Jon Stewart couldn’t let his Sunday appearance on Fox News Channel pass without launching a withering commentary about it on his own “Daily Show.”
Stewart opened his show Monday night on Comedy Central by criticizing FNC for the way his interview – with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” – was edited for broadcast. Stewart claimed the interview was edited selectively to make him look bad, although, since the man is a comedian, it wasn’t certain he was sincere in his complaint or just trying to get a laugh.
“I suggest you look at the unedited version on-line where my emotional states don’t seem to change so arbitrarily,” Stewart said. “The arguments are a little clearer and a little less like a scene from ‘A Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’!”
Stewart said the “Fox News Sunday” version of the interview omitted a “gotcha” moment where Stewart felt Wallace admitted that FNC is deliberately biased. “The unedited version, which is on the Web, had what I thought was the takeaway moment of the entire interview where Chris Wallace, one of the more respected individuals at Fox, basically gives away the game,” Stewart said.
He then played this portion of the interview in which Wallace said, “I believe that we’re the counterweight [to NBC News]. I think that they have a liberal agenda and I think we tell the other side of the story.” Of course, on Monday’s “Daily Show,” Stewart used this statement to mercilessly taunt FNC.
Here’s our take: Stewart has worked in television long enough to know that, in the end, the final “narrative,” or edit, of any pre-recorded talk-show appearance belongs to the network which controls the show. In other words, Stewart expressing shock about how his segment was edited was like Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) in “Casablanca” saying he was “shocked” to find gambling going on in Rick’s Café.
We’re sure plenty of guests on “The Daily Show,” or any other show for that matter, have watched their appearances later at home and found them disappointing in some way; it’s a common reaction.
Of course, it’s Stewart’s right to have fun with it on his own show, especially because, as he emphasized repeatedly on the Fox “Sunday” show, his primary goal is to get laughs, not effect change in the way other media organizations conduct their business.
And certainly, his audience roared and roared at his recap of his visit to FNC’s Washington studios this past weekend.