Media critics Howard Kurtz and David Zurawik just can’t stop throwing stones at comedian Jon Stewart from their glassiest of houses at “fair and balanced” Fox News.
August 2, 2015

Media critics Howard Kurtz and David Zurawik just can’t stop throwing stones at comedian Jon Stewart from their glassiest of houses at “fair and balanced” Fox News.

Last week, Kurtz and Zurawik clucked their tongues over Stewart’s interview with President Obama. Today, they clutched pearls over revelations that Stewart “secretly” met with President Obama.

As Stewart noted in his own riff on the topic (below), the “secret” meeting was in the White House visitor log. The New York Times reported that Stewart entered the White House grounds where the public tours begin and shook hands with several tourists first.

But Kurtz and Zurawik think Stewart should have disclosed his meetings.

I don’t think I’d have a problem with this level of conscientiousness if Zurawik and Kurtz were not ignoring the ever-present and ever-unacknowledged elephant in every Fox News room.

Where, for example, was Fox News’ disclosure about Roger Ailes’ private meeting with Donald Trump before he announced his candidacy? Did “objective” reporter Carl Cameron ever reveal – until the documentary “Outfoxed” did - that his wife campaigned for George W. Bush? Watch Cameron discuss it and suck up to Bush, below, in an Outfoxed clip. Disclosure: I worked as a researcher for that film.

Nevertheless, Zurawik ignored Fox's relationship with the GOP and accused Stewart of being “more and more and more a tool, really, of the Obama administration.” He added that whether “you’re an actor, you’re a writer, you’re a poet, you’re a songwriter, if you serve a politician’s ideological agenda, you are a propagandist and that’s what he’s doing. So these meetings matter tremendously.” Later, Zurawik said, “Shifty is probably the nicest word I can use for Stewart.”

By the way, isn't repeatedly denouncing Fox-critic Stewart serving Fox's agenda?

Kurtz argued that Stewart’s visit with Obama wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he had disclosed the meetings rather than “keeping it secret and having it come out as he’s about to hang it up this week.”

“He positions himself as the truth-teller against the prevaricating pols and pundits while he himself, in this case, I think at least it looks like he’s getting spun like everybody else,” Kurtz continued.

Remind me again: is it Jon Stewart or Fox News that claims to be a “fair and balanced” news network?

By the way, there was a bit of discussion about Stewart’s revelation that he also took part in a secret meeting with Roger Ailes. Kurtz pooh-poohed that because he disclosed it in an on-the-record interview with Ailes while Kurtz was working for The Daily Beast. But that's really beside the point. If Stewart's secret meeting with Obama makes him a secret Obama tool, wouldn't the secret meeting with Ailes make him a secret Ailes tool, too?

And was there also a secret Ailes phone call?

In his monologue, Stewart said, “There was one particular meeting that was actually secret until an intrepid pre-Fox Howie Kurtz blew the whistle on it.”

But near the end of the same monologue Stewart said about the many people he has met with, “Only with one of those people has a phone call ever ended with quote, this conversation never happened and if you say it did, I’ll deny it and it wasn’t the ****ing president.” While Stewart spoke, he nodded to a photo of Death with a caption that read, “I am Roger Ailes.”

So was Stewart merely saying "phone call" when he meant "meeting" or was there another, previously undisclosed discussion that even Kurtz did not know about?

I report, you can decide. Watch the clip above, from this Sunday's MediaBuzz, and below from July 29th episode of The Daily Show and the 2004 Outfoxed.

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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