Fox News Sunday Edits Out Jon Stewart Criticizing Fox Execs Over Bill Sammons Email 'Marching Orders'
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(Above is the unedited web version of what Stewart said to Wallace)
As everybody knows by now, Chris Wallace had Jon Stewart as a guest on Sunday in a weird attempt to paint him as a left wing, librul media political activist since Jon so often uses Fox News segments as a punching bag on his show. Stewart is smarter than most TV interviewers while being a comedian first and foremost so I'm not sure why Wallace took that route with him. Maybe he received some marching orders to try and make him look bad from the high command of Fox News? OK, I doubt that, but it just was foolish. Stewart easily dispatched the point Wallace was trying to drive home, but I bet Jon didn't expect to see selective edits made of his remarks by the FNS crew.
Speaking with host Chris Wallace, Stewart referenced emails from Fox News vice president and DC managing editor Bill Sammon to bolster his case that Fox News resembles "ideological regimes" who receive "marching orders." Stewart told Wallace that Fox News "reminds me of, you know -- you know, ideological regimes. They can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders." Stewart then said "and if you want me to go through Bill Sammon's emails" but was cut off by Wallace.
Stewart was referencing a series of leaked emails that Media Matters released showing Sammon slanting his bureau's reporting. In one email, Sammon ordered his news staff to cast doubt on established climate science. In another, Sammon directed staff not to use the phrase "public option," but instead the GOP-friendly "government option" and similar phrases. Sammon also sent emails highlighting "Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists" in his 1995 autobiography and slanting Fox's coverage of President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech.
But viewers watching Fox News Sunday on-air wouldn't have heard Stewart's reference to Sammon because it didn't appear on air. Stewart's reference instead appears in the "unedited" interview that Fox News posted online.
The following is a transcript of Fox News Sunday's conversation with Stewart. In bold and caps is the portion of that conversation that was cut from the portion that aired on the show.
STEWART: You can't understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that's the soup you swim in. And I appreciate that. And I understand that. It reminds me of, you know -- you know, in ideological regimes, they can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders. AND IF YOU WANT ME TO GO THROUGH BILL SAMMON'S EMAILS AND --
WALLACE: DO YOU THINK I'VE EVER -- How do you explain me?
STEWART: OH I THINK YOU DO A NICE JOB. AND I'VE TOLD YOU THAT ON THE SHOW. I THINK YOU'RE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING --
WALLACE: Do you think I get marching orders?
STEWART: I think that you are here in some respects to bring a credibility and an integrity to an organization that might not otherwise have it, without your presence. So, you are here as a counterweight to Hannity, let's say, or you are here as a counterweight to Glenn Beck, because otherwise, it's just pure talk radio and it doesn't establish the type of political player it wants to be.
Here's what FOX aired on FOX News Sunday:
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It's subtly done. Just a few seconds in one place and you have a different segment entirely. Even the online transcript didn't carry the missing words. I thought the entire Jon Stewart segment was choppy and edited poorly, but now I understand why.
And Wallace didn't stop there. Chris also tried to paint Stewart as a racist for doing a Herman Cain impersonation.
WALLACE: You're planning a remake of "Amos 'n' Andy"?
Sorry Chris, that was really weak.
And even more damning, he admitted that Fox News is on its own side or "one' side of the news by using a Diane Sawyer report:
DIANE SAWYER, "ABC WORLD NEWS": If a stranger walking down the street or riding the bus does not seem to be a U.S. citizen, is it all right for the police to stop and question him? Well, today, the governor of Arizona signed a law that requires police to do just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But that isn't what the law requires them to do. In fact, the law says the only way that you can stop somebody as part of a lawful enforcement stop, you can't just say, hey, you're walking down the street exactly as she suggested. It has to be because there's a broken taillight or they're loitering, or they're do something else.
Don't you think she should have mentioned that?
STEWART: Sure. Yes. No, I think you're right. I think we should have more full context and more of the types of things that you're talking about.
But I don't understand how that's purely a liberal or conservative bias. That's, like I said, sensationalist and somewhat lazy.
But I don't understand how that's partisan. The embarrassment is that I'm given credibility in this world because of the disappointment that the public has in what the news media does.
WALLACE: I don't think --
STEWART: -- not because I have an ideological agenda.
WALLACE: I don't think our viewers are the least bit disappointed with us. I think our viewers think, finally, they're getting somebody who tells the other side of the story.
Rating are good for the news business on TV, but not for the NEWS itself. Wallace just admitted implicitly that Fox has its own agenda.
Stewart made the same observation on his Comedy Central show, Monday.
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Wallace: I think we're the counterweight. I think they (MSNBC) has a Liberal agenda and we tell the other side of the story.
Stewart: The other side of the story. We don't tell both sides of the story, we tell one side, the other side, the one we perceive is never told.
I wonder if Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik will comment on this?