Jon Stewart wouldn’t walk back his criticism of Fox News and stood by his claim that the cable channel is little more than a “propaganda delivery system” during an uncomfortable back-and-forth with host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
The “Daily Show” host takes nightly jabs at Fox News on his Comedy Central program, and said that, unlike most other mainstream outlets, Fox News demonstrates a calculated bias at almost every turn.
Mr. Wallace pushed back and asked Mr. Stewart if he sees MSNBC, the New York Times and other mainstream newspapers and news channels as being driven by a liberal bias, a charge frequently made by Bill O’Reilly and other popular Fox News personalities.
But it isn’t liberalism that drives the heavyweights of the media world, according to Mr. Stewart.
“The bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism … and laziness,” he said.
The interview was Mr. Stewart’s first appearance on a major Sunday morning talk show. During a 2004 appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire,” he famously called hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson “partisan hacks” and said the show was “hurting America.” The program was canceled four months later.
Mr. Stewart has appeared on other Fox News programs, including Mr. O’Reilly’s show. Mr. O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Mr. Wallace and other Fox hosts have also gone on Mr Stewart’s show.
While continuing his criticism of the channel as a whole, Mr. Stewart praised Mr. Wallace for being fair and for asking tough questions, calling him a “counterweight” to the more outspoken right-wing voices on Fox like Mr. Hannity and Glenn Beck and conceded that conservatives are often treated unfairly by the mainstream media.
“The [conservative movement] has decided that they have been victims of a witch hunt, and to some extent they’re right,” he said. “People on the right are called racist and they’re called things with an ease that I am uncomfortable with.”
He said members of the Tea Party have a right to be angry about those characterizations.
The comedian also said that he’s been largely disappointed by President Obama’s lack of ability to take on the Washington establishment and change the way government business is conducted. He also revealed that he has in the past supported Republicans and voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988 over Democrat Michael Dukakis.