Jon Stewart vs. Everyone

The Daily Show host takes on Robertson, Limbaugh, and Maddow -- at the same time

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These days, no one is safe from the wrath of Jon Stewart. The normally goofy Daily Show host has been more furious than funny this week. First, he tried to pick a fight with former Bush administration official John Yoo, who parried Stewart's attacks with affable, mild-mannered responses. The Wire covered both the showdown and Stewart's followup, where he lamented the fact that Yoo had slipped through his fingers.

Stewart was back on the warpath Thursday, becoming the first person to castigate Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, and Rachel Maddow--yes, dyed-in-the-wool liberal Rachel Maddow--in the same four-minute segment. Stewart took the unlikely trio to task for politicizing the Haiti earthquake, lumping the left-leaning Maddow in with familiar Daily Show punching bags Roberston and Limbaugh.

Stewart's bipartisan rant left the blogosphere unsure of his motives, and even raised doubts about his political persuasion. This is summed up by Mediaite's Colby Hall, who inserts exactly one sentence of opinion into his post on the issue: "Whaaaaa?" Megan Carpentier offers a more substantive analysis, listing several possibilities for the bit, including (gasp!) that Stewart is a closet conservative. "When did Jon Stewart sign a contract with Fox News?" she asks. "Did we miss it?" She concludes with two more likely reasons.

Maybe, however, it's an acknowledgment that Bill O'Reilly was correct in his assertion that Stewart is little more than a tireless Obama defender. Or perhaps Stewart, having locked up the liberal viewers, is attempting to bring more conservatives into the Comedy Central fold by going after their enemies among the liberals in the media. Whatever the real reason, Stewart viewers can be certain of one thing: he didn't go after Maddow for the comedic factor, because the bit just wasn't funny.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.