Eminentoes

A Comedian of Errors

Is Jon Stewart America's most consistently misinformed talk show host?

By 6.21.11

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On Fox News Sunday, Jon Stewart repeatedly reminded Chris Wallace that he is a comedian. While I am pleased Stewart saw fit to show his enthusiasm for his chosen vocation with Wallace and the rest of the nation, it seems to me that if you have to remind people you are a comedian then you are probably not all that funny in the first place.

This isn't to say Stewart doesn't have an audience. He most certainly does. But the people with whom he resonates most are those who share his liberal political views. Of course, Stewart denies he has a political agenda. Yet it doesn't prevent him from accusing the Fox News Channel (FNC) of "relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda under the rubric of a news organization." But if Stewart didn't have a political axe to grind, then why would he go out of his way to share his personal disdain of FNC viewers? Consider this exchange with Wallace:

STEWART: I am given credibility in this world because of the disappointment the public has in what the news media does, not because I have an ideological agenda.

WALLACE: I don't think our viewers are the least bit disappointed with us. I think our viewers think, finally, someone who tells the other side of the story.

STEWART: Who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers? (sic) The most consistently misinformed? Fox!!! Fox viewers!!! Consistently!!! Every poll!!!

Well, not exactly. PolitiFact.com rated Stewart's claim "false," noting that several surveys conducted by Pew Research Center indicated that "particular Fox shows -- such as The O'Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity's show -- actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart's own audience." Could it be that Jon Stewart is America's most consistently misinformed talk show host?

However, what PolitiFact.com doesn't note is that the University of Maryland affiliated worldopinion.org, which has conducted the studies that claim FNC viewers are less informed, is funded by George Soros. It was only this past February that Soros, during an appearance on the CNN show Fareed Zakaria GPS, likened the FNC to Nazi Germany. Soros told Zakaria:

Fox News makes a habit -- it has imported the methods of George Orwell, you know, newspeak, where you can tell the people falsehoods and deceive them. And you wouldn't believe that an open society and a democracy, these methods can succeed. But, actually, they did succeed. They succeeded in Germany, where the Weimar Republic collapsed and you had a Nazi regime follow it. So this is a very, very dangerous way of deceiving people. And I would like people to be aware that they are being deceived.

As long as Soros equates the FNC with the Third Reich, does anyone think any institution receiving money from Soros is going to produce a study that puts the FNC, never mind its viewers, in a positive light?

Now I don't know whether Stewart is aware the studies he has cited were funded by Soros. If Stewart isn't aware, that tells me he doesn't care where he gets his information. As long as an organization is ready to put out negative information about the FNC, then he will accept it at face value. Why? Because it's what he and millions of liberals want to hear. Stewart and his ideological ilk want to hear that conservatives and Republicans are stupid and evil. But if he is aware that Soros funded these studies, then it could be said that Stewart is relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda under the rubric of a comedy show. In which case, Stewart has become precisely what he is purportedly lampooning.

Either way I am hardly surprised by Stewart's attitude towards the FNC. Like most liberals, Stewart is too blinded by his hatred of the FNC to understand what it truly represents. The best explanation I have heard for the success of the FNC comes from one of its regular contributors, Charles Krauthammer. On more than one occasion, Krauthammer has made a point of saying that FNC founder Rupert Murdoch and his right hand man Roger Ailes "found a niche…half the American people." If only Stewart understood how the other half lives.

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About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.