WALLACE: It was last November when Jon Stewart promised on his show he would come here and answer my questions. After months of evasion, disconnected phone numbers, and press agents saying, "Who are you again?" -- it appears he finally ran out of excuses.
And so, Jon Stewart, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
STEWART: Thank you so much, Chris. I really -- I appreciate it. I just want to say, as a viewer, I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you would sully a program of this integrity, of this quality, with the presence such as Jon Stewart.
WALLACE: No. Have you checked out the mugs?
STEWART: Yes. They're very nice. They're very --
WALLACE: You can see what it says on the inside of the mugs?
STEWART: Can I read it out loud? It's somewhat anti-Semitic. Do you want me to read it?
WALLACE: "Fair and balanced."
STEWART: "Fair and balanced."
STEWART: Yes. I like to --
WALLACE: How about -- how about we toast and we both take a big drink out of our mugs?
STEWART: I'd be -- you know, it's interesting that the mug itself --
WALLACE: No, no. No talking. Just drink it. Just drink the water.
STEWART: Why do you want me to drink it?
WALLACE: Just, please.
STEWART: It's just interesting that you want me to drink it. Why don't you have a taste of this first? WALLACE: I'm drinking it myself.
STEWART: Yes. But we could have different waters. I've seen --
WALLACE: Are you scared of this?
STEWART: All right.
WALLACE: 'Nuff said.
There you go.
And while you're drinking -- you love to take shots at FOX News.
STEWART: Yes, I did.
WALLACE: Over the years, you have called us -- and we're going to put this on the screen because this is heavy stuff.
WALLACE: "A biased organization, relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda under the rubric of being a news organization."
WALLACE: And -- I actually think that's slightly the wrong use for the word rubric.
"A relentless agenda-driven, 24-hour news opinion propaganda delivery system."
WALLACE: Where do you come up with this stuff?
STEWART: It's actually quite easy when you feel it. You got to feel it in your soul, you know?
WALLACE: Well, here's the deal. Are you willing to say the same thing about the mainstream media, about ABC, CBS, NBC, "Washington Post," "New York Times"?
WALLACE: Would you say the same thing about them that they are -- in your words -- a propaganda delivery system relentlessly pushing a liberal agenda?
STEWART: No, I wouldn't say that.
WALLACE: Why not?
STEWART: MSNBC is attempting that. I think they're attempting. They've looked at your business model and they have seen the success of it. And I think they're attempting to be a more activist organization.
WALLACE: You don't think "The New York Times" is a liberal organization?
WALLACE: Pushing a liberal agenda?
STEWART: "The New York Times," no. I think they are to a certain extent. Do I think they're relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don't.
I think is this -- FOX is a very special --
WALLACE: The shutters to go from your eyes because I'm going to prove it to you in the next few minutes.
STEWART: Oh, OK. I don't -- I'm excited about that.
WALLACE: Here we go.
STEWART: Can I tell you this? I love to learn!
WALLACE: Even you make fun of the fact that "The New York Times" and the "Washington Post" when this document dump of 24,000 e-mails of Sarah Palin was released, and they got so excited about it, they asked their readers, help us. Go through these 24,00 documents?
WALLACE: How do you explain the fact that they would do that? Would ask the readers to help them go through the Palin e-mails -- inconsequential as they turned out to be --
WALLACE: -- but they never said help us go through the 2,000 pages of the Obama health care bill?
STEWART: Because I think their bias is towards sensationalism and laziness. I wouldn't say it's towards a liberal agenda. It's light fluff. So, it's absolutely within the wheelhouse.
I mean, if your suggestion is that they are relentlessly partisan and why haven't they gone and backed away from Weiner? Now, they jumped into the Weiner pool -- so, with such delight and relish, because the bias --
WALLACE: Some things are indefensible.
STEWART: -- the bias of the mainstream media -- oh, I'm not saying it's defensible, but the bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness.
WALLACE: You take your own shot recently at Sarah Palin. You compared her video of her one bus -- One Nation bus tour to a certain commercial. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the tour rolls on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stopping at historic places, like Gettysburg, and then to Philadelphia, to see the Liberty Bell.
STEWART: You know what's cool, man? The way they have reporters finishing each other's sentences. Where have I seen that technique before?
(CUE VALTREX AD)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Sarah Palin and the herpes drug, really?
STEWART: Yes, as a technique for the commercial? You know, so, you're saying that by comparing the technique that she used in her video --
WALLACE: You are not making a political comment?
STEWART: You really think that's a political comment?
STEWART: You're insane.
STEWART: Yes. Here is the difference between you and I -- I'm a comedian first. My comedy is informed by an ideological background. There's no question about that.
The thing that will never understand and the thing that in some respect conservative activists will never understand is that Hollywood, yes, they're liberal. But that's not their primary motivating force. I'm not an activist. I'm a comedian.
WALLACE: All right. I want to thank you for saying that because --
WALLACE: Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik -- put it up on the screen -- says that is your dodge. "Stewart has never held accountable in his media criticism, is he? When he is wrong, he goes in a tap dance of saying he's only a comedian and shouldn't be taken seriously."
STEWART: OK. Let's talk about that -- when did I say to you I'm only a comedian? I said I'm a comedian first. That's not only. Being a comedian is harder than what you do.
What I do is much harder. I put material through a process, a comedic process.
WALLACE: But you are a political commentator. The comedy has a political --
STEWART: Some of it.
WALLACE: Here is your take on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's why I only allow small bills. Three pages. You'll have time to read that one over the dinner table.
STEWART: If I am president, treaties will have to fit on the back of a cereal box. From now, on the "State of the Union" address will be delivered in the form of a fortune cookie. I am Herman Cain, and I do not like to read.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: You're planning a remake of "Amos 'n' Andy"?
STEWART: Why don't you show -- do you want to show me doing the voices for all the other people that we do? You want to see my New York voice? My Chinese guy voice?
Are you suggesting that you and I are the same? Are you suggesting that -- what am I at my highest aspiration and what are you at your highest aspiration? Tell me.
WALLACE: I think -- honestly, I think you want to be a political player.
STEWART: You are wrong. You're dead wrong. I appreciate what you're saying.
Do I want my voice heard? Do I want my voice heard? Absolutely. That's why I got into comedy.
Am I an activist in your mind, an ideological partisan activist?
STEWART: OK. Then I disagree with you.
You can't understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that's the soup you swim in. I appreciate that. I understand that. It reminds me of, you know -- you know, ideological regimes. They can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders.
WALLACE: How do you explain me? Do you think I get my marching orders?
STEWART: I think that you are here in some respects to bring a credibility and an integrity to an organization that might not otherwise have it, without your presence. So, you are here as a counterweight to Hannity, let's say, or a counterweight to Glenn Beck, because otherwise, it's just pure talk radio and it doesn't establish the type of political player it wants to be.
WALLACE: It's a part.
STEWART: I understand that.
WALLACE: Wait --
STEWART: But for you, there is hope -- this is important.
WALLACE: No, this is -- but you sound like.
WALLACE: -- during the CNN debate.
STEWART: Am I dodging you? Am I dodging you by saying I'm just a comedian?
WALLACE: No, you're filibustering. Here is the question. Here is the question.
And I think there are plenty of examples. Let me give you another example of -- this isn't you. This is the mainstream media.
Here's Diane Sawyer.
STEWART: All right.
WALLACE: Diane Sawyer, leading her program last year, announcing the new immigration law. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, "ABC WORLD NEWS": If a stranger walking down the street or riding the bus does not seem to be a U.S. citizen, is it all right for the police to stop and question him? Well, today, the governor of Arizona signed a law that requires police to do just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But that isn't what the law requires them to do. In fact, the law says the only way that you can stop somebody as part of a lawful enforcement stop, you can't just say, hey, you're walking down the street exactly as she suggested. It has to be because there's a broken taillight or they're loitering, or they're do something else.
Don't you think she should have mentioned that?
STEWART: Sure. Yes. No, I think you're right. I think we should have more full context and more of the types of things that you're talking about.
But I don't understand how that's purely a liberal or conservative bias. That's, like I said, sensationalist and somewhat lazy.
But I don't understand how that's partisan. The embarrassment is that I'm given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media does.
WALLACE: I don't think --
STEWART: -- not because I have an ideological agenda.
WALLACE: I don't think our viewers are the least bit disappointed with us. I think our viewers think, finally, they're getting somebody who tells the other side of the story.
WALLACE: And in -- no, no, no. One more example.
STEWART: Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.
WALLACE: Can we talk about your network? Can we talk about Comedy Central?
STEWART: Yes. I'd be delighted to.
WALLACE: Because case and point --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you physically have sex with Tommy Lee? He has a huge (EXPLETIVE DELETED). If he put that thing in front of my face, I wouldn't know whether I should (EXPLETIVE DELETED) spit or feed it a peanut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: That's not exactly "Masterpiece Theater" you're working for.
STEWART: You're damn right. And I think I'm perfectly placed. I think that is my -- that is where I belong.
WALLACE: You're the counterbalance to that. I'm suggesting that there is bias, and that you only tell part of the story.
STEWART: Oh, there's no question that I don't tell the full story. I mean, I don't disagree with that. But I don't not tell the full story based on a purely ideological partisan agenda. That's my point. My point isn't --
WALLACE: I think your agenda is more out there, and you're pushing more of an agenda than you pretend to.
STEWART: But it's about absurdity. It's about absurdity and it's about corruption. And that is the agenda that we push.
WALLACE: I will defend everything that we put on this show.
STEWART: Oh, and by the way, how often do you see your show on my show? My beef isn't with you.
STEWART: But I believe you exist as -- I think that Mr. Ailes has very brilliantly put you on. And I think you're a tough interviewer. I think you're a fair interviewer. I think some of the things that --
WALLACE: Keep going.
WALLACE: Are you disappointed in Barack Obama as president?
STEWART: Yes, I think I am.
WALLACE: Do you think he's lived up to his promise to fix the economy?
STEWART: No. I don't know the kind of sway that a president can have on the economy, but do I believe that he is lived up to the promises? No.
He came in and said you can't expect to have a different result with the same people. That was, in many ways, his seminal campaign focus. And all I see as far as economic stewardship are the guys that got us into this mess in the first place.
WALLACE: Honestly, did you watch any of the CNN debate with the Republicans?
WALLACE: Did you see anybody on the stage who you could envision voting for against Obama?
STEWART: I thought that in general, you know, their responses to things in terms of tax cuts being the magic bullet as to what it is -- so far, I haven't heard anything that appeals to my sense of, that intrigues me politically, or in any way that is different. What intrigued me about Obama was a statement that I thought he understood the corrosiveness of the system that existed, and I thought he was going to do more to blow the system up.
WALLACE: When is the last time you voted for a Republican for president?
STEWART: For president? H. W.
WALLACE: Against Michael Dukakis?
STEWART: That's right.
WALLACE: Really? How come?
STEWART: He seemed like a different -- there was an integrity about him that I respected greatly. And there's something about tiny people in helmets. I assume that part of this is to delegitimize criticism against Fox by suggesting that it's coming from a place of contrived political --
WALLACE: I'm just trying to understand you.
STEWART: Is that really true?
STEWART: Because here's the thing that surprises me about that. I've existed in this country forever. There have been people like me who satirize the political process and who have satirized -- what was it that Will Rogers said? How crazy is it when politicians are a joke and comedians are taken seriously?
WALLACE: That assumes a kind of -- and this is where I think you're wrong and you don't get it --
STEWART: That may be right.
WALLACE: -- is that there is not a single marching order. There is not some kind of command. There is not a talking point memo. I'm saying --
STEWART: Well, that I disagree with.
WALLACE: I am sitting here talking to Jon Stewart and I'm trying to get it, trying to understand you, and trying to see whether or not you recognize that what I believe is true, that there is as much bias the other side as you subscribe to Fox, and why you seem to go easy on that.
STEWART: I think that there is a -- probably a liberal bias that exists within the media that is because of the medium in which it exists. I think that the majority of people working in it probably hold liberal viewpoints, but I don't think that they are as relentlessly activist as the conservative movement that has risen up over the last 40 years.
And that movement has decided that they have been victims of a witch hunt. And to some extent they're right.
People on the right are called racists and they're called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with -- and homophobic and all those other things. And I think that that is absolutely something that they have a real right to be angry about and to feel that they have been vilified for those things. And I've been guilty of doing some of those things myself.
WALLACE: I accept your apology.
WALLACE: I want to thank you for coming on.
STEWART: Do you get me?
WALLACE: Well, you know what? When you come back we can explore this some more.
STEWART: All right.
WALLACE: And we validate.
STEWART: Still? You're a good man.
Thanks for taking the time to read my Diary :¬)
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