Jon Stewart Talks Media’s Role in Election Outcome, and the “Racist” claims
John Stewart sat down with New York Time TV Critic, James Poniewozik and Chris Smith, the author of The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, for a new interview about America Post election.
He was asked about Obama’s comments that Fox News rhetoric was partially the cause for Trump’s win, and standard public arguments that the lack of true journalism by CNN was partially the cause.
Stewart doesn’t think U.S. media outlets, specifically 24-hour news networks like CNN and Fox News, are responsible for Trump’s win, despite his issues with them.
“Trump didn’t happen because CNN sucks,” Stewart said. “CNN just sucks. He happened because that’s the push and pull of this nation at all times.”
Stewart also characterized the difference between CNN and Fox News as the distinction between “weathermen” (CNN, reporting on events as they happen, according to Stewart) and “climate scientists” (Fox News, Stewart argued).
“[Fox News understands] that they have an intention and their entire system is focused on creating a methodology to make that intention resonate and to be able to articulate it explicitly and to place that out there,” he explained. “It’s a brilliant plan. CNN is just like, ‘He tweeted about the flag!’ Zoom. ‘We’re losing our citizenship!’ Zoom. And they’re not paying attention. Fox, though, is standing behind them. They’re an organization that understands how to control weather and climate. Whereas the other one just thinks, ‘Who was that guy who was Trump’s manager? The one that got fired? Hire him.’ The only ones who don’t know that are CNN. CNN are like, ‘We don’t know what happened here?’ It’s like, ‘We threw a ball and you ran after it.’ What do you mean you don’t know what happened? … It’s one of the reasons why Fox anchors are so good at what they do. They’re empowered from the top to express editorial authority. If you watch those shows, you are watching people express to you what they feel is important, where they place emphasis. You are watching people conduct information percussively with amplification and different rhythms. … That’s why [Chris] Wallace was such a great debate moderator, because he’s been trained in the art of editorial authority. The greatest thing that [Roger] Ailes did was he devalued editorial authority from any organization but his own.”
Stewart argued that people shouldn’t demonize those who supported the person they oppose, insisting, “Not everybody that voted for Trump is a racist.”
“I don’t give a f— what any of you say to me,” he continued. “You can yell it at me, you can tweet it at me. They’re not all racists. Or they’re not giving tacit support to a racist system. We all give tacit support to exploitative systems as long as they don’t affect us that badly.”
Stewart pointed to the many people who own iPhones as an example of his point. Talking about the child labor and the pain and suffering and low unsurvivable wages that go into making the things we use like iPhones, etc without thinking twice or protesting against it.
“Guess how those are made, guess who makes them? … It’s not different, we all do that. This has to stop. This idea that we’re all … that our team is perfect and the other team is demons.”
Stewart also commented on the false claim by people in the news networks and regular everyday citizens stating that the majority of Trump supporters are racists.
“And I’ll say this, I know a lot of first responders. I spent a lot of time in that community. A shitload of them voted for Trump. The same people that voted for Trump ran into burning buildings and saved whoever the f— they could no matter what color they were, no matter what religion and they would do it again tomorrow. So, if you want to sit and tell me that those people are giving tacit approval to an exploitative system ― I say, ‘OK, and would you put your life on the line for people who aren’t like you? Because they did.”
Stewart went on to say that despite his jokes leading up to the election that this would be the last one, Trump “can’t ruin everything.” He said people just need to calm down and end all this whining about the election and the “safe space” cries.
“We’re still the same country,” he said. “Obama didn’t change and fix everything, and Trump can’t ruin everything. If we’re that vulnerable to one guy … that guy? That’s how we’re going out? This incredible experiment in liberty and democracy that we fought and died for is going to go out with that guy? That can’t be how this story ends.”