Update at bottom: Stewart tells O'Reilly that it's a 'really bad idea' for him to run for president
O'Reilly's defense of Beck: He's an 'everyman' who 'sits on a barstool' and 'spouts'
Jon Stewart may be a comedian -- his program is broadcast on Comedy Central, after all -- yet his scathing satire of television's most peculiar "news" outlet is seemingly more relevant every day.
Stewart's Wednesday night appearance on the self-titled "fair and balanced" Fox News, sitting for an interview with right wing pundit Bill O'Reilly, is a perfect example of why.
It really got interesting when O'Reilly confronted Stewart on his recent criticisms leveled at Fox News, causing Stewart to balk and sharpen his analysis.
"Here's what Fox has done, through their cyclonic perpetual emotional machine that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: They have taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao," he said, prodding O'Reilly.
"Explain to me why that is the narrative of your network," Stewart deadpanned.
O'Reilly's response: "That's the narrative of a couple of guys: A Republican, Sean Hannity, and, a guy, uh, uh ... Glenn Beck, who is basically everyman; I mean, basically."
Stewart seemed aghast at the answer.
"Wh-- What do you mean he's everyman?" he began. "What do you mean, he's everyman? Everyman's got a show?"
"He's everyman, he sits on a barstool ..." O'Reilly muttered.
"What are you talking about?" Stewart asked.
"Well, he's talented," the host continued.
"He's a very talented man, but where's everyman?" Stewart pressed.
"It means that he doesn't shill for any party ... He just spouts," O'Reilly said. "He spouts what he believes."
"What?!" an incredulous Stewart asked, mouth slightly open in amazement.
"If you think that Beck shills for the Republican party, you're out of your mind!" O'Reilly insisted.
Quite the contrary, one would not be out of their mind to have assumed that Beck, a well known right-wing commentator, is somehow aiding the Republicans. After all, his conspiracy laden rants often gain immediate traction within Republican leadership.
Additionally, Rush Limbaugh, arguably still the strongest voice in the Republican party and often criticized as the GOP's de-facto leader, once even boasted that his body of work had "spawned" Beck. "Glenn Beck to me is right on, daddy-o," he said during an NBC interview. "Glenn Beck is a result of my success."
Beck is also giving the keynote address at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, a move Politico characterized as part of his transition from mere commentary into "partisan" activism.
Fox News at large is filled with notable Republican figures, from paid contributors Sarah Palin and former Bush strategist Karl Rove to executive Roger Ailes, who once crafted a pivotal political ad for then Vice President George H.W. Bush in his race against Democrat Michael Dukakis.
This videos is from Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010.
On Thursday, Feb. 4, O'Reilly devoted another segment to responding to Stewart's hard-hitting criticism. He suggested that by having right-wing staff members -- or, "traditional Americans," as he called them -- Fox News simply "balances things out."
This video is from Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Feb. 4, 2010, as snipped by Mediaite.
Jon Stewart told Bill O'Reilly that it was "a really bad idea" for him to run for president.