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. Dean

    It is sad that America has people who respect the dishonest comments (he admitted that he did not tell the whole story just so the idea would be slanted) made by a comdeian as a source of credible news. No wonder we are in trouble.

    June 21, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. hjs3

    Sorry but Stewart v.s. Wallace is a no-contest event....

    And Padraig me boy it's a shame that you somehow didn't retain at least a bit 'o the wit
    of your Irish forbearers....Maybe you get funny after a few toasts...Let's hope!

    June 21, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Michelle

    I think the most telling statement is – "I am a comedian not an activist". These stupid people on fox brings on a comedian to debate the issues – maybe fox news is really another comedy station. Anyone who thinks fox is a serious news station has simply wondered off the reservation. And for Chris Wallace to try and sit there and conduct a serious conversation and show irreverent video clips – well he isn't very serious either.

    June 21, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Rsprings

    Stewart, may claim he is a comedian and has license to say what he wants but he is an ideologue. Fox haters will always hate fox no matter. Bias exists on the left as well. Ed Schultz, Rachael Maddow, Cenk Ugay, Laurence Odonnelr and the late now current TV (which nobody listens to) Kieth Olbermann are very biased and they are real spinners. The good part is they all have low ratings and only the kool aid drikers are watching them. If any of you can look someone in the eye and say Obama is a good president, then I fell badly for you.

    June 21, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. BeanerECMO

    Stewart is so like so many others – oh, I'm just making satirical comments on the political goings on of the day; but I'm not a political player, I'm a comedian. Knowing full well he's hiding behind his comedic cassock to push his political agenda of regressivism (aka liberal progressivism).

    June 21, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Patrick

    "even though some parts of the plan would help them at their age"

    I don't think this matters to the Tea Party set. There was a saying...that when you get older if your not a republican... well can't remember the rest but my republican parents who now survive off of only social security and Medicare and are still republican boggles the mind.

    Senility and stubborness also come with old age. Have to run... gotta go upstairs and turn off the hot water dad left running for 20 minutes because he thinks a rag in the sink will got hotter and wetter if you leave water running on it.

    June 21, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. littletingod

    Just because Wallace is registered as a Democrat doesn't necessarily make him one. After all, he is a host on Faux News.

    June 21, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. zip

    The difference between these two is the that John Stewart knows he's on a fake news channel.

    June 21, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Patrick

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

    Really? Is Obama sending tanks to your neighborhood in Texas to destroy it? As for bankruptcy well why not ask Mr. Bush why he tried to destroy America too? $ 2.5 trillion tax cuts for the rich... which if those were revoked we wouldn't be in such a fiscal mess especially if it was done years ago. They've already proven to be a failure ... the republicans said they would create jobs and spur the economy. Yeah right... republicans right again... about WMD's... about the cost of the Iraq War. ROFL

    June 21, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. tom

    Right on Dennis. Liberal Dems are the biggest hypocrites on earth. They form their political opinions from Joh Stewart and MSNBC. They are just as brain washed as they claim Fox News viewers to be.

    June 21, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. amlcpamaine

    To call the President inexperienced is ignorant and an affront, though not a surprise because it's a common GOP kool-aid talking point. None of the "leaders" have the experience influencing in bipartisan situations and those of conflicting goals - just have experience being "top dog and power broker." Well, running the country isn't like that, though Cheney tried.
    Even W, though touted as "experienced" was a loser at this. He paid colleagues at Harvard Business School to write his papers, he failed at the oil services business and he succeeded with the Texas Rangers only by burdening the TX taxpayers with his stadium. When confronted with REAL conflict he waffled waffled waffled but "declared victory."

    The history books (though now even they're biased and political) will show the GOP "trickle down" strategy as total failure and show Obama as one of the best presidents ever.

    June 21, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Anonymous

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

    Come one man. This is the kind of inflated statement tactic that the skewd media uses all the time. He is our president and obviously wants the best for the country. He may not go about working on it the way YOU like but he is not trying to destroy the country. If you are going to make a statement like that, back it up with facts or stats instead of just a wild jab out of the blue.

    June 21, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Sirx

    That's what I can appreciate about Stewart–If you think he strictly attacks the right, you didn't see his recent segment on the news media stumbling over themselves backwards and counting down to the release of Sarah Palin's Emails as if Jesus Christ himself had sent them. He calls out people for being EXTREME in their bias. Some bias is bound to happen–everyone haves it. Even Stewart. But the area in the Venn Diagram where Bias and Reason overlap isn't but so big.

    Also, these are the most intelligent, thought-out, non-attacking comments I've read on a news story in QUITE some time. You guys are awesome!

    June 21, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Christine wrote:
    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
    First prize: Best Wit
    Winner: Best in Show

    June 21, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. Padraig really?

    1. "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." You said it before, he is a comedian, of course he is going to ridicule and mock others, that is his style of comedy, i dont see what your exactly upset about.
    2. "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." That line should have also included most republicans. To say most democrats dont speak objectively without mentioning republicans shows a bias and completely discredits your point. Yes democrats are guilty of being unobjective but the same goes for republicans.
    You mock the president and ridicule him for "socialist policies" knowing darn well those arent socialist policies (because last i checked socialist didnt bail out the bourgeois they nationalized them). They inflate false accusations like 'death panels' to attack what essentially was a bi-partisan model for Health/Medical reform. Both parties are guilty of the same problems and until we realize that, polarization will continue down its ugly path.

    June 21, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. @Dennis

    where and how did you come to the conclusion that Wallace is a democrat (and if he is, surely isnt a liberal one)? Do you have his voting record or are the thought police convincing you (as well) that he is a democrat?

    June 21, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. @Anonymus

    bankrupt and destroy america? funny you should mention that, let me give you a quick list and lets see if your partisan hackery can handle it.
    1. Bush bailed out the airline industry in 2002, was that destroying america or bankrupting it?
    2. Bush spent tax payer dollars on war, sold to us on an imminent threat of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, not only were no significant or threatening quantities found, but then the mission objective changed to rebuilding and promoting democracy at the tax payers expense, was that bankrupting america?
    3. McCain said we should stay in Iraq and until the job was done, even if that took a 100 years, would a 100 years of spending on Iraq bankrupt america?
    4. Fox news anchor and former General Oliver North was accused in the 1980's (and only got off because of a violation of his fifth amendment rights) of helping to coordinate drug smuggling of Contra cocaine into the USA to help raise much needed funds for the contra's to fight their civil war in Nicaragua, was this policy destroying america?

    Dont point to liberals and democrats for faults that you, your party, and your ideology have been guilty in the not-to-distant past, and expect us to lay down and agree.

    June 21, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. Jake

    Stewart's contention that he doesn't have a liberal agenda is as persuasive as Obama claiming his Libyan War isn't a war.

    June 21, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. RS, CA

    Stewart and his loose-lipped "truths" do great damage to this country. His clever comedic delivery caters directly to impressionable, empty-headed people, for whom entertainment is their only gateway to a quasi-intellectual grasp of anything - and then these people think that they actually understand anything about the world around them? TV, a good belly laugh, and a beer - that's their road to "reality." No wonder our county is in BIG trouble!

    June 21, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. ram111

    When people say things like 'Obama wants to bankrupt and destroy the country with his policies' (paraphrasing) – do they not realize how nutty and paranoid that sounds? You can argue that Obama's policies may/will have that affect (depending on your point of view) but when you stretch it to say he obviously wants to destroy the country... then you start to sound paranoid and frankly, juvenile. Most Democrats (or Republicans) didn't believe George W. wanted to bring down the country while he was in office, no matter how violently they disagreed with his policies. I don't remember a lot of people constantly saying or even implying that while he was President. That lack of respect for Obama and his perceived intentions is what so many find upsetting.

    June 21, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Karen

    @Mark Bernadiner

    I think you mean poorly educated. Poor is used when you are describing a thing or person, i.e., a noun, and is an adjective. Poorly is used when you are describing how something was done or to what degree, an action, i.e., a verb, and is an adverb. Unless you meant that Jon is poor, educated and primitive and then you needed a comma in there. Please don't tell me it was a typo because you used the incorrect form twice. But, hey, what do I know I am just one of those poor(ly) educated Americans you are talking about and I make about as much sense as the very sensible Jon Stewart.

    June 21, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Jon Stewart would best be compared to Rush Limbaugh because they are both comedians. Chris Wallace tried to suggest that Stewart is biased, which would justify what Limbaugh does. There is no way to compare who is more biased Limbaugh or Stewart because Stewart is not biased. Stewart would lose the comparison by a shutout. Stewart mocks everyone with reckless aim. Doesn't matter who you are.

    June 21, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Another Texan

    Trace (and others who think like him),

    Daily Show viewers are actually more informed than Fox "News" viewers, so if our youth are watching the Daily Show, we'll be ok.

    And I put news in quotations not because of their bias, but because they can't get their facts straight. (ie, Egypt is actually on the African continent and not on the northern end of the Arabian peninsula)

    June 21, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Chief Spiritual Authority of U.S. Pagans ∞

    put on the show. keep the joe six packs sixpacking, bring in the crippie for those folks.
    dumb down the world, make them all poor, make them not even know it.
    make the talking head sound bite reality
    make them have "8 favorite t.v. stations".
    throw in equal parts of hate and fear.

    god bless america

    June 21, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Frank - Columbus

    Jon Stewart sparred with Fox News ... while CNN sits on the slidelines.

    June 21, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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