Jon Stewart faced off against Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday, debating whether The Daily Show is a form of activism that is pushing a liberal agenda.
It was a heated 25-minute interview, where at times Chris Wallace sounded like a shrink trying to figure out what makes Jon Stewart tick, while the Comedy Central host was quick to debunk any criticism of his nightly act.
Referring to the June 13th Daily Show episode, in which Stewart compared the technique of Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” bus tour promo to the technique of the commercial for Valtrex, Wallace argued that the comparison seemed like a “political comment.”
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“You really think that’s a political comment?” Stewart asked. “You’re insane. Here’s the difference between you and I: I’m a comedian first…I’m not an activist. My comedy is informed by ideology, but I’m not an ideologue.”
Yet Wallace believed that Stewart was doing exactly the kind of thing he bashes FOX News for doing because he wants to be a “political player.”
Wallace cited The Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, who said that Stewart hides behind comedy to avoid accountability for his political views, to which the Daily Show host retorted, “you can’t understand, because of the world you live in, that there’s not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that’s the soup you swim in.”
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Rather, Stewart admitted his show does have an ideology, but it is non-partisan and focuses on “absurdity,” “anti-corruption,” and “anti-lack-of-authenticity.”
The comedian went on to compare FOX News to a dictatorship with limits on free speech, calling it an “ideological regime” that feeds talking points to its anchors. Stewart acknowledged, however, that he is actually a fan of Wallace personally and commended the news anchor for not drinking the Kool-Aid, and for bringing “a credibility to an organization that might not otherwise have it without your presence.”