Chris Wallace: Jon Stewart 'In Denial About Bias of His Program and Mainstream Media'

June 23rd, 2011 4:33 PM

It's been four days since Chris Wallace and Jon Stewart squared off on "Fox News Sunday" and people still can't stop talking about it.

FBN's Don Imus brought it up with Wallace Thursday, and the FNS host said of Comedy Central's feature attraction, "I think he lives somewhat in denial about the bias of his program and of the, more importantly, of the mainstream media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

DON IMUS, HOST: So you had this interview with Jon Stewart and I thought he was good and I thought that you were good.

CHRIS WALLACE: That's exactly the way I thought about it and I know it's so interesting because people -- a few things, first of all, if you were a Liberal, you thought that he just wiped the floor with me and if you were Conservative you thought I wiped the floor with him, and the fact was, I think, it was exactly as you say. I think this was a sensible conversation.

He scored some points, I scored some points, it was a good conversation. We left on a very friendly basis, you know, I think he lives somewhat in denial about the bias of his program and of the, more importantly, of the mainstream media. And I think he also lives in denial about his ambitions because he's oh, just a comedian. I don't think he is just a comedian.

IMUS: That's nonsense.

WALLACE: I don't think he wants to be just a comedian.

IMUS: He's claiming you edited the interview to make him look bad.

WALLACE: Well, I think that the -- if he looked bad, it was his fault. We did edit it, but you know, the fact is, people say, well, yeah, but look at the full version. The reason the full version, that anybody sees-- has seen the full version because we put it on. We weren't hiding anything, we put it on our website, very much as he does, when you do an interview, he often edits it and quite frankly, Jon was filibustering and we went on and on and we had to cut it down, it was still 14 minutes longer than we intended and if you want to watch the full interview although I can't imagine why anybody would, 24 minutes, it's there on Fox News Sunday website.

IMUS: Seventeen till the hour, I happen to like him and have for years. One, I think he's brilliant and two, there's nobody -- few people who can take a piece of material that they all come up with that deliver better than he does. But spare me the nonsense about my job is a lot harder than your job and I mean, it's just -- you know, it's a hard job. Try to pay a mortgage when you don't have a job, that's a hard job. Trying to be funny about the news is not hard. Shut up about that.

And two, you played a clip of him doing his Amos and Andy voice, a phrase you employed, regarding Herman Cain and my question the next day was, that name one other white performer in the media who could do that and get by with it.

WALLACE: You're exactly right and particularly --

IMUS: Why didn't you ask him that?

WALLACE: Imagine a Conservative, imagine if Glenn Beck did that or Sean Hannity did that, the left would be with pitchforks and torches at the gates, demanding that they be drawn and quartered. No, there's no question about it. I agree with you though, I think he's a funny guy. I think he's a decent guy. I think--

IMUS: He is.

WALLACE: Misguided in some areas, but genuinely funny and I would love to have him back and love to be on his show and I think both of those things will happen.

IMUS: And denying that he has some sort of ideological agenda, he probably doesn't in his heart think he does, but he has to recognize that that's -- that the perception is reality, by the way. And that's--

WALLACE: And you come up with that yourself, perception is reality.

IMUS: I'll whip your ass the next time I see you if you don't be quiet. I've been lifting weights, I'm going to hurt you.

WALLACE: Here is the deal when he talks about -- this is interesting, a telling moment when he said what do you think I am in my -- in the highest aspirations? Edward R. Murrow or Mark Twain? And actually, what I didn't say, and I didn't have the wit to think in that split second is it's rather remarkable that he would compare himself to either.

Not really. Every liberal on television thinks he's Edward R. Murrow.

Just ask Keith Olbermann.