Jon Stewart lied about Fox News, PolitiFact says

Fox News viewers not the least-informed, as Stewart claimed

  • PolitiFact has questioned recent statements by "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.
PolitiFact has questioned recent statements by "Daily… (Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty…)
June 23, 2011|By David Zurawik | The Baltimore Sun

Comedian Jon Stewart lied when he said that "every poll" shows Fox News viewers to be the most "consistently misnformed" of all news consumers, PolitiFact says.

Stewart made that claim in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace that is still be debated all over the place two days later.

I have been dragged into the fray in part because Wallace used a quote from me to challenge Stewart about his lack of accountability as a media critic. You can read about that and see the Fox News video here.

I applaud PolitiFact, ans its Pulitzer-Prize-winning truth-o-meter, for holding Stewart accountable for his false statement about Fox. By the way, in its well-researched and thoughtful analysis of what constitutes true and false statements about news audiences being poorly or well-informed, PolitiFact quotes my analysis of a deeply flawed University of Maryland "study" on the matter.

You can read the PolitiFact critique of Stewart's claim here, and I highly recommend it.

In fairness, Stewart now claims that his interview with Wallace was highly edited. (You can view an unedited version at the Fox News website and judge for yourself here.)

Stewart claims he was edited by Fox News to "look like a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

Maybe he is playing with the title of a rather famous film in that remark. I hope so, because otherwise one might have to ask whether Stewart has gender as well as truth issues. Why wouldn't he say they made him look like a "man" or "someone" on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

Anyway, there is much back and forth over this Sunday talk show conversation, and it isn't going to calm down any time soon.

This is the stuff of which culture wars are made -- and why I so love Sunday morning public affairs television, one of the last bastions of genuine debate in this country.

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