In a scathing (and simultaneously stunning) report for Politico, journalist Darren Samuelsohn explains how President Obama actively worked to cultivate a warm and mutually beneficial relationship with comedian Jon Stewart.
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) July 28, 2015
Love Stewart’s jokes or hate them, he has proven to be a unique voice who is capable of turning in-the-weeds policy discussions into viral video sensations that the country is still talking about the next morning.
As the White House recognized, Stewart can, at times, be a more potent influence on policy than Obama himself. The 52-year-old funnyman is widely credited with changing how the government treated military veterans and Sept. 11 first responders and for canceling a hyper-partisan CNN talk show. His broadsides against President George W. Bush’s Iraq war and a series of Obama missteps had a searing effect on how Americans thought about Washington.
We all knew that the President had an affinity for these liberal news/entertainments shows (particularly the late night variety). I don’t think any of us could have imagined that the Obama team’s connections to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart ran as deep as the Politico story describes. What makes the story all the more damning (for both Obama and the supposedly clown-nosed Stewart) is that it comes not from a “right-wing website” but from the serious and left-leaning Politico.
Stewart has been criticized over the years for pretending to “just be a comedian” when the truth is that he has a serious effect on the national political mood because of his connection to America’s youth. Stewart has generally tried to laugh off these attacks by saying that “everyone knows” his show is just comedy and meant only as satire – some have taken to calling this Stewart’s effort at “putting on a clown nose.” The problem has been that while Stewart may believe this, his army of viewers seem to take his “reporting” deadly serious.
(John) McCain, for his part, said he thinks The Daily Show “had an effect in a more indirect way, but [it] certainly had an effect.”
“He talked to young people. Young people watch him. Young people vote,” McCain said. “So I don’t think that there’s any doubt that with his comedy” — the senator smiled and held up two fingers like quotation marks as he said ‘comedy’ — “that he had an effect on the workings of government.”
Now we know that for the last 7 years or so the Obama team has been working hard to help craft and mold their message for delivery by Comedy Central’s most popular figure. Not only that, but we now also know that Stewart has been surreptitiously visiting the White House through the years to meet with President Obama on days that the President would be delivering his own message to America.
While we conservatives may not be completely surprised by the news that Stewart helped craft the Obama message or that Obama was gently massaging sycophant at Comedy Central – the news should be a blow to Stewart’s fans. These are the people to whom Stewart was supposed to embody the anti-establishment nature of their personality. Now they are learning that Stewart (and they, his fans) ARE THE ESTABLISHMENT! They are the very people they thought Stewart was railing against. In fact, while the article notes that Stewart sometimes attacks the administration, the most effective example they can produce is a story where Stewart mocks Obama for believing that Republicans are trustworthy! On the surface it may seem like an attack on Obama, but in reality it’s arguing that Obama was naïve and the Republicans were evil!
That’s hardly an attack on the President.
The truth is as simple as the story seems to imply. President Obama and Jon Stewart engaged in a little mutual back scratching in an effort to advance both of their agendas which are irrevocably linked to the expansion of the welfare state and the propagation of a more liberal America. To anyone who thought Jon Stewart was an unbiased mocker of all things politics—you were just fooling yourself. Stewart is as establishment-centered and viciously partisan as the guys he complains about on CNN and Fox News.
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