NewsBusters Goads Jon Stewart to Explain, Defend His 'Socialist' Comments

Prompted by an article on NewsBusters, Jon Stewart on Tuesday felt compelled to defend his 2000 concession that he is a "socialist." The Daily Show host recounted the stir created by Roger Ailes after the Fox News president mentioned the comic's socialism.

On May 24th, NewsBusters posted video of Stewart on CNN in 2000. In the clip, the comedian admitted, "I'm more of a socialist or an independent." On Tuesday, Stewart highlighted, "...Then came this clip unearthed by a conservative website." An onscreen graphic identified NewsBusters. Trying to explain the comments, the comic emphasized, "I don't believe in state control of industry or collectivizing farms but I do believe there's value in some policies that derive from a more socialist ethos." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Although some in the media did question Ailes, Stewart joked, "I didn't doubt the story. I mean, I know watching Fox News makes you misinformed, but running it doesn't."

He then launched into a long diatribe about Fox News and the liberal media:

JON STEWART: ...I think what Roger said to me once was, oh, 'Jon, did I ever tell you that I, Roger Ailes, plan to undermine the role of an independent president by constantly whining that any reportage that deviates from a stanch conservative narrative is biased, while at the same time filling the editorial vacuum that, that creates by building a conservative propaganda juggernaut with the guise of a news organization.'

[Thanks to MRC intern Lillian Smith for the transcript.]               

A transcript of Stewart's May 29th comments can be found below:


11:02

JON STEWART: I didn't doubt the story. I mean, I know watching Fox News makes you misinformed, but running it doesn't.
           
11:03       

JON STEWART: Why didn't Roger Ailes mention what he admitted to me before, which was and obviously it's been a lot of years so I'm paraphrasing, but I think what Roger said to me once was oh, "Jon, did I ever tell you that I, Roger Ailes, plan to undermine the role of an independent president by constantly whining that any reportage that deviates from a stanch conservative narrative is biased, while at the same time filling the editorial vacuum that, that creates by building a Conservative propaganda juggernaut with the guise of a news organization." And then he said to me, he goes, "Jon, I'm going to call the organization Fox News and it's tag line will be, you're going toll love this, a fanatically micro managed media fiefdom where my own far-right agenda and personal sense of victim hood drive every aspect of the operation and balanced." I'm paraphrasing. Something like that. Anyway that goes down, then came this clip unearthed by a conservative website.

[Onscreen: NewsBusters.org.]

LARRY KING: I think you are a Democrat, Jon.

STEWART: I think that's probably correct. I think I would say I' m more of a socialist or independent.



STEWART: Oh, my god! I look great. Wow! Wow! You know what I just realized that interview was conducted just moments, moments before Larry King drained me of my youth. Let me explain to you what I think I meant by the comment on that show seeing I have at various times described myself as a socialist, Independent, Whig, Rockefeller Republican, Teddy Roosevelt Democrat and contrarian (bleep). I don't believe in state control of industry or collectivizing farms but I do believe there's value in some policies that derive from a more socialist ethos.

MITT ROMNEY: I think that Social Security is an essential program.

STEWART: Right. Like that. Thank you courageous comrade.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org