Jon Stewart Abandons Civility (Again) and Lashes Out at Corporate America

Once again, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart sacrificed "civility" in order to sharpen his liberal arguments – this time attacking corporations for greed. The liberal comedian, who time and again has used his national podium to cry out for civility in the nation's political discourse, resorted to vulgar name calling Monday during a four-minute tirade against big-business.

During the segment full of naive disillusionment and titled "I Give Up," Stewart tried to poke fun at the argument that corporate tax cuts stimulate the economy. His incivility boiled over when he reported that despite paying no corporate income tax, GE is still slashing American jobs and creating jobs overseas.

"You know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are a**holes," he ranted. This is quite a far cry from his "Rally to Restore Sanity" this past October, when he pleaded for civility to govern the national political discourse.
 

Stewart referenced data from 2005 reporting that about two-thirds of American-controlled corporations did not pay corporate income tax. He then served the conservative argument that the current U.S. corporate tax rate is too high and prevents businesses from creating jobs in the U.S., in order to then skewer the conservative point.

"But apparently, even with their negative-60 percent tax rate, GE has cut a fifth of its American jobs in the last nine years, while boosting jobs overseas," Stewart complained.

Stewart's liberal bias blinded him from reporting on regulatory measures and loopholes that enable big businesses to sidestep obstacles and further their market success. Stewart totally missed the connection between big business and the federal government here.

Instead the comedian roasted corporations for their tax cuts and painted the benefits of public sector employees as collateral damage in the war to trim the country's budget.

However, surely President Obama would know how to deal with corporations, Stewart reasoned. He later threw his hands up and cried "I give up!" like any disillusioned liberal when he reported on President Obama welcoming GE CEO Jeff Immelt to chair one of his economic panels.

Further proving his general ignorance on corporate America, Stewart lamented that GE employs many former IRS and Treasury officials in its tax department – as if that is an unprecedented move. The comedian also slammed NBC Nightly News – NBC Universal is a GE company – for not reporting on the hiring of Immelt by the Obama administration.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 29 at 11:04 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

JON STEWART: America's in financial trouble, and I think we know why.

(Video Clips)

Sen. RON JOHNSON (R-Wisc.): I think we have to re-balance the whole collective bargaining arrangement with public sector unions. They're bankrupting states.

Fmr. Arkansas Gov. MIKE HUCKABEE: The public employee unions are going to bankrupt states.

UNIDENTIFIED: We have to push back, pull back, on these greedy and parasitic and selfish public employee union dues and programs.

(End Video Clips)

STEWART: Down with greedy parasitic unions! Teachers, fire, cop – no more unions! And at the same that these greedy public workers are living their cham-pale wishes and spam-viar dreams, we're making it harder and harder for good, honest corporate citizens to create jobs here.

(Video Clips)

Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R-Utah): You know, we're at 35 percent, the highest corporate tax rate in the world –

DANA PERINO, Fox News contributor: And when it comes to creating jobs in the country, if you're a corporation, where would you rather be? And it might not be here.

Rep. JOHN CAMPBELL (R-Calif.): We should be lowering the corporate tax rate –

(End Video Clip)

STEWART: Can you blame a company like GE for not wanting to do business in America when it has to pay 35 percent of its profits back to America?

(Video Clip)

ABC NEWS: Despite $14 billion in worldwide profits, General Electric is paying no federal taxes.

(End Video Clip)

STEWART: Aa-haa-aa Wha? (Laughter) But I thought the corporate tax rate needed to be lowered. And I'm not sure you can lower it from nothing.

(Video Clip)

ABC NEWS: In fact, for 2010, GE got a $3.2 billion tax benefit.

(End Video Clip)
 


STEWART: I stand corrected. That is a corporate tax rate of – hold on – negative 60 percent! You know, the latest data we have from 2005 says that about two-thirds of United States-controlled corporations paid no corporate income tax, on a combined profit of, let's say, a googa-trillion. But wait – we've been told the only reasons corporations aren't bringing any more jobs here is the punitive corporate tax rate, fueled by our workers' demands for a "western" standard of living. But apparently, even with their negative-60 percent tax rate, GE has cut a fifth of its American jobs in the last nine years, while boosting jobs overseas. You know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are a**holes. Fortunately – fortunately, our top man is on the case.

(Video Clip)

President BARACK OBAMA: We will stop letting American companies that create jobs overseas take deductions on their expenses when they do not pay any American taxes on their profits.

(End Video Clip)

STEWART: The people have a champion! And he's going to be hoping a** and taking change! (Laughter) GE CEO Jeff Immelt is about to find out why we elected this anti-business socialist Marxist Kenyan warrior.

(Video Clip)

OBAMA: Jeff Immelt. He understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy. And I am so proud and pleased that Jeff has agreed to chair this panel, my Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, because we think GE has something to teach businesses all across America.

(End Video Clip)

STEWART: Yeah! You ripped Immelt a new – wait, chairmanship? I give up! What's GE going to teach businesses all across America? To bolster their tax department with former officials from the treasury and the IRS and all relevant committees? And make it 975 people? Who says they're not creating jobs? Of course GE still has some workers in America, like NBC Nightly News. And the night this story broke, they were probably all over it like – nothing? They didn't report it at all, that GE had, no? Well, to be fair, Libya, Japanese radiation, there's a lot going on in the word. I imagine their Friday night newscast was chalk full of the type of urgent news that would preclude a more esoteric financial story.

(Video Clip)

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: The Oxford English Dictionary, the most formal and proper of them all, has added some decidedly informal words to its lexicon tonight, "LOL" and "OMG," "whassup," "taquito," and "muffin top" made the list. According to Oxford, it's "the flesh that protrudes above the waistband of a tight pair of pants" – or what happens to you if you eat to many "taquitos."

(End Video Clip)

STEWART: (Fake Laughter) OMG! I give up!

 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014