February 4th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Stewart believes O'Reilly is Fox's voice of sanity

The liberal comedian and host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" crossed enemy lines Wednesday and sat down with Fox's Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Perhaps Jon Stewart, as O’Reilly explained to the audience at the start, really did get lost in midtown Manhattan and just somehow ended up on the set of O'Reilly's show.

However he got there, Stewart didn't get as nasty as you might expect.

For all of his Fox News bashing on "The Daily Show," Stewart kept it pretty clean for most of the interview, not really taking O'Reilly's bait.

"Are you cognizant of the fact that your audience are primarily stoned slackers who love Obama," he asked Stewart, "and when you criticize Obama, you may be turning on them?"

Stewart, who's taken a bit of heat as of late for criticizing President Obama, replied that he doesn't think about who his audience is when he creates his material. "If it feels like a valid piece of absurdity out there, we vet things internally. Whatever you say, someone’s not going to like it."

Including O'Reilly, who didn't take kindly to Stewart implying that Fox News is anything but an impartial hard news organization.

"Here’s what I believe," Stewart said. "Fox News is the most passionate and sells the clearest narrative of any news organization, if you’re still referring to it in that manner... I think Fox, in and of yourselves, say you’re not a news organization all day. You’re news from 9-11, and then you’re opinion and then you’re news again from 1-2:30. Except on Jewish holidays, then you’re not."

If that was true, O'Reilly said, then why couldn't he book John McCain or Dick Cheney on "The O'Reilly Factor?"

In his trademark fashion, Stewart made a few jokes about McCain not being GOP-enough and Cheney being allergic to the harsh lighting, which O'Reilly took as evading the question.

Maybe he was beleaguered from his interview, but Stewart conceded that O'Reilly has "become the most reasonable voice on Fox. You have become, in some ways, the voice of sanity here, which is like being the thinnest kid at fat camp."

He went on: "Here’s what Fox has done, through their cyclonic, perpetual emotional machine, 24 hours a day, 7 day a week. They’ve taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao."

O'Reilly tossed Fox's reputation off onto Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, calling Beck at one point an "Everyman," which of course got a rise out of Stewart.

The second half of O'Reilly's interview with Stewart airs tonight.

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soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Debra R

    Yo liberals:
    Can any of you Beck haters give me one instance where he has been wrong?

    I suppose all of you liberals absolutley despise big time liars Al Gore and Bill Clinton too right?

    Lord people, Beck, O'Reilly and Hannity are not JOURNALISTS the last real journalist was Walter Kronkite...we have no more journalists left...they are all commentators.

    February 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Aranhas

    You people, including Stewart, have a difficult time separating commentary from news. Beck, O'Reilly, and Hannity are COMMENTATORS people! Commentators simply give their opinions. They are not reporters. They comment on the news. Their comments are no more or no less valid than Olberman, Schultz, or Maddow – or Stewart – or your own. Commentators are entertainers hired to attract people to the t.v. who have the same points of view. They are not hired to try to change your mind. The news is the news and is separate from the comments. Try to keep that straight.

    February 8, 2010 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sharon A Rose

    That anyone with an IQ of at least 100 can take Fox News seriously is beyond me. I HAD a friend, a clinical psychologist, that I have not spoken to since Obama was elected because she insisted that William Ayers co-wrote Obama's book Dreams From My Father because he was not capable of writing it himself. Where do you think she heard that?

    February 6, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anonymous

    Glenn Beck? Really?

    I think it's people like you who allow mass media outlets to persuade the general public who need to stay out of political issues and just turn nick at nite back on.

    February 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jess

    to Raul : re: "I wish he would just get out and take his adoring,brain-dead lemmings with him."

    Way to prove that whole "cyclonic, perpetual emotional machine"- that’s a lot of hate directed towards a comedian bud, let’s not flip out too bad on anyone under the age of 30, some of us are quite far from brain dead

    February 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AngelFactor

    There was a study not too long ago that found people who watch The Daily Show had a better handle on current events than viewers of other news organizations. That shows how someone like GWB could not only steal an election without street demonstrations, but get elected, too. The R's have been spewing their fear-mongering since at least the 60's. Why shouldn't they, if the objective is to win the election, then it has worked very well for them.

    February 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris In Ohio

    It amazes me that this is considered any kind of news. Bill has been on Jon's show and Jon was obviously repaying the favor.

    February 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. B in Alaska

    I saw the clip where Jon Stewart said OReilly is the sanest man on Fox, he also added that it was just like saying OReilly was the thinnest kid at Fat Camp. That means that while everyone else at Fox hears 20 different voices in their heads OReilly only hears 19.

    February 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jona

    People who watch Stewart for their news and commentary are among the least informed least tolerant people in our society. Stewart is neither funny nor educational. He's just a jerk.

    February 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Raul

    Limousine liberal Jon Stewart is an anti-american buffoon and a talentless comedian,who made his career by mocking the Commander-in-chief during 8 years of war.I wish he would just get out and take his adoring,brain-dead lemmings with him.

    February 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sheryl g

    I'm not a "body language" expert, but I could see nervous written all over Billo's face...He certainly isn't the biggest liar on Fox news, Beck wins that one hands down....maybe it's because he's getting on in age..but the interview was great. No one faces down a hardline, narrowminded righty the way Jon Stewart does. I'm not a far lefty, just a woman who is sick of hatred, racism, war, all the things that are destroying this beautiful planet God created for all of us...

    February 6, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    The Fox people can't believe their lucky stars, and their bank accounts, that there are countless gullible millions out there who hang on every word their despicable hosts spew. They could care less that they are lying and fanning hatred and confusion. Hatred and confusion are what have made them all millionaires, so why would they want to do and say anything else?

    February 6, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sneakers

    O'Reilly is the only one that I'll watch on Fox. I actually enjoy him.
    Everyone else on on that network is slightly insane, full of hatred & lies. I think Hannity is the worst though – he just flat out lies.

    February 6, 2010 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Ann Hoogeveen

    Fox netword is a joke and people with a brain know this and look at these viewers as idiots,who believe the crap these people spew.Perfect proof is Sarah Palin on Fox,trailer park trash with the brain of a flea.

    February 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. aj

    fox news ' we report you decide ' and if your dumb like they think you are you will beleive it.

    February 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Really?

    Embedded in the foundation of the Daily Show is the ability of Jon and his partner writers to find the absurdity within our political system. Some of it is fake, yes. But have you ever noticed that the funniest stuff on there is based on real statements said by politicians, real stories, real events, interpreted through the witty intelligence of Daily Show writers? The problem with Bill O'Reilly is that he takes himself WAY too seriously. He hopes that ill behavior, rude comments, insults and obnoxious talk will get him viewers. Well...he doesn't get MY vote. JON STEWART 2012!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Frannie

    O'Reilly said on Letterman a few years back that about 60% of his material was B.S. designed to get a rise out of people. But, it's still harmful when he says it because too many people out there take every word said on Fox as gospel.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Anon83

    O'Reilly may eventually be the first rat to leave a sinking ship. If things take a turn for the better, and the very well might, Rupert Murdoch is going to lose a LOT of money, and his bought and paid for News Organization is going to look very silly. I think O'Rielly might not sit real well with that, in the sense that he wouldn't want to look bad.

    Then again, he's looked bad through his entire career, defending ludicrously, almost militant right wing ideals, sexually harassing women, lying about it, then paying off the woman in question, and being a general fear monger.

    I think John Stewart is hilarious, and thats really it. He's not a political pundit, he's a damn comedian. EVERYTHING he says must be taken in that pretense. Yes, poignant things may be said, but again, he's a comedian, he's making money with it, he's made a career of it. He wasn't always The Daily Show.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  19. lucy2

    The full, unedited interview is available to see on Comedy Central's site. I've only seen clips so far, but from what I saw it was interesting and fairly civil. I don't care for BOR at all, but I think they're both smart guys who have very different approaches and agendas, but at least do have SOME little bit of respect for each other, unlike many of the other talking heads out there.
    Thinnest kid at fat camp is exactly right. I love Stewart – he's such a quick wit, but also very knowledgeable, and he's a great interviewer. I always enjoy his show and the guests, and as crazy as it is, his show is often one of the more sane voices of news programs. Considering it's a fake news show, that says a lot about the state of "real" news these days.
    Underneath all the comedy, the Daily Show is really a media watchdog, something we need more of. Sure they pick on Fox more than others, but come on, Fox News gives them loads more material to work with! Same with politicians. You say something stupid, false, or contradictory to your previous statements, and they're going to call you on it, regardless of whether D or R is next to your name.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Jen M

    Debra R – Are you joking? Beck an everyman? Any of those fools on Fox "open to talking to each other about their differences" – you have to be joking! That's a good one! Beck is the biggest fear monger on television and talk radio. He is the lowest form of life on the planet (except for maybe Rush Limbaugh) and he should be ashamed of himself. Instead, he spouts of for hours a day, contradicts himself, lies, backpeddals when his lies are made public, and then continues to lie. So... your joke is the best I've heard this week.

    February 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  21. DianD

    Only an egotistical swine like O'Reilly will consult a body language expert after the interview to tell him whether Steward was itnimidated by him and whether he was dominating enough... I love the way Stewart mocked that behavior on his own show. He just earned a new fan. Stone slackers unite!

    February 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Crystal

    Joe (citizen abroad)- O' Reilly did interview Colbert, last year if memory serves. One of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. Then Colbert stole a microwave from the O'Reilly studio on his way out (which he showed on his own show later that evening. I was floored, it was so good.

    February 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Adam

    I, too, watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report nightly. I am not a stoner nor a slacker. It is comments such as that which give Fox News such a bad reputation. You will notice that John Stewart attacks each "News Network" equally, it just so happens that Fox News is on the verge of fanaticism 99% of the time, which makes them an easy target. It is a very good thing no one at Fox News will ever hold a major political office.

    Oh, and Nancy Grace needs to be taken off the air, ASAP!

    February 5, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  24. Joe citizen abroad

    If all you did was watch The Daily Show, you'd get more news and a better perspective on it than if Fox was your only source.

    The guy O'Reilly needs to interview is Stephen Colbert. Now THAT would be interesting.

    February 5, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  25. Ronnie

    Bill O’Reilly is a disgusting person and he is what is wrong with America.

    February 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Bianca

    I watch Stewart and much prefer him and his amusing show, to anything on FOX News. I am 70 years old and am neither a conservative nor a liberal. I am just someone who hates prejudice and unfair, bias, slanted news reporting. I grew up listenening to news reporters just give the facts of the daily news. Those reporters knew no one cared what their opinions were concerning their news stories. We all had our own opinions about what we thought about a news story and would have resented a news reporter trying to tell us 'what we should think' about what someone in the news did or said! If you want the news told to you straight...got to the live news channels like C-span and listen yourself to the President and the other politicians speak! Hear them live with your own ears!Then you will see there is certainly no need to listen to what some newsreporter 'thinks' or 'interprets' that they have said. Hey, we are not so dumb that we have to have some idiot tell us what they think the President 'really meant' when he said whatever he did.

    February 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Emily

    I watch Stewart every night. And Colbert also. I'm neither a stoner or a slacker. But thanks for the compliment, O'Reilly.

    February 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Marie

    Chad @ 4:35 – I couldn't agree more!! LOVE Mr. Stewart, and the fact that he critically thinks... compared to a lot of them over at Fox...

    February 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Chad

    Ladies & Gentlemen: John Stewart. The man who should be hosting the Tonight Show.

    February 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Katy

    O'Reilly is also guilty on at least a couple of occasions of misinformation, but he's tame compared to other FOX anchors/correspondents. Stewart's analogy of the "thin kid at fat camp" is spot-on. I appreciate, though, that O'Reilly and Stewart talk. Stewart has been on O'Reilly's show before and it's always a very interesting conversation.

    February 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Norma

    I used to agree with O'Reilly on many issues, because he was raised with the same values I had, respect and hard work, but during the last couple of years he became this Fox's machine of hatred and lies.
    He tries not to be involved in this kind of "media manipulation", but Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are so much into hatred and misinformation, and are so desperate to involve people in their totally insane paranoia, that finally discredits Fox as a serious news oulet.
    They should do something to stop those two pathetic hatemongers.
    Is it too difficult to accept the American citizens decision of electing Obama?

    February 4, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Debra R

    I have got to see this. I like both Stewart and O'Reilly. I also like Glenn beck...he is an everyman...this is what we need people who are open to talk to each other about their differences...

    February 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Matthew

    I agree that Glenn is an "everyman" if you count all the voices in his head with opposing viewpoints.

    February 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |

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