I am not going to go crazy about this, but I would like those of you who slavishly accept any criticism Jon Stewart offers of the mainstream media as a kind of absolute truth, to go back and look at this video of Stewart’s first take on the Weiner crotchshot. It’s from May 31.
I would like you to also consider his shifty effort Monday night to quickly pivot away from Weiner’s bombshell confession earlier in the day by attacking John Edwards.
Let’s be honest about this: Stewart has behaved badly when it comes to Weiner the past few days. In fact, he’s looked kind of confused and pathetic at times, particularly in his wrongheaded criticism of the media.
The early locker-room jokes in the May 31 video don’t matter much. Nor do all the middle-school references to size. What matters to me is Stewart’s criticism of media coverage, particularly CNN’s, which he really goes after during the last 90 seconds or so of the video. Pay special attention to the way he singles out Dana Bash and John King, who I think did excellent work. You can read my analysis of CNN’s performance here.
Stewart was dead wrong in his criticism of the way the mainstream press was trying to get at the story that came to light yesterday. Bash and her producer were exemplary, in fact. But Stewart tried to ridicule their efforts.
I’d like to think that perhaps his friendship with the creepy Weiner clouded Stewart’s judgment, but he has been wrong in his media criticism before — and no one called him on it. My take on why he gets a free pass is that many media critics aren’t sure of their own values and standards. The one thing they know, though, is that they are scared to death of being ridiculed by Stewart.