Jon Stewart has directed a new movie coming out soon, so he granted an interview to David Marchese of The New York Times Magazine, who bowed to this valuable and "eloquent" voice, eager to receive his nuggets of wisdom. Midway through, Stewart claimed "The enemy is noise. The goal is clarity. It’s not that I have one particular goal, and I sit and design things. It’s not Fox News, which does have one particular goal, which is purely ideological and partisan and has been remarkably successful."
So Marchese asked:
Fox, and Bill O’Reilly in particular, used to be your great foils. Now the emblematic Fox personalities are Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. What does their ascendance represent for the network?
I think they’re just the next level. As things progress, to get the same dopamine hit, you have to push it further. Although O’Reilly pushed it pretty far. The question was always, Why would you talk to him? Why do you have him on the show if you can’t destroy him? If you want to talk about the worst legacy of The Daily Show, it was probably that.
That everyone you spoke to who you disagreed with had to be Jim Cramer’d?
That’s right. That’s the part of it that I probably most regret. Those moments when you had a tendency, even subconsciously, to feel like, ‘‘We have to live up to the evisceration expectation.’’ We tried not to give something more spice than it deserved, but you were aware of, say, what went viral. Resisting that gravitational force is really hard.
(Marchese explained "Cramered" as defined by a 2009 interview when "Stewart took him to task for what he saw as dishonesty around the 2008 financial meltdown. Cramer did not acquit himself well.")
It sounds like Stewart regrets putting O'Reilly on his show, and not so much that he played rougher to meet the expectations of "evisceration." Fox News hosts are a "dopamine hit" to damaged brains, but Jon Stewart and his left-wing comrades in late-night "comedy" are the "rational" ones.
When asked if Trump says controversial things to manipulate the system, Stewart answered: "I think he understands very well — and the Right understands very well — that undermining the credibility of the institutions that people look to for help defining and making sense of reality is the key to bending reality to your will."
This is too clever by half -- Stewart's satirical fake news sought to undermine the credibility of Republican presidents and congressional leaders and popular conservative media shows. Half the country looks to these people for help defining "reality."
PS: When asked during this round of movie-promoting interviews to discuss George Floyd's death, Stewart said "It feels ridiculous. But what doesn’t feel ridiculous is to continue to fight for nuance and precision and solutions."
Then Mr. "Nuance and Precision" bizarrely claimed segregation never ended in America: "The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation is legally over, but it never ended."