Liberals Upset At Stewart's Return Despite Aligning With The Left

February 13th, 2024 1:14 PM

Jon Stewart returned to the anchor chair of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Monday, where he lampooned both Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s age and some of their more infamous bloopers. This did not sit well with left-wing media outlets, who have become accustomed to late night comedians simply being one of them. However, when Stewart did briefly digress from age issues, it was clear he was still very much on the left.

When Stewart did digress to talk policy, it was about Biden’s recent remarks that Israel’s response to October 7 has been “over the top,” which struck Stewart as a massive understatement, “You know, I like how Biden describes Israel's incessant bombing of civilians the same way my mother talks about the Super Bowl halftime show. ‘It was a little much. Did they need to be on roller skates?’ ‘Whatever happened to music? Using the song and people will love it, but with the abs and the twirling.’”



Despite that attack on Biden from the left and the age jokes, Stewart insisted:

Look, Joe Biden isn’t Donald Trump. He has not been indicted as many times, hasn't had as many fraudulent businesses or been convicted in a civil trial for sexual assault or been ordered to pay defamation, had his charities disbanded, or stiffed a shit-ton of blue-collar tradesmen he hired. Should we even get to the “grab the pussy stuff?” Probably not. But the stakes of this election stuff don't make Donald Trump's opponent less subject to scrutiny. It actually makes him more subject to scrutiny. If the barbarians are at the gate, you want Conan standing on the ramparts, not ‘chocolate chip cookie’ guy. 

However, Stewart also made sure to tell his audience that regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins, the country will not end, which couldn’t have sat well with the reviews. The Daily Beast senior editor Matt Wilstein lamented “using his old platform to tell Americans that their two choices for president are both not that different and equally terrible.”

Over at Rolling Stone, Alan Sepinwall mourned Stewart’s supposed approach to the news, “But even amidst all that mendaciousness, the push toward racism and fascism, or the sheer incompetence displayed by so many people in so many important positions affecting the lives of every American, Stewart was still sticking with the same Both Sides Are Equally Bad approach.”

The other four late night hosts have also made plenty of jokes about Biden’s age and mental acuities, but they are still very much to the left. Stewart is not that different, he just happened to debut on a day when Biden’s age was very much in the news.

Later in the show, during an interview with the Economist editor-in-chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes, Stewart wondered if Biden is as mentally astute as his defenders say he is, then why does the White House keep him away from interviews, “It makes it seem conspiratorial.”

Beddoes, who would eventually claim the Economist is an outlet for “English liberalism” in line with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton, tried to have it both ways. She said that:

I hear the same thing, ‘He's very sharp, he talks for a long time, he can outlast anyone in a meeting.’ I am perfectly paired to believe that on some subjects, that's true. Joe Biden knows a huge amount about foreign policy. He is exactly the right person to have in the Oval Office in the world as we have today, and I'm sure on certain things, he can go for hours and hours and hours. He can probably be in negotiations for a long time, but does that mean he should be president for another two terms? I think it's worrying. One term, another term. 

Yes, Stewart poked fun at Biden’s age and recent blunders, but other than trying to out-progressive him on Israel, he did not really go after Biden’s liberalism. That’s not really “both sides.”

Here is a transcript for the January 12 show:

Comedy Central The Daily Show


11:07 PM ET

JON STEWART: Garbanzo... Garment... Gaza. By the way, the response in Gaza has been... "Over the top?" You know, I like how Biden describes Israel's incessant bombing of civilians the same way my mother talks about the Super Bowl halftime show. "It was a little much. Did they need to be on roller skates?" "Whatever happened to music? Using the song and people will love it, but with the abs and the twirling”

Look, Joe Biden isn’t Donald Trump. He has not been indicted as many times, hasn't had as many fraudulent businesses or been convicted in a civil trial for sexual assault or been ordered to pay defamation, had his charities disbanded, or stiffed a shit-ton of blue-collar tradesmen he hired. Should we even get to the “grab the pussy stuff?” Probably not. But the stakes of this election stuff don't make Donald Trump's opponent less subject to scrutiny. It actually makes him more subject to scrutiny. If the barbarians are at the gate, you want Conan standing on the ramparts, not "chocolate chip cookie" guy. 

All the people behind the scenes are saying, “you don't know like we know, he's leading these meetings, he is unbelievable. You-- I wish you could see it,” but certainly, there are press people that travel with the president. Surely, I have not seen people come out with first-hand accounts. They have not come out and said—

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES: What, bounding along Air Force One?

STEWART: -- Right, or just said, “I follow the president, I'm with him every day, he is unbelievably sharp, he is just kind of camera shy” or whatever it is, but nobody is making those. It makes it seem conspiratorial. 

BEDDOES: Yeah, and I think what is clear is it is quite hard to get access to this president. He is very carefully shepherded around. He doesn't do many press conferences. He doesn't do very many interviews. I assume that is for a reason and I hear the same thing, “He's very sharp, he talks for a long time, he can outlast anyone in a meeting.” 

I am perfectly paired to believe that on some subjects, that's true. Joe Biden knows a huge amount about foreign policy. He is exactly the right person to have in the Oval Office in the world as we have today, and I'm sure on certain things, he can go for hours and hours and hours. He can probably be in negotiations for a long time, but does that mean he should be president for another two terms? I think it's worrying. One term, another term.