In the past I’ve made my distaste for MSM fact-checkers pretty clear. No one owns the truth, no one has the right to declare what is and isn’t true. Certainly, some things are objectively true, but too often these self-appointed MSM fact-checkers are used by others in the mainstream media as cover to pretend they’re objective as they intentionally and dishonestly taint our side as liars. See: panels, death. As Mickey Kaus writes, Politifact “has no place in an open, honest democratic debate.” I couldn’t agree more. Furthermore, the more our side can work neutralize them prior to 2012, the safer our democracy will be. What sites like these can be useful for, however, is a place for research and analysis that allows you to come to your own conclusion.
And so in the case of Jon Stewart’s repeated claims on last week’s Fox News Sunday that “every poll” proves that Fox News viewers are the “most consistently misinformed,” the Daily Show host was either misinformed himself or just making something up to save his uncharacteristically defensive ass from a near-trainwreck of an interview that likely did his brand little good:
On the June 19, 2011, edition of Fox News Sunday, comedian Jon Stewart — host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central — sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace. Many readers asked us to review one of his claims. …
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.
Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from worldpublicopinion.org, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology.
The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are “consistently” misinformed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that “every poll” shows that result. So we rate his claim False.
What’s Stewart’s excuse for repeating this false claim over and over and over … I was joking? After all, something else Stewart told Chris Wallace over and over is, “I’m not an activist. I am a comedian:”
“But the thing that you will never understand…is that Hollywood, yeah, they’re liberal, but that’s not their primary motivating force. I’m not an activist. I am a comedian.” …
Denying that there was a deliberate liberal bias in the mainstream media, Mr Stewart maintained that: ‘The bias of the mainstream media is towards sensationalism, conflict and laziness.’
How are we supposed to take anyone seriously who claims MSNBC is only attempting to be an activist network but hasn’t quite reached that goal yet. Oh wait, we’re not not supposed to take Jon Stewart seriously — that’s how he gets away with heckling smugly from the cheap seats while at the same time inoculating himself from having to step into the arena of accountability.
‘The embarrassment is that I am given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media tells them.”
Does the clip below sound like someone embarrassed by the credibility he’s given … who sees himself as a comedian first? Or does this sound like someone seeking credibility as a political player … even though he got owned:
Does this second clip like someone who doesn’t see himself as an activist?
What about this appearance?
Stewart is smart and talented and funny. No question. But he’s also dishonest. He wields his comedy like a partisan bludgeon, is well aware the MSM uses him to affect the news narrative, and is just as aware that the same MSM aids and abets him in choosing who will forever be defined as stupid, crazy, or racist — and those monikers only ever seem to attach themselves to conservatives, don’t they?
Stewart’s claim to be anything other than a left-wing partisan political activist who uses comedy as a deliver device is, to be generous, just another false statement.
How many times does a scorpion have to sting our side before we treat it like a scorpion?