Jon Stewart appeared this morning on Fox News Sunday for a spirited, and at times combative, interview. Host Chris Wallace spent much of it trying to pin Stewart down for his repeated criticism of Fox’s “bias”, asking the comedian repeatedly whether he thought the mainstream media — ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, etc. — was itself biased.
Stewart yielded that the majority of people in the media “probably hold liberal beliefs,” but said the other networks and major newspapers aren’t “as relentlessly activist” as Fox. Rather, said Stewart, “the bias of the mainstream media is towards sensationalism, conflict, and laziness.”
WALLACE: You don’t think The New York Times is a liberal organization now pushing a liberal agenda?
STEWART: The New York Times? No. I think they are to a certain extent. Do I think they’re relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don’t. I think this is — Fox is a very special.
Stewart also said Fox viewers are “consistently” the most “uninformed” news consumers.
At one point as Wallace continued to press his case, Stewart compared him and other Fox anchors to dupes inside a totalitarian state. “In ideological regimes they can’t understand that there is a free media because they get their marching orders,” he said. But Stewart did allow that Wallace, as a more or less traditional Sunday political talk show host, was “brilliantly” brought on by “Mr. Ailes” “as a counterweight to Hannity” or Glenn Beck.
In what was perhaps Stewart’s biggest concession, he agreed that “to some extent” conservatives have been made the victims of a “witch hunt.”
“People on the right are called racists and they’re called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with — and homophobic and all those other things. I think that that is absolutely something that they have a real right to be angry about,” Stewart said. “And I’ve been guilty of some of those things myself.”
Later in the interview, Stewart claimed the last Republican presidential candidate he voted for was George H.W. Bush in 1988. Stewart said the elder Bush had “an integrity about him” and joked that there was something off-putting about “tiny people in helmets.”