Jon Stewart took Thursday night off from The Daily Show for "mental health," conveniently missing covering the resignation of Anthony Weiner, but he made up for his absence yesterday. On Sunday morning Stewart sat down for a discussion of "media bias" and Stewart's role as "a comedian first" on the certainly unbiased Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Fun times!
To get things going, Stewart defended the non-Fox media's biases compared to Fox's clear conservative bent. The Times, for instance, has a bias "towards sensationalism and laziness," he says. "I wouldn't say its towards a liberal agenda. It's light fluff so it's absolutely within the wheelhouse. If your suggestion is that they're restlessly partisan, then why haven't they gone and backed away from Weiner? They jumped into the Weiner pool with such delight and such relish."
And that was just the opening shots. Later on, when Wallace and Stewart debate the level of "political commentary" in a recent Daily Show clip comparing a Sarah Palin video and herpes commercials. "You're insane," Stewart says when Wallace calls the bit clear political commentary. "Here's the difference between you and I. I'm a comedian first. My comedy is informed by an ideological background, there's no question about that. But the thing that you will never understand...is that Hollywood, yeah, they're liberal, but that's not their primary motivating force. I'm not an activist. I am a comedian. And my comedy is informed by ideology, there is no question. But I am not an ideologue."
When Wallace latched onto Stewart's routine of explaining himself as being only a comedian, Stewart lashed back. "I said I'm a comedian first, I never said I'm only a comedian. Being a comedian is much harder than what you do. Being a comedian I put material though a process, a comedic process."
The whole debate is actually pretty interesting, and really gets going further in when Stewart seems genuinely angry with Wallace over the way Fox handles actual news. "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 said. "Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll."
You can watch the whole video here: