Jon Stewart Criticizes Fox News for Editing Out Some of his Criticism

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In a June 20 episode of "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart criticized Fox News for the way it edited his interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace June 19. (Credit: Comedy Central, screenshot)

Comedian Jon Stewart criticized Fox News for the way it edited his appearance on June 19’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Media Matters reported.

While the edited interview does highlight a debate between Stewart and Wallace over media bias and include Stewart’s criticisms of Fox News, Stewart called out the network for editing out Wallace’s suggestion that Fox News has a conservative agenda.  Media Matters also noted that Fox News edited out a brief comment Stewart made about Fox News executive Bill Sammon.

According to the unedited interview, Wallace told in response to Stewart’s question asking if Wallace believes that Fox News “is exactly the ideological equivalent of NBC News,” that, “I think we’re the counterweight. I think they have a liberal agenda and we tell the other side of the story,” Mediaite reported.   That comment by Wallace wasn’t aired on Fox News and didn’t appear in the transcript, the Huffington Post reported.

Stewart pointed out the deletion on his Comedy Central program The Daily Show and called Wallace’s statement “the takeaway moment of the entire interview,” according to the Huffington Post. According to Stewart, Wallace’s statement “gives away the game” by implying that Fox only presents “one side” of the story, Mediaite reported.

Media Matters noted that interviews are often edited for length, and that Stewart’s original interview was about 24 minutes, while the edited version ran about 15 minutes.  (See the unedited interview here on Fox News’ website.)

Fox News also cut Stewart’s reference to Fox News’ Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, progressive media watchdog Media Matters reported.

After Stewart compared Fox to “ideological regimes” where the media receives “marching orders,” he made a reference to leaked e-mails from Bill Sammon.  The remark didn’t appear in the edited interview.

This specific deletion seems suspicious, Media Matters implied in a June 20 blog post:

“It’s hard to imagine that Stewart’s five-second reference to Sammon – a Fox News executive and boss at the DC bureau where Fox News Sunday is produced – was excised just because of time.”

In the past, Sammon has drawn criticism from Media Matters, which reported that Sammon emailed staff during the 2008 presidential campaign to highlight President Barack Obama’s alleged ties to socialism and advised staff in emails to refer to climate change on air as a theory that has been questioned.

StinkyJournalism previously reported when a leaked e-mails from Sammon and Fox News senior vice president for news Michael Clemente reportedly advised Fox staff refer to public health care as “government-run health insurance” instead of “public option” – a term that may negatively influence the public’s response to it. Sammon defended the terminology as “objective.”


Stewart said during his interview with Fox News’ Wallace that “every poll” shows that Fox has “the most consistently misinformed media viewers,” a statement that fact-checking organization Politifact said is false.

To determine whether this statement is true, PolitiFact examined several surveys that ranked different media outlets by how informed their viewers were.

According to three surveys that the Pew Research Center conducted in 2007, 2008 and 2010, Fox News’ regular viewers generally ranked as having a low to average knowledge of politics and current events compared to viewers of other media outlets.. However, two of Pew’s studies, in 2007 and 2008, two Fox News programs were singled out for having well-informed viewerships — the O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes.

Politifact also looked at a 2003 study, conducted by the Program on International Policy at the University of Maryland and Knowledge Networks, that ranked Fox viewers as the least knowledgeable about the Iraq War, with a “misperception rate” of 45 percent (the highest of the major media outlets).

This study provides the “strongest support we found for Stewart’s claim,” Politifact wrote. However, Stewart’s claim that Fox has the most “consistently misinformed” media viewers is false, according to Politifact.

“It’s simply not true that ‘every poll’ shows that result,” Politifact stated.

Stewart addressed Politifact’s findings on a May 21 segment of The Daily Show, and apologized for his statement while continuing to joke about Fox News’ factual errors, Mediaite reported.

“As it turns out, I was misinformed, which should not have been surprising, because I watch a lot of Fox News,” Stewart said. He also pointed out a list of Fox News’ errors that Politifact has corrected in the past, including two factual inaccuracies that earned Fox News the Politifact “Lie of the Year” award in 2009 and 2010.

UPDATE: 06/26/2011 8:04 PM EST: During a June 26 program of “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace addressed Stewart’s criticism of the edited interview, Mediaite reported.

He said that he wished he had stated in his conversation with Stewart that Fox News tells “the full story” instead of “the other side of the story.” Nonetheless, he said, he made the same point elsewhere in the interview and it was not edited out.

UPDATE: 08/03/2011 11:06 AM EST: Changed the first sentence’s attribution from Mediaite to Media Matters.

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Jon Stewart Criticizes Fox News for Editing Out Some of his Criticism

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