Since Jon Stewart was caught claiming Fox News viewers were stupid, even though polling indicates the opposite, he’s apparently attempted to defend himself by pointing out that Fox News has more recorded untruths on Politifact than he does. I think he thought that was a good point. It is not. Why? Here’s a partial list.
1) Fox News airs around 84 times the programming as Jon Stewart does. Fox News is a network. Not a half hour, four days a week show—they should make more errors. Plus, Stewart spends half of his time interviewing people like Ricky Gervais and Cameron Diaz. Unless he gets the date of a movie release wrong, I’m not sure how he’d make an error there.
2) Jon Stewart’s show is taped. It’s not live. With a few exceptions, Fox is airing live programming with no net. When they make a mistake its out there. If Stewart makes a mistake, he can edit it out. Though, I don’t know why he’d bother, because…
3) Jon Stewart’s show doesn’t seem to be regularly fact checked by Politifact. Or anyone else. Why would it be? If they went through his shows with a fine toothed comb like they do Fox News, they’d surely find errors too. But, why would they bother? Who cares if Jon Stewart makes an error? He’s doing a comedy show. Greg Gutfeld does a comedy show and has zero errors on Politifact. Does that mean he’s more accurate than Stewart? (He is, but for completely different reasons.)
4) The Daily Show is largely a scripted show, which means they have time to fact check it in advance. When someone like Glenn or O’Reilly do actually make a mistake, it’s usually when talking off the top of their heads, trying to remember the details of something they had read previously. Jon Stewart never has to do that, because he’s just reading his material. Remember, after commercials, The Daily Show is doing about 22 minutes of programming per day, four days a week. For that task, this is a portion of their writing staff.
(By the way, nice diversity…did you learn from Keith Olbermann?)
(Or maybe, it was the White House Correspondents Dinner.)
5) Politifact sometimes does really awful work. That doesn’t mean they don’t do some really great work too. But, are they seriously still standing by this? Reason magazine points out this one. And, if you have a month to waste, go through this list and find out how many times you can call BS on their Truth-o-Meter.
6) Politifact has a fairly obvious liberal bent. They are not exclusively liberal. They will tell the truth about false claims by liberals. But to say a government health care takeover is the biggest lie of the year is insultingly stupid. The government tells you what must be covered in your plan, requires you to participate, gives you maximums on what you spend, fines you if you’re not covered, decides which treatments are acceptable, forces justification of rate increases, subsidizes the cost of the plans, and forces insurance companies to cover people they don’t want to cover—and that’s just a handful of the 2,700 pages of Obamacare. It might not be Canada, and no—Nancy Pelosi isn’t literally doing the surgery. But, 83 million people were on some form of government health insurance BEFORE Obamacare. Where will we be at the end of this?
I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons that Stewart’s complaint was idiotic, but I’m getting bored. You get the point. When you think about a guy doing a scripted, taped, ideologically aligned comedy show, four days a week, for a half hour–it’s amazing he could ever be caught in a error by Politifact. But, he did. What’s amazing is that Stewart is so blindly revered by the media, his insanely flawed “Oh yeah, they lie more than me” can pass for anything other than pathetic.