For many liberal Americans, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is must-see-TV. Stewart's sarcasm and wit delight self-proclaimed "progressives," largely because his ridicule is overwhelmingly directed at conservatives. According to the conservative Media Research Center, Stewart devoted ten times more coverage last month to mocking Republicans/conservatives than Democrats/liberals. Sure, he'll occasionally take a shot at CNN or MSNBC, but his dietary staple is roasted Fox … on a skewer.
This week Mr. Stewart spent much of his time disparaging my interview with President Obama. After I asked the president about Benghazi, the IRS, and ObamaCare, Stewart accused me of "dipping wholesale into the faux Fox scandal grab bag." A funny line, but a farce. Echoing the president, Stewart claimed those issues have been thoroughly investigated, which is simply not true. I'm surprised he didn't declare that there "is not even a smidgen of corruption" in the IRS deal.
But in spite of all that, I think Stewart has a soft spot for Fox News. I just can't imagine his legion of writers sitting there watching the boring stuff that CNN and MSNBC put out. But I can envision Jon lapping up the vibrant debates on FNC, even on the shows he ridicules with regularity. What kind of material can he get from Wolf Blitzer or Andrea Mitchell? He gets plenty from me and Cavuto and Kelly.
Jon Stewart seems genuinely upset when ObamaCare is compared to socialism or when "global warming" is challenged. He supports a "nanny state" in which everyone, slackers included, is provided life's basic necessities. As he put it on Larry King's old CNN show, "I do believe there is some value in policies that derive from a more socialist ethos." So his political views, misguided though they may be, seem heartfelt and genuine.
As I have said before, I like Jon Stewart, a very smart and funny man, and I believe the respect is mutual. He and I raised a bunch of money for charity with our "Rumble," a debate just prior to the 2012 presidential election. USA Today called it the year's "most entertaining" debate and posed this question: "Who needs President Obama and Mitt Romney when you can get your politics with laughs from Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly?"
Stewart has visited the No Spin Zone numerous times, and I have ventured into his lion's den, where most of the "lions" are actually more like trained seals who clap and cheer after just about everything their hero says. Especially when he's ridiculing me or Fox News.
Last week President Obama asked me, in effect, what Fox News would do without him. Perhaps a better question is what Jon Stewart and Comedy Central would do without Fox News.