“Where were the real reporters on this story?” Â — Jon Stewart
Last week, on an episode of the fake news program The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart, in a refreshing display of chop-busting mockery, expressed his utter amazement at the ineptitude of journalists in the so-called “mainstream media.” (To see the video of Stewart’s very funny segment, click on the photo above.) Specifically, he was stunned by the impressive undercover work of two twenty-somethings who did what the major media wouldn’t do: expose ACORN‘s reprehensible willingness to abet tax fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, and underage prostitution — all courtesy of the American taxpayers’ largesse. In stark contrast to the young journalists, the major media — New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc. — “got nothing,” as Stewart put it. With a chinchilla coat and a cheesy cover story, two journalistic novices influenced the machinations of government, and Stewart jumped on the YouTube sensation.
By acknowledging the importance of the ACORN story and pointing out the major media’s neglect of it, Stewart differentiated himself from his longtime leftist cohorts in the media — while also going for an easy laugh. To his credit, Stewart has shown that he can be left-leaning but still honest about what matters (more so than his “real” news competition, anyway).
This is not the first time Stewart has shown a willingness to stray from the leftwing party line. He is known for engaging ideological allies and foes alike in thought-provoking discussions, which he punctuates with (occasionally delightfully lowbrow)Â humor and wry observations.
In October 2004, for instance, Stewart made a memorableÂ appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, telling Tucker Carlson and Democratic mouthpiece Paul Begala to “stop hurting America.” Stewart accused the duo of being dishonest, ignoring journalistic ethics, and engaging in “partisan hackery.”
A number of moderates and conservatives have praised Stewart’s willingness to give the other side a fair shake, including Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Likewise, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton told New York Magazine: “He’s got his perspective, but he’s been fair.”