John Stewart: softball interviewer

Remember all that discussion about how Stewart totally gave a softball interview to Kerry? Well, he apparently did the same for Ari Fleischer, so there you go: not biased.

He made the point at the time of the Kerry interview that he’s looking to get laughs, not facts.

Which is true.

The Kerry interview mainly reflects badly on Kerry to my mind. The Daily Show is about the friendliest interivew environment anybody in the world could ask for and even then the only thing that kept Christmas in Cambodia from exploding in Kerry’s face was the fact that Stewart didn’t press the issue.

Maybe I’m just gay for Jon Stewart, but I don’t think his interview style is really a bad thing. I get far more out of one of Stewart’s interviews than I do from, say, Bill O’Reilly.

I don’t believe confrontational questions automatically mean answers, because they tend to put the person into defensive mode where they might not give you a true look at whatever they believe in.

I get more of a feel as to what people I disagree with from Stewart’s friendly questions that amount to “What do you think about <x> and why?” than O’Reilly-style “You’re wrong and this is why … so what do you think about that? … I’m sorry, I’m going to cut you off so I can tell you why you’re still wrong” method.

I honestly wish I could be more like Stewart when discussing politics with others I disagree with, really.

Have you ever seen Larry King?

The Walters’ Soft Filter.

McCullough- Uh, Carlson wasn’t accusing Stewart of bias.

Carlson’s point was that Stewart came on to yell at CNN for not doing hard enough journalism when Stewart softballs every controversial guest he has on.

That was Carlson’s point, but that wasn’t the point expressed here and online - that Stewart’s a filthy liberal.

Would yelling Tucker-style have gotten Fleischer to admit that “this White House [is] more restrictive with information than others have been”?

Yeah, but I thought Stewart’s response to that was fitting. He’s a comedian who runs a half-hour comedy show. That a real journalist is willing to even hypothetically use Stewart as a benchmark for his own work ethic is… well, sort of pathetic. I mean, he’s right–Stewart is not a hard-hitting interviewer. But so what? That’s sort of like having one of the NASA engineers responsible for the latest space shuttle disaster tell me that I couldn’t have done any better. That’s true, but I’m not even an engineer, so I’m not sure what that’s supposed to prove.

Sones- There’s validity to that, but there’s also validity for Carlson to complain that Stewart is asking other people to do what he doesn’t do. Stewart asks serious questions of most of his guests, it’s just he gladhands them. There’s nothing about Stewart’s format that prevents him from asking hard questions, it’s a choice Stewart makes.

You don’t need technical training to ask hard questions, so your NASA analogy doesn’t fit.

Stewart went the wrong direction in response to Carlson. Carlson’s point was a childish one, “Jonnie did it too!” If it’s bad it’s bad, if it’s good it’s good, and pointing out the failings of your accusers is crappy debate.

That just continues to showcase how Carlson still doesn’t get what the actual point is, which is that what Carlson considers “hard journalism” is just asking confrontational questions meant more to get the host’s beliefs across than actually ask something they want seriously answered.

STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. And we’re left out there to mow our lawns.

BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we’re too rough on them when they make mistakes.

STEWART: No, no, no, you’re not too rough on them. You’re part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that’s like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.

Look at Carlson’s question to Stewart about the primaries in which Kerry won: “Is he the best the Democrats can do?”. That’s less of a legitimate question and more partisan spin, and exactly what Stewart is complaining about.

Well, again, I agree that it’s bad to ask softball interview questions if you are a journalist. The point is that Stewart isn’t a journalist. His criteria for a good interview is “was it entertaining and funny?” Maybe not all of his interviews hit that mark, but I don’t see why I (or anyone) should expect them to be hard-hitting news. And I don’t think that there is any validity at all in Carlson complaining that Stewart is asking other people to do what he doesn’t do. Do you have to be a journalist to advocate good journalism?

John Stewart has a national televisional program which Presidential candidates go on. Stewart didn’t ask Kerry about funny little anecdotes, he asked him regular old fashioned softball questions. Did you think Stewart’s interview of Kerry was intended to be entertaining and funny? No, it was an easy opportunity for Kerry to get out his message.

What if Carlson says he isn’t a journalist? Oh, snap, now he gets a free pass too. Why should you expect a show that has a guy wearing a bowtie on it to be hard hitting news?

Why is your guess at audience expectations relevant? Why is your guess at host goals relevant?

Stewart has the means to ask hard questions. You don’t need some sort of magic journalist badge. Why doesn’t he?

Stewart has the means to ask hard questions. You don’t need some sort of magic journalist badge. Why doesn’t he?

Stewarts show is a comedy show. On a comedy network. It has skits of fake news and everything. He shouldn’t be asking hardball questions of anyone. It isn’t that kind of show. Is this really hard to comprehend?

Why do they have John Kerry on then? It’s comedy, shouldn’t their guests be impersonators or comedians or puppets or something?

If you have the means to do something, it’s a bit odd to tell other people they should be doing it.

Why have anyone? Their format has been the same forever. Politicians are allowed to go do things that don’t require putting them on the spot and make them answer whatever spittle flinging vitriol is popular at the moment.

Because he’s on a 24-hour news network, hosting a show that advertises itself as a meaningful debate of social and political issues. Stewart hosts a half-hour comedy show on Comedy Central. Stewart doesn’t claim to be a journalist, and Comedy Central doesn’t try to sell what he does as journalism. Are you honestly saying that it’s perfectly reasonable to hold both of these people to the same journalistic standard?

And by the way–yes, if Carlson wanted to bill Crossfire as a fake debate show, then I’d have a lot less of a problem with it.

Because it’s a comedy show about news and politics. At this point, I get the idea that you are being deliberately obtuse.

There is an absolute break between the funny parts and the interview.

Whenever you have a Presidential candidate on your show, you lose the “Oh, I’m just the fake news guy” card.

Euri- And that’s the problem. If Crossfire asked Kerry the tough questions he wouldn’t go on. He’d go do the Daily Show and get a nice easy way to get out whatever soundbite he wanted to put out.

Way to completely, utterly evade the issue.


In this world of decreasing journalistic integrity, why the hell are we so quick to start giving credentials to people that DON’T EVEN FUCKING WANT THEM?

The Daily Show is a witty COMEDY SHOW. It’s news is sometimes true, sometimes false, but always intended to be at least funny. Always. That is what they do, that is their format.

We used to have a show here in Seattle that came on after SNL called Almost Live! It had a skit format, like SNL. Local comedians were the mainstays, but a lot of community people would also appear. Sometimes, the governer would come on. I also remember a couple of state senators and I think Patty Murray even came on once. The point, is that they weren’t there to give a hard hitting interview. They were there to give a comedic performance.

Of course, the Daily Show interviews aren’t there solely as comedic performance, but neither do they serve some deep journalistic purpose. That is your own bizarro perception that has been corrected on this forum multiple times, and by the Daily Show itself.

His name is Jon.