Calls out CNN for what it is...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2004, 12:34pm PT  

Wow. I told you this thing was gonna get ugly. John O'Neill implodes on live TV on Thursday, and on Friday, live on CNN, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart blows up Tucker Carlson, CNN and Crossfire. Finally!

Watch it, or read the highlights below. It's funny, sad, true and incredible LIVE television!:


I don't usually like to quote this much text, but if you missed the show, you've got to read some of this that I pulled from the full transcript...

STEWART: I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: We have noticed.

STEWART: And I wanted to --- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't --- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But in its defense...

STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say...Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.

CARLSON: Yes.

STEWART: Stop. (LAUGHTER) Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

...

STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.

BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.

STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks. (LAUGHTER)

...

CARLSON: And I'll tell you. When politicians come on...

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: It's nice to get them to try and answer the question. And in order to do that, we try and ask them pointed questions. I want to contrast our questions with some questions you asked John Kerry recently.

STEWART: If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you're more than welcome to. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: No, no, no, here's the point.

STEWART: If that's your goal.

CARLSON: It's not.

STEWART: I wouldn't aim for us. I'd aim for "Seinfeld." That's a very good show.

...

STEWART: You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility. I didn't realize that --- and maybe this explains quite a bit...that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity. (LAUGHTER) So what I would suggest is, when you talk about you're holding politicians' feet to fire, I think that's disingenuous.

...

STEWART: But my point is this. If your idea of confronting me is that I don't ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we're in bad shape, fellows. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: We're here to love you, not confront you...We're here to be nice.

STEWART: No, no, no, but what I'm saying is this. I'm not. I'm here to confront you, because we need help from the media and they're hurting us. And it's --- the idea is... (APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is --- if the indictment is --- and I have seen you say this --- that...

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: ... that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.

STEWART: Yes.

BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.

BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.

STEWART: Yes.

CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?

CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is...

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...

STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just...

STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie...But the thing is that this --- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.

BEGALA: We do, do...

STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.

CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

STEWART: Absolutely.

CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...

STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. (LAUGHTER) What is wrong with you? (APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you --- when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.

STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.

STEWART: You need to go to one.

...

STEWART: The thing that I want to say is, when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.

STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey. (LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Go ahead. Go ahead.

STEWART: I watch your show every day. And it kills me.

CARLSON: I can tell you love it.

STEWART: It's so --- oh, it's so painful to watch. (LAUGHTER)

STEWART: You know, because we need what you do. This is such a great opportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.

CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?

STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore. (LAUGHTER) I just can't.

CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?

STEWART: If I think they are. (LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I wouldn't want to eat with you, man. That's horrible.

STEWART: I know. And you won't.

...

STEWART: But let me ask you guys, again, a question, because we talked a little bit about, you're actually doing honest debate and all that. But, after the debates, where do you guys head to right afterwards?

CARLSON: The men's room.

STEWART: Right after that?

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: Spin alley.

BEGALA: Home.

STEWART: No, spin alley.

BEGALA: What are you talking about? You mean at these debates?

STEWART: Yes. You go to spin alley, the place called spin alley. Now, don't you think that, for people watching at home, that's kind of a drag, that you're literally walking to a place called deception lane? (LAUGHTER) Like, it's spin alley. It's --- don't you see, that's the issue I'm trying to talk to you guys...

...

CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.

STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show. (LAUGHTER)

Wow. And bravo, Mr. Stewart.