N.Y. Times Implausibly Finds 'The Daily Show' with Jon Stewart Nonpartisan

The Times' liberal book critic Michiko Kakutani profiled Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," and managed not to notice he's a liberal (as are the vast majority of his fans).

A picture of Stewart on the set takes up the entire above-the-fold space of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section, under the headline, "Is This the Most Trusted Man in America?" The same liberal instincts that dominate Kakutani's book reviews are evident in her long, flattering profile of Stewart and the cast of the liberal "Daily Show," of which Kakutani is clearly a fan.

It’s been more than eight years since “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” made its first foray into presidential politics with the presciently named Indecision 2000, and the difference in the show’s approach to its coverage then and now provides a tongue-in-cheek measure of the show’s striking evolution….

Most important, at a time when Fox, MSNBC and CNN routinely mix news and entertainment, larding their 24-hour schedules with bloviation fests and marathon coverage of sexual predators and dead celebrities, it’s been “The Daily Show” that has tenaciously tracked big, “super depressing” issues like the cherry-picking of prewar intelligence, the politicization of the Department of Justice and the efforts of the Bush White House to augment its executive power….

Following 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, the show focused more closely not just on politics, but also on the machinery of policy making and the White House’s efforts to manage the news media. Mr. Stewart’s comedic gifts -- his high-frequency radar for hypocrisy, his talent for excavating ur-narratives from mountains of information, his ability, in Ms. Corn’s words, “to name things that don’t seem to have a name” -- proved to be perfect tools for explicating and parsing the foibles of an administration known for its secrecy, ideological certainty and impatience with dissenting viewpoints.

After chortling along with Stewart's "eviscerations of the administration," Kakutani implausibly turned around and claimed the show isn't partisan and takes equal aim at both right and left, a characterization not even ABC's Chris Cuomo, son of New York's Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, buys. Cuomo said Stewart was "clearly a lefty." Kakutani's avowal would be unconvincing to even a casual viewer of the show:

For all its eviscerations of the administration, “The Daily Show” is animated not by partisanship but by a deep mistrust of all ideology. A sane voice in a noisy red-blue echo chamber, Mr. Stewart displays an impatience with the platitudes of both the right and the left and a disdain for commentators who, as he made clear in a famous 2004 appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire,” parrot party-line talking points and engage in knee-jerk shouting matches. He has characterized Democrats as “at best Ewoks,” mocked Mr. Obama for acting as though he were posing for “a coin” and hailed MoveOn.org sardonically for “10 years of making even people who agree with you cringe.”

Comparing Democrats to Ewoks is one way of saying they are wimps who lack the guts to go after Republicans like they deserve.

Here's a taste of Stewart's purported non-partisanship: Back in September 2006, Stewart called conservative journalist Robert Novak a "vampire demon" and an enemy of "American democracy."

Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center . Read more: http://archive.newsbusters.org/bios/clay-waters.html#ixzz3CdgxLFgQ