Talk about good TV…two titans of political media, Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly, met in the latter’s “no spin zone” tonight for a spirited debate about President Obama’s favorite whipping boy: Fox News.
O’Reilly attempted to butter his guest up with this: “Are you cognizant of the fact that your audience is basically stoned slackers.”
When O’Reilly asked Stewart if he was among the 49% of Americans who said that Fox News was the most trusted news network, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, Stewart retorted that the network was certainly the “most passionate and sells the clearest narrative.”
Stewart hauled the network’s primetime pundits in for “aspersions,” as O’Reilly put it.
“You’re not news all day. On alternate parking days you’re news,” joked Stewart, “but on Christmas you’re not.”
O’Reilly challenged Stewart’s assertion that viewers would be confused as to whether his program is news or opinion.
“That’s like someone who is watching your show doesn’t know it’s a comedy show. Come on!”
Stewart: “You truly believe that Fox News is non-partisan?”
O’Reilly: “Our hard news operation is.”
Stewart: “Here’s the brilliance of Fox News: What you’ve been able to do, you and Dr Ailes, you’ve been able to mainstream conservative talk radio.”
O’Reilly pointed out that both John McCain and Dick Cheney have turned down invitations to appear on The O’Reilly Factor.
“You have become the most reasonable voice on Fox News,” said Stewart. “You have become in some ways the voice of sanity here, which is like being the thinnest kid at fat camp. So let’s just get that straight.”