STE­WART’S MIS­IN­FOR­MA­TION

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Pun­dit, news­man, co­me­dian, ner­vous fe­male? Jon Ste­wart’s me­dia iden­tity is at stake fol­low­ing his ap­pear­ance on “Fox News Sun­day.” Mod­er­a­tor Chris Wal­lace ad­vised the Com­edy Cen­tral host to get in touch with his in­ner jour­nal­ist while fel­low Fox an­chor Bret Baier the­o­rized that Mr. Ste­wart pines to be a po­lit­i­cal force but “when some­thing goes wrong, he punts to ‘I’m a co­me­dian.’ ” Mr. Ste­wart, in turn, now ac­cuses the net­work of edit­ing his ap­pear­ance, mak­ing him ap­pear like a “woman on the verge of a ner­vous break­down.”

He also says that Fox News view­ers are “con­sis­tently” mis­in­formed, a claim that at­tracted the watch­dog site Poli­tiFact. Fact check­ers pored over me­dia stud­ies from the Pew Re­search Cen­ter and other sources to ul­ti­mately dis­prove Mr. Ste­wart’s no­tion; see the bo­da­cious re­port at www.poli­tifact.com.

“We have three Pew stud­ies that su­per­fi­cially rank Fox view­ers low on the well-in­formed list, but in sev­eral of the sur­veys, Fox isn’t the low­est, and other gen­eral-in­ter­est me­dia out­lets — net­work news shows, net­work morn­ing shows and even the other cable news net­works — of­ten score sim­i­larly low. Mean­while, par­tic­u­lar Fox shows — ‘The O’Reilly Fac­tor’ and Sean Han­nity’s show — ac­tu­ally score con­sis­tently well, oc­ca­sion­ally even out­pac­ing Ste­wart’s own au­di­ence.”

The re­port con­cludes, “The way Ste­wart phrased the com­ment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of ev­i­dence that Fox News’ au­di­ence is ill-in­formed. The ev­i­dence needs to sup­port the view that the data shows they are ‘con­sis­tently’ mis­in­formed — a term he used not once but three times. It’s sim­ply not true that ‘ev­ery poll’ shows that re­sult. So we rate his claim false.” stud­ies. Af­ter much ado, the watch­dogs deemed the Com­edy Cen­tral host’s opin­ion “false,” which seemed to make him pen­i­tent. Sort of. A lit­tle, maybe.

“Ul­ti­mately, Poli­tiFact de­clared my state­ment false. I de­fer to their judg­ment and I apol­o­gize for my mis­take,” Mr. Ste­wart says. “To not do so would be ir­re­spon­si­ble, and if I were to con­tinue to make such mis­takes and mis­state­ments and not cor­rect them — es­pe­cially if each and ev­ery one of those mis­state­ments hap­pened to go in one very par­tic­u­lar direc­tion on the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, well that would un­der­mine the very in­tegrity and cred­i­bil­ity that I work so hard to pre­tend to care about.” year — along with “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” a sweep­ing look at her beloved home state that pre­miered in Novem­ber. The eightepisode se­ries pro­duced by TLC was well-re­ceived; the New York Times deemed it “a na­ture se­ries for po­lit­i­cal voyeurs.”

While her fans wait to see if she’ll join the 2012 pres­i­den­tial race, they can at least root for her in the en­ter­tain­ment realm. The net­work also sub­mit­ted her show in the cin­e­matog­ra­phy, pic­ture edit­ing and mu­sic com­po­si­tion cat­e­gory. We’ll know if the for­mer Alaska gov­er­nor gets a walk on the red car­pet next month, when the nom­i­na­tions are an­nounced.

Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Repub­li­can, joined Rep. Bar­ney Frank, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat, to in­tro­duce the first-ever leg­is­la­tion to “end the fed­eral war on mar­i­juana and [let] states le­gal­ize, reg­u­late, tax and con­trol mar­i­juana with­out fed­eral in­ter fer­ence.”

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