Jon Stewart and “Light Fluff”

On the June 19th edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart.

Wallace called attention to Stewart’s characterization of Fox News as “a biased organization relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda under the rubric of being a news organization.” Wallace then asked Stewart if he was willing to say the same thing about the mainstream media — i.e., that the mainstream media was pushing a liberal agenda under the rubric of being a news organization.  Stewart ridiculously insisted that the mainstream media does not pursue a liberal agenda in partisan fashion; instead, he said, they pursued sensationalism and laziness:


Wallace: How do you explain the fact that [The New York Times] would ask their readers to go through the Palin emails, inconsequential as they turned out to be, but 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.”


Of course, “light fluff” can also have bias.  And it does.  Although Stewart denies being a partisan, his own “light fluff” consistently mocks conservatives rather than liberals.  He is not an equal opportunity comedian.

But he insists he is.  “My comedy is informed by an ideological background, there’s no question about that,” Stewart said “There’s no question I don’t tell the full story…But not based on a purely ideological partisan agenda”. Wallace challenged Stewart, saying that he pushes more of an agenda that he pretends to, Stewart defended his position by saying “But it’s about absurdity and corruption.”

In a sense it is about absurdity and corruption: Stewart’s corruption is the act of veiling his own liberal activism in the light fluff of absurdity.

Amir graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Animation Degree in 2010 and was awarded a Certificate of Merit by ASIFA-Hollywood in 2009. He is currently finishing his Master’s Degree. He is also the creator of the cartoon representing this article.

  • geez

    I wonder how many conservative writers The Daily Show employs?

    • trickyblain

      Zero if they want any ratings. Did you ever see the "Half-hour Comedy Hour"?

      • FrankS

        Yep, facts are not all that funny.

        • trickyblain

          They can be. If you take the number of people who take Glen Beck seriously, a factual number, it's pretty funny.

  • Tommy Jr

    Stick with drawing pictures.

  • Matt

    This column misses the point Stewart was trying to make, and he has repeatedly made on his show. The vast majority of Fox News' content is driven by a partisan bias. While MSNBC has attempted to play off the success that method of entertainment (note: not news) has brought Fox News, Stewart said that in general the media do not act based on a partisan ideology in the same manner (level of biased-activism) Fox News does. Stewart does not allow his bias to drive his show in the same manner (or to the same level) that Fox does, either. In other words, Fox stands alone and is unwilling to admit it. And that is an issue.
    For those of you who wish to be more informed than Fox News viewers are, you can trip over the Daily Show website and catch the first two episodes this week.

    • artcohn

      I watch both Fox and MSNBC. There is no question that both are prejudiced, Fox right, MSNBC left. But there is no question to me that MSNBC commentators spew much more left-wing nonsense, than Fox commentators spew right-wing nonsense . In fact, unlike MSNBC which is unanamously left-wing, Fox often has commenttors with centrist and left- wing views on their shows.

    • FrankS

      The MSM assumes it is either unbiased or "fair". But by their word selection and choice of stories shows their bias.

      MSNBC acknowledges their bias. Fox does too but presents plenty of opposing views.

      Conservatism is based on reality, liberalism is based on fantasy.

    • jsdel

      Are you serious? Can you tell the difference between commentary and real news? Please provide one example of bias on Fox News. Not talking about opinion commentators like Beck, O'Reilly and Hannity. Straight news which the lame stream media pretends to report.

      • Sean

        Ummm, first off, your exemption of opinion shows is absolutely absurd. Considering prime time runs from 5 pm to 12 pm, Hannity and O'Reilley loop once during that period, and Beck just once, that is FIVE OUT OF SEVEN HOURS DEVOTED TO OPINION! If I handed you a news paper that was 7 pages and 5 were editorial, would you call it news? You don't have to answer that.

        Second, Wallace himself said FOX acts as a counter-balance… is there another example needed, I have plenty!

  • Sean

    There is a significant difference between a BIAS, and an AGENDA. A BIAS, is a lens on how one views the world, and in this case the news. An agenda is intentional pursuit of a political goal. You have confused the two. Stewart acknowledged the bias, but indicates their AGENDA is toward sensationalism.

    • FrankS

      Close but because of their bias the MSM perhaps unintentionally persues a political end.

      Sensationalism (often twisted) at the expense of conservatism.

      • Sean

        Intent matters!

      • Nunya

        The MSM has a bias, and an agenda. Look at how they drool over our idiot-in-chief, but any conservative candidate is a fool, or a dolt, or is simply dimwitted. There is a leftist agenda being played out with the mainstream media that is obvious to anyone who isn't a part of it. For Stewart to say that there isn't an agenda or that it's simply "fluff" is to say that he's a fool–or he's carrying the torch for those in charge. I don't think there's anything unintentional about it.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    In my eyes, Stewart is a total failure. He ain't funny and that's what he is supposed to be. That's only in my eyes. His relative popularity, alas, shows us the saddest fact of all. We have a large percentage of contemporary Americans who are dolts and this is why the wrong people get elected and the whole country is in decline.

  • trickyblain

    The illustrator should learn the difference between "having a bias" and "having a dedicated ideology."

    They are not synonymous,

    • FrankS

      Isn't a bias a dedicated ideology?

  • voted against carter

    Jon Stewart IS a TYPICAL LIBRATARD pretending to be non biased.

    As is the REST of the LAME-STREAM media.

    To bad for them that EVERYONE knows it now.

    Oh,.. and he is funny about 2% of the time.

    • Sean

      “Libtaratard” “Lame-stream media”? Was there a point here or did you just want to toss out a few labels to accompany an otherwise redundant post?

      How about “gotcha journalists”; “MSLSD”; “the drive-by media” or some other half-witted phrase that substitutes for a coherent point?

  • Harold J. Harris

    While I am not a terribly strong critic of Stewart—I find much of his stuff reasonably funny without being all that ideological—on occasion he betrays a marked propensity for pushing along some piece of left-wing propaganda without fully realizing or perhaps even understanding it. A case in point was his lame (and really pretty stupid) defence of the rapper Common and Obama's invitation of Common to the White House. Apart from Common being only semi-literate, he had vigorously defended probably the most notorious of all the cop killers and without the slightest sign of his actually reading up on the incident in which Mumia Abu-Jamal had cold-bloodedly murdered the cop. The best that Stewart could do by way of defending Common was to say repeatedly that all that counted was that Common must have believed in Abu-Jamal's innocence irrespective of the voluminous documentation—not to mention the jury trial and several judicial appeals that had no trouble in deternining his guilt. All in all Stewarts performance (on Bill O'Reilly's program) was one of the most disgraceful I have ever witnessed.

    • Sean

      I think reasonable minds can differ. Common is regarded as one of the most socially conscious rappers out there. I actually enjoy his music, but as someone familiar with criminal law, I do remember hearing in college about the arguments that both defense counsel's were asleep at the wheel on account of the racial implications. May this be a piece of liberal propoganda? Perhaps, but it is Common's right to believe the lie. As such, that doesn't make him a per se endorser of violence against police. So the whole "uproar" was garbage. Especially when you think that there are so many others that have been invited to the White House with less than stellar backgrounds.

  • Sean

    Because he has been preaching the same doomsday conspiracy theories since he came to Fox, based off of the same rewrite of history.

    • Maxie

      I've rarely ever seen Beck so you've left me a lot of blanks to be filled in. What history was rewritten and in what way? What "conspiracy theories"? I assume you have watched him enough to be able to elaborate a little bit. Thanks.

      • Sean

        Specifically, I remember following an incident involving Christine O'Donnell, where Beck went on the attack on the establishment clause of the constitution. His rewrite here involved a misrepresentation of how the term "separation of church and state" evolved. It was not a progressive movement. It was contained in a letter from Thomas Jefferson (he often cites these people when convenient, but ignores them when detrimental to his world-view).

        As for conspiracies, his tying of communism to Rockefeller Center was funny, but dumb. And in general, his 6 degrees of Nazism that he often draws on his chalk boards are always worth an eye roll.

  • rulieg

    I don't know…I find even the Fox opinion programming less ideological than MSNBC's. and of course MSNBC doesn't even try to offer any straight-news shows like Bret Baier's wonderful show on Fox.

    also, when you watch Fox you get to see things like Bill O'Reilly interviewing Lupe Fiasco. I'd hardly call Lupe a tool of the Man, would you?