John Stewart was on CNN's Larry King Live last night, and had some choice words of criticism about the network. From the transcript:
Stewart: What's happening, baby? Can I tell you something? You made the right choice. You are leaving this place. You know what you are? You're the last guy out of a burning building, my friend.
KING: Why do you pick on CNN so much?
STEWART: You're terrible!
KING: Why are you here?
STEWART: I like you.
KING: You set me apart from the network I work at?
STEWART: You're all people. It's not that — you know — the reason — I didn't — again, I became an easy excuse for people up top who wanted to get rid of a show that was sort of low ranked to do that. Believe me, if I had that kind of power in the world, we'd leave in a much different world. Cancer would be ice cream.
The idea that CNN has this infrastructure — they have all this international reach. They have all this technology. And it sometimes feels squandered. That's all, squandered opportunity. That's all I'm saying.
KING: What do you make of Fox?
STEWART: I think brilliantly authoritative. They know what they're doing. People would take well to heed how tenacious they are, how bold they are. They express editorial authority.
I think they're wrong. But I appreciate that they're trying. And, you know, I don't think it's a right and left thing. I don't think that's what's going to be important. I think CNN has a — an opportunity to be a real arbiter. But being a real arbiter means taking a stand, not just having people on — you're on the left, you're on the right. That's like having people on in the cola wars. You're from Pepsi; you're from Coke. What do you think? I think we taste great. I think we taste great. That's all the time we have.
Both terrific points of view. You know? It's about being authoritative, about earning credibility. CNN, more than anybody, has the infrastructure to be able to accomplish that. And instead, they make a holographic Jessica Yellin and they just make her come up as a holograph on election night. Do you remember that?
KING: Yeah, once they did that.
KING: But Fox, you think they're fair and honest in reporting?
STEWART: What? No. God no.
KING: But that's their motto.
STEWART: What? That's their motto?
KING: Yes. STEWART: Well, that's a complete lie.
STEWART: No, I think they're tenacious. I think they are confident. And they are — they are showing the model of how to build an organization that believes in something. I think what they — I think it is wrong-headed for a news organization. I think they've built an incredible political organization, really effective political organization.
KING: So it's a political organization?
STEWART: Yes, that's right. But you could do with it the thing. But instead, you have to throw it to “Parker/Spitzer.”
Watch the video below starting around the 20 minute mark: