Jon Stewart delivered a scathing critique of the media on CNN Sunday.
Appearing with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, the Apple TV host accused the fourth estate of overhyping stories in order to stir up conflict. Specifically, the comic cited a recent headline from Politico at the height of the turmoil in Afghanistan.
“It said ‘Why Afghanistan may not matter in the midterms,’” Stewart said. “And then the subject was, ‘and why it might.’”
Tapper laughed, as Stewart pressed on to make his larger point.
“But that’s our journalism, right, man?” Stewart said. “How many times have you seen stories about the battle over masks, that’s the Karen yelling in the store, and the people throwing them out and all that? And how many stories have we seen about the efficacy of masks, or the why? … There are some. But the overwhelming majority of stories seek to expose the conflict lines.”
“But do you think it’s all about the media?” Tapper asked, following up. “There isn’t anything to the degree that sometimes activists on the left risk alienating a culture instead of educating and then bringing people in?”
“Their job isn’t to educate necessarily,” Stewart said — before taking a jab at activists on the Left. “I’m uncomfortable with certain activism that feels performative. I think a lot of times is not particularly helpful. And if your goal is to create a change there, sometimes that performative activism isn’t particularly helpful.
“But in the scheme of things, performative activism gets people’s attention. And if the follow-up to that conversation is fruitful, it can be really effective. But I don’t generally think that the problem in Democratic politics lies with activists. I just don’t think that that’s a fair assessment of what’s wrong with Democratic politics.”
Tapper, earlier in the segment, had asked Stewart about a new bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) requiring toy stores in the Golden State to have gender neutral sections. Stewart believes it’s a non-story receiving outsized coverage because the media wants to gin up a debate.
“Honestly, like that law, who gives a shit?” Stewart said.
He later added, “I think the media does a terrible job at de-escalation. And de-escalation is the antidote to all this nonsense. And I don’t mean civility, and I don’t mean nonpartisanship. I mean focusing on things that are more urgent and elemental in people’s lives, and really hammering away at those things, rather than the emotional fault lines that occur in societies.”
Watch above, via CNN.
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