Jon Stewart opened the Daily Show on Monday by piling on the public shaming of CNN’s lack of coverage of the Baltimore protests on Saturday for the sake of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, accusing the network of using the event’s scholarships to avoid admitting to taking part in an “annual ritualized public killing of shame.”
“If you’re gonna ignore major events to put on bowties and bl*w yourselves, fine, do it — you’re consenting adults,” Stewart said. “But don’t use that scholarship money to clean yourselves up afterwards. All we ask is that you be honest about what you do.”
While CNN hosts told viewers during the evening that the gala featured more than $89,000 in scholarships being given to young journalists, Stewart pointed out that the network cut to commercial instead of actually showing any of the recipients collecting their awards.
Worse yet, he said, network pundits like Errol Lewis were at once “aware yet dismissive” of the turmoil happening in Baltimore, glossing over the events surrounding the Freddie Gray protests while saying viewers could look the news up online instead of following an actual news network.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible. We should be doing that,’ and then go do it,” he argued. “But to say it’s terrible, we should do it, and not do it, it’s sort of like standing in the middle of the street going, ‘Oh, people are saying I shouldn’t be masturbating in the street, but, you know, my balls aren’t going to release themselves.”
Meanwhile, “Senior Civil Unrest Correspondent” Jessica Williams — clad in a Hunger Games-like ensemble — fretted that the demonstrators were letting grief over “tributes” overwhelm their actions.
“Are you worried the protests might overshadow the correspondents’ dinner?” Stewart asked, drawing a laugh from Williams.
“Oh no Jon, pish-posh,” she said. “We journalists have worked far too long to let some petty troublemakers overshadow our splendid annual festivities.”
“You worked hard how, exactly?” Stewart pressed.
“Where do I begin?” Williams replied. “The countless hours of promo reels, hair, makeup. Black ties matter, Jon.”
Watch Stewart and Williams’ commentary, as posted online on Monday, below.