In a cover story in New York magazine, Chris Smith goes behind the scenes at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and examines its influence in the popular culture.
Along the way, Smith gets two prominent figures in the news media to weigh in on Stewart:
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams:
“Jon has chronicled the death of shame in politics and journalism,” says Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor who is a frequent Daily Show guest. “Many of us on this side of the journalism tracks often wish we were on Jon’s side. I envy his platform to shout from the mountaintop. He’s a necessary branch of government.”
Fox News host Glenn Beck:
“Jon Stewart is very funny, and if I were in his position, I’d be doing a lot of the same things. In fact, a lot of the jokes I’ve heard before, either from my staff or myself,” Beck says by e-mail. “He takes things out of context (no worse than most of the other mainstream media) and is more interested in being funny than trying to actually understand the key messages in [my] show… But I don’t think he’s looking for a Pulitzer… People like Jon, his ratings are good. Good for him, keep doing what he’s doing. People seem to like watching my show as well, and hopefully that continues for both of us for a very long time.”
Stewart also had some ‘kind’ words for FNC:
“The thing that shocked me the most when I first met reporters was the people who would step aside and say, ‘Boy, I wish I could say what you’re saying.’ You have a show! You are a network anchor! Whaddya mean you can’t say it?” Stewart says. “It’s one reason I admire Fox. They’re great broadcasters. Everything is pointed, purposeful. You follow story lines, you fall in love with characters: ‘Oh, that’s the woman who’s very afraid of Black Panthers! I can’t wait to see what happens next. Oh, look, it’s the ex-alcoholic man who believes that Woodrow Wilson continues to wreak havoc on this country! This is exciting!'”