Jon Stewart’s not leaving tomorrow, but last night’s The Daily Show was a reminder just how much he’s going to be missed when he eventually kicks to a final Moment of Zen later this year. For approximately the 2,124th time, he turned his research team loose on Fox News, which has recently been badgering the media and Obama administration for an apology of some sort for “fanning the flames, rushing to judgment” with a “tsunami of misinformation and innuendo” revolving the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. “To be frank, oftentimes this show is critical of Fox News,” Stewart said. “But only because they’re terrible. Like sometimes, almost shockingly terrible.”
In The Daily Show‘s classic manner of crucifying a bully with its own chutzpah and hypocrisy, Stewart ran through the Fox News segments in which its most popular talking-heads pounded the media for fueling the anger that erupted in Ferguson, even though policeman Darren Wilson was excused of wrongdoing. Nevermind a second Department of Justice report that shredded the Ferguson authorities for years of discrimination and harassment of the African-American community. Let’s just move on, Fox seemed to be saying.
“The lesson Fox News is getting at is very clear,” Stewart said, laying the groundwork for haymaker that he had lined up. “Wouldn’t it be nice if people who jumped to conclusions and peddled a false, divisive, anger-stoking narrative had to apologize for misleading America?”
And then he pivoted to Fox News’s “two-year Benghazi rage-gasm.” Cue the angry Fox clips about how the Obama White House abandoned Americans at the Libyan diplomatic compound during a 2012 terrorist attack, let them die, and then lied about it. You may have heard about it, especially if you ever watched Fox News between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and midnight. Funny thing: in November, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee published a report that concluded that the White House was not at fault and that charges of wrongdoing and duplicitousness—enflamed by some conservative news outlets—were, in fact, incorrect. Fox News has not yet apologized for that “fanning the flames, rushing to judgment” stuff.
“They demand accountability for anger and divisiveness whilst holding themselves entirely unaccountable for their anger and divisiveness,” said Stewart, wrapping up his argument. “For two years they used Benghazi as shorthand, as a symbol for the whole concept of a corrupt, lying, tyrannical, possibly murderous Obama White House. Kind of like other people used ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ as a symbol for systemic racism. There’s really only one difference between the two phenomenon: systemic racism actually exists.”
Stewart then reached under his desk, pulled out a mic and dropped it. Yeahhh, he was pretty proud of himself—still got it. But even as he gave the impression he’s really going to miss this, too—jousting with Fox News every night at 11 p.m.—you could simultaneously understand why he’s planning to exit after 17 years. Still got it… but do we have to go over this again?