Jon Stewart took on the news media in an interview with David Axelrod distributed by CNN, blaming them for setting up Donald Trump’s shocking rise to the GOP nomination. The former Daily Show host’s commentary has been missing from this year’s presidential race, having left the show in August last year. He’s still ripping the news media, but he wonders if Trump can even be president, and it’s not a birther issue.
“Are you eligible to run if you are a man-baby or a baby-man? See, I don’t know what the — look, I don’t know, and again, I’m not here to be politically incorrect. If they’re referred to as man-baby Americans, but he is a man-baby. He has the physical countenance of a man and a baby’s temperament and hands.”
Jon Stewart and Trump once got into a spat over Twitter, where the presidential candidate has taken on everyone from media figures to fellow politicians. In the opening fire, the real estate mogul said the then-TV host should go by his birth name, Jonathan Stewart Liebowitz, and be proud of his heritage.
The Daily Show team couldn’t resist the bait and answered back questioning why Trump doesn’t go by his “birth name” “F*** Face Von Clownstick.” The Twitter war continued from there.
Jon Stewart talked about the good old days of Trump fights a bit, but he had far harsher words for the media establishment in the CNN interview, comparing reporters to crack dealers.
“I think that the problem is the system is incentivized in all the wrong directions. And, right now, the system is incentivized in the way that a crack dealer is incentivized, which is it can do tremendous damage, but as long as people are buying crack, everything’s good on his block, and I really, I truly believe it’s that corrosive and corrupt.”
In early March, the New York Times tried to add up all the free advertising the news media has given Trump.
Their figure – close to $2 billion.
Free news coverage of a campaign is called “earned media,” and it’s usually more than paid advertisement time. Trump is by far the best candidate at earning this campaign cycle. The next most covered candidate is Hillary Clinton, who got about $746 million in free attention. Bernie Sanders is a distant third with $321 million.
Jon Stewart isn’t alone in bemoaning the news’ love affair with the GOP candidate’s blustery rhetoric; John Kasich wasn’t too pleased with it either, according to Politifact.
But Stewart’s criticism extends to the fear-mongering message the conservative news has been sending for years, which the former host describes as “you are run by a tyrant; he is going to take away your rights. We are falling.”
In the context of media scare tactics, Jon Stewart says a Donald Trump candidacy makes perfect sense – he’s got the rhetoric, but also concrete plans to stop the encroaching danger (like a wall). Stewart explained that there’s one news channel that understands the news cycle and the propaganda better than most, and that’s Fox News.
He said in the modern news cycle, “you need to be relentless; you need to be perpetuating your point of view and your propaganda in the same way that people consume it, which is constantly, and self-reinforcingly, and over and over and over again.”
Jon Stewart is also a wary of the real estate mogul’s constituency.
“Right, but what does that say about your constituency if what you’re saying to them is, ‘Look, the only way that I can win this part of the race is by being an unrepentant, narcissistic asshole, because that’s what my voters like. But once I have to appeal everybody, I’ll be cool.'”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Trump is softening his tone on issues like taxation and the minimum wage, supporting Jon Stewart’s view that he’s nearing the “cool” phase of the election.
[Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Montclair Film Festival]