There seems to be a schism between two of the media giants that lefties hold in high regard – the entire MSNBC network and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart.
After Stewart took a few jabs at MSNBC during his Oct. 30 Washington, D.C. rally, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann took umbrage at the equivalency Stewart drew between his network and the Fox News Channel. In Olbermann’s view, Fox News Channel is a source of evil in the world, while MSNBC is a source of good. However, Stewart, who admittedly sees things from a liberal worldview, questioned MSNBC’s role in damaging political discourse.
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On his Nov. 4 show, Stewart asked “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace about his view of the role of the media. Wallace alluded to an Election Night kerfuffle between Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and “Hardball” host Chris Matthews.
“There are two sides to that story,” Wallace said. “Chris Matthews on MSNBC coverage last night had Michele Bachmann and he proceeded to say, ‘Now that you have subpoena powers are going to be subpoenaing Democratic members?”
But as Wallace explained, those sorts of confrontations are what cause a lot of the public’s view of a liberally biased media. And Stewart added that if MSNBC hosts really had a problem with the way Fox News covers the news, he asked why are they trying to become a liberal version of it:
WALLACE: I got to be careful how I say that subpoenaing --
STEWART: You are on Comedy Central, you’re on cable right now, so you don't have to be careful at all.
WALLACE: -- Democratic members who are un-American. She said, “No we're mostly concerned about the economy.” He goes, “Do you have a hypnotist? Do they have in you a trance?” Sometimes when people say the lamestream media is biased, they are biased.
STEWART: I don't disagree. I think MSNBC has made a mistake to attack Fox on its own field. I've made a criticism of the media recently.
STEWART: They said I was drawing a false equivalency between Fox and MSNBC – that they were the same.
WALLACE: None of us think we're equivalent with MSNBC.
STEWART: You are not. Honestly, that is double-A ball. That’s cute. But what you guys do – you are the best. Like, seriously you are the best.
WALLACE: Something is headed towards me and I don't know what –
STEWART: Roger Ailes, you guys know how to produce television. You have a very clear narrative.
WALLACE: You mean the truth?
STEWART: No. You know, which party you want to elect.
Stewart called MSNBC attempting to become what Fox News is perceived to be a “mistake.”
“You know, it's interesting that in some ways MSNBC by trying to maybe become a version of that – you cannot defeat Fox by becoming what they say you are,” Stewart continued. “If Fox's game is the media's biased against Republicans, all you are doing is giving them that field. The only way you can defeat them is through like an earned credibility not an earned partisanship. So, I think they are making a mistake by becoming equivalent to Fox rather than becoming a brand new journalistic organization. Don't you think? Would you agree with that? You thought I was tired? You thought I couldn't handle it today?”
However, Wallace told Stewart it wasn’t that MSNBC was wrong about its strategy, but the entire point of view and how they think the public sees things.
WALLACE: I was wondering if you were going to finish that sentence.
STEWART: I was trying to figure out where I was going. What do you think? Are they making a mistake trying to pattern themselves after you guys?
WALLACE: They are making a mistake because they are wrong.
STEWART: Wait wrong in their political viewpoint or wrong in their --
WALLACE: They are wrong in their analysis of what is going on in the country. I think that the country sent a real clear – now I know you’re --
STEWART: All right.
Wallace explained MSNBC was ignoring the results of the election and exit polling to their detriment.
“Look at the exit polls,” Wallace said. “In 2008 independents – that is the center of the country, not Republicans, not Democrats – went for Obama by eight points. Last night they went for Republicans by 15 points. It's a 23-percent swing. Seventy-four percent of the country said they are angry or dissatisfied with the federal government. There's something going on out there and to pretend it isn’t going out there is to just be wrong.”
And Stewart sided with Wallace against Fox News critics. Fox News didn’t create the post-Obama inauguration backlash.
“Certainly Fox planted the dissatisfaction in the country,” Stewart said. “I’m not suggesting in anyway that people were happy and you guys came along and you guys went, ‘Seriously, it’s terrible out there,’ you know – but it didn't hurt.”