Jon Stewart Lauds Allegedly Always-Right Ralph Nader; Attacks Reagan

On Wednesday, Ralph Nader continued his media adulation tour, this time stopping by "The Daily Show." Just as with his appearance on "Late Edition," the only tough questioning Nader received was on the issue of the 2000 election and whether he placed George Bush in the White House. Stewart once again made clear exactly why conservatives view him as a not a political humorist, but a partisan, liberal comic. At one point, he told the consumer advocate that he was always right. And when Nader attacked President Ronald Reagan, the Comedy Central host joined right in:

Jon Stewart: "Please welcome back to the program, Ralph Nader! Ralph! Come on! Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us. So they say they’re going to make a film about you, ‘An Unreasonable Man,’ and they come to you, and you say, ‘I'm in.’"

Ralph Nader: "What are you going to do? ( Laughter ) Everything– You know, you want air bags in cars and seat belts in cars so you lose the freedom to go through a windshield. Reagan didn't like that. He liked the freedom to go through a windshield."

Stewart:: "Exactly. So he was considering you an anti-liberty–."

Nader: "Yeah. Right."

Stewart: "Exactly. Ralph Nader. Tear down that belt. That sort of thing?"

Nader: "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah."

Stewart: "I understand."

During the segment, which aired at 11:15pm on February 8, Stewart’s only hard-hitting questions were related to the 2000 election. The comedian described how a hypothetical person may feel about the Green Party candidate, saying, "I, somehow, in my irrational core blame you for George Bush and everything that has happened since then." Stewart segued into the topic by mentioning the new documentary about Nader, "An Unreasonable Man":

Stewart: "It is so interesting watching the movie, A, The working conditions for Nader's Raiders and the groups you worked for were terrible. I think Ralph Nader really could have done a job on you. Clearly those people were–

Nader: "You mean, the piles of reports defied the laws of gravity."

Stewart: " That's exactly right. They’re working 24/7. Secondly, you can still see people struggling with how they want to feel about you. That sense of, ‘Boy, I have such great respect for his integrity. I really love seat belts, I really love, you know-’"

Nader; "Clean food."

Stewart: " I love food that is not covered in E. Coli. But, yet, I somehow in my irrational core blame you for George Bush and everything that has happened since then. How are you-- How are you struggling with that?"

Nader: "Well, first off, I call it political bigotry, because, you know, what's the rap on small candidates? I mean, what if nature prevented seeds from sprouting, huh? We wouldn't be here, right?"

Stewart: "Wait, what?"

Nader: "What's the rap? In other words, why don't they say Gore took it away from me. Bush took it away from me. Why is a third-party candidate or Green Party candidate a second-class citizen?"

Stewart: "Well, I don't imagine it's a rational argument to say that Ralph Nader stole the election You know, with everything that went on with all the huge forces, it does seem like yours was a small force but easily blamable."

Nader: "Well, there are a lot of what ifs. One is that Republicans stole it from Gore. I mean, Gore won the election. He won it in Florida but it was stolen from Tallahassee. [Cheers and applause ] And you would think– You would think that these guys would go after the thieves, you know, instead of some little Green Party."

Finally, if there was any doubt as to Stewart’s liberal proclivity, the comedian cleared it up a few minutes later with his syrupy closing comments to Nader:

Stewart: "Well, I will say this -- You have taken your fair share of heat over these years, but one thing nobody has never said is that Ralph Nader wasn't right. And so we appreciate your service and all those things."

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