around, but to make sure Obama was a one-term president.

    And he never took it back or apologized.

    June 21, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Jeff64

    Jon you are a funny man with a great show. Fox news tends to go over the edge as did Obermann, but hey, these people are passionate about what they do also, which is why they get so, for lack of a better word, nuts sometimes i suppose. Jon, keep up the excellent work, you make my evenings worth even turning the tube on.

    June 21, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. John

    Nothing FOX NEWS does Is fair and balanced. I was all way thought that the news stations was to report the news and not to take side when It come to Politics. But FOX NEWS not only take sides they even pay out money for one sides and hirer them and give them there own show. All of this make FOX NEWS Is a bunch of CRAP. It not about News It all about them just backing the Republican Party. So they are nothing Fair and balanced about fox news. The way I seen It FOX NEWS , Isn't about reporting the news. It about about supporting the Republican Party, and that way I don't watch It at all.

    June 21, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Chuck Anziulewicz

    As George Orwell would say, "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Fox is News."

    June 21, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. StephensB

    Jon Stewart – the only voice worth listening to !!

    June 21, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Ancient Texan wrote:
    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".
    Yes, Limbaugh did say he wanted Obama to fail. He was questioned on the true extent of the remark because he came close to sounding threatening toward Obama's life. He cleaned it up to say that he meant Obama's agenda.

    June 21, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. demogal

    I watch Jon Stewart every night. I've even convinced some liberal friends to watch, and consequently weaned them away from Bill O'Reilly! Rock on, Jon. Chris Wallace came off looking pretty befuddled in this interview. I can't believe he really buys into the Fox Noise crap, but who knows?

    June 21, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. John

    And in typical Fox news fashion, they edited out some of his words, mid sentence, thereby completely proving every point he was making!

    June 21, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. keylargo

    Jon Stewart is smarter, is much more patriotic, and has more integrity than anyone at Fox is capable of.

    June 21, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Padraig

    Well we are lucky in this nation to be have different viewpoints and have the ability to say them. WIth Stewart, it is either you like him or your don't.

    The interesting thing about Stewart (yes he is a comedian) is that he says things that others take as gospel and it must be true. So some of his listeners already don't have the knowledge to accurately understand the situation. That can be damaging.

    He is your typicla liberal of today. I will object to your thougths by attacking, ridiculing, mocking, and do this with no hold-bar approach. He cannot speak to the issue objectively. That is the problem with most of today's Democrats. To bad the day of Senator Byrd and Liberman are gone. At least you understood why they opposed something they could explain why.

    June 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Dennis

    Most of you lefties are showing your typical ignorance and reliance on what you are told by your thought police. Chris Wallace is a DEMOCRAT and is able to argue both sides of an issue. You obviously have never watched Chris Wallace or Fox but, instead, rely on what you are told. That is the definition of ignorance.

    June 21, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Fascinated1

    After watching the interview on-line on Fox I felt Chris Wallace went all over the place to attack Jon Stewart, but I wasn't sure why. He showed a raunchy clip from Comedy Central: it's called COMEDY Central, Jon's station, not Fox NEWS Network, Chris' station! Jon's not on CNN! Some comments on the piece said those liberals won't see that Chris "won" the interview: well, they got that right! Finally, does someone have the program that can count the number of times Fox News used terms like "death panels" or "terrorist fist pump" please?

    June 21, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Never forget Republicans said "we want this President to fail", they meant it and that's treason.

    -------------------------If you had a neighbor whose agenda was to bankrupt and destroy your neighborhood by his actions, would you not want him to fail?

    June 21, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Robert Cloosdoosch

    The interesting thing about FOX is that they say things that others take as gospel and it must be true. So some of their listeners already don't have the knowledge to accurately understand the situation. That can be damaging.
    See, Padraig, it works both ways. And since when is any comedian "objective"? It's comedy. It's satire. Look it up.

    June 21, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
1 2 3 4 5