Former Comedy Central Daily Show host Jon Stewart found himself on the receiving end of a leftist firestorm a day after he dared to criticize and call out their incessant focus on for President Donald Trump.
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Stewart said that the media made a “mistake” by characterizing former President Trump as a “supervillain,” arguing that the current issues in America are much greater than one singular.
“I think we make a mistake focusing this all on Donald Trump, as if he’s … Magneto and some incredible supervillain that has changed the very nature and temperature of the U.S.,” Stewart said.
“I think it’s a mistake to focus it all on this one individual and not to focus it more on the idea that power is its own reward whether it be in the financial industry or government. Power doesn’t cede itself, and unless we can figure out a better way to balance out that power … we’ll be vulnerable,” he added.
On Sunday night, MSNBC’S Mehdi Hasan said that Stewart fell “into the trap” of regarding the media as if it were a monolithic force, suggesting that he should have focused on the “right-wing media.”
“I’ve spent this year focusing on elemental issues, on Democracy, on climate, on the economy, on COVID,” asserted Hasan. “Fox has spent it on critical race theory and Dr. Seuss.”
Jon Stewart has taken aim at the media saying they do a “terrible job at de-escalation.” But is it fair to lump all media together? Or is this a right-wing problem? @mehdirhasan & @AymanM discuss: pic.twitter.com/heyLrUwY0T
— The Mehdi Hasan Show (@MehdiHasanShow) October 18, 2021
On Twitter, the attacks against Stewart generated from NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen, who said that Stewart sounded “lost” and “inarticulate.”
I watched this entire interview with Jon Stewart (can’t find a clip of the whole thing.) https://t.co/tptJbEEpyj Many of you will probably disagree, but to me he sounds lost. Surprisingly inarticulate, no clear POV, dismissive of the asymmetry in our politics— and a minimizer.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) October 17, 2021
People only piled on from there, scolding Stewart for his alleged “both sides” rhetoric and not offering much that would benefit the leftist cause.
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) October 17, 2021
Absolutely. Stewart lost the plot before 2016 and has seemed like a rudderless scold. (I think it was a fairly big loss at the time, actually). https://t.co/GBRvZhQmjB
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) October 18, 2021
This is dead-on. Stewart became a both-sides zealot long ago, and the resurgence of fascism in the country has done nothing to dissuade this. It’s also why his Church of the First Responders ignores obvious, egregious, systematic harms by cops & their enablers. https://t.co/LFP4DypZKe
— Anil Dash (@anildash) October 18, 2021
He’s a comedian who played a political journalist on TV (quite well), but now that he’s attempting to be a real, serious journalist, it isn’t working. It’s not his thing. https://t.co/5ZwBHoNEIp
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) October 17, 2021
Jon Stewart generated left-wing ire this past June when he said the lab leak origin theory for the coronavirus pandemic had merit during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science. Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science,” Stewart said.
He later added:
“Oh my God, there’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask, the Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think? And then they ask those scientists, they’re like…’So, wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan respiratory coronavirus lab, how did this happen?’ And they’re like, ‘Uhh, a pangolin kissed a turtle?’”
“‘Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Penn. What do you think happened?’ I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean,” he said. “Or it’s the fucking chocolate factory! Maybe that’s it!”