Jon Stewart entered Bill O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” late this afternoon for the first time in more than five years.
Before and after the interview, there was light, friendly banter, but when the cameras started rolling, Stewart told O’Reilly how he really feels about Fox News — a frequent target on Stewart’s “The Daily Show” — spending five minutes challenging the very premise of Fox being a news network. His sparring partner, O’Reilly, objected point-by-point during the spirited debate.
While Glenn Beck was a few floors away getting ready for his FNC show, Stewart was arguing the hugely popular Fox News host is what’s wrong with the hugely popular Fox News Channel.
Stewart told O’Reilly, “You have become, in some ways, the voice of sanity here, which is like being the thinnest kid at fat camp.”
“Here’s what Fox News has done… they have taken reasonable concerns about this president and about this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao. Explain to me why that is the narrative of your network?” asked Stewart.
O’Reilly, shot back: “That is the narrative of a couple of guys, a Republican Sean Hannity, and a guy, Glenn Beck, who’s basically everyman.”
O’Reilly and Stewart chatted for about 35 minutes, we’re told. Two segments aired tonight. More will run tomorrow on “The Factor.” And the entire, unedited interview will be posted tomorrow night on FoxNews.com.
• Related: The LATimes’ Matea Gold was at Fox News during the interview and talks with O’Reilly and EVP Bill Shine who says, “Jon is entitled to his criticisms… We both make our living off the 1st Amendment. We invited him on, and what other place would allow him to do that? That’s what makes us No. 1. We invite our critics on and let them criticize us to our face.” Plus, Shine says, “It’s good TV.”