Jon Stewart returned to the “news” desk on Monday night when he dropped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the man he helped launch a career with The Daily Show.
Stewart showed up to bash President Trump, to be sure, but he also had a strong message to the media, especially CNN, which he says he “hates.” Stewart framed his comments like he would address a friend who is going through a break up and offered his advice on how to move on:
“Hey, media, so, I heard Donald Trump broke up with you. Stings a little, doesn’t it? Finally thought you’d met your match — a blabbermouth who’s as thin-skinned and narcissistic as you are. Well, now it’s over. Well, good riddance, I say. Kick him to the curb, media. It is time for you to get your groove back, media, because let’s face facts: You’ve kind of let yourself go over the past few years. Put on a few pundits, obsessing 24 hours a day, seven days a week about this one guy.
‘What’s Donny up to? Did he say anything about us? Do you think he’s going to come on our show? Do you think he even likes us? He doesn’t even have to come on, he can just call us. Oh, Donny, please, just let us know you’re okay.’
“And the whole time you’re chasing after Donny, the rest of us are thinking, ’Can’t you see he’s an asshole?’ No, you try to defend him.
’No, no, no, no, no! That’s just Primaries Donald. That’s just Election Donald. You’ll see. We can change him. He’ll get presidential.’
“Yeah, how’d that work out? It didn’t. And do you know why? Because 70-year-old men don’t get less cranky or racist as time goes by. Unless they are visited at night by three sprits.
“Look, media, I’m not saying the breakup is going to be easy. You’re going to see your ex swiping far right with every Tom, Drudge, and Breitbart. And from what I heard, they do anal…
“Here’s my point, media: This breakup with Donald Trump has given you, the media, an amazing opportunity for self-reflection and improvement. Instead of worrying about whether Trump is un-American or if he thinks you’re the enemy; or if he’s being mean to you; or if he’s going to let you go back into the briefings, do something for yourself — self-improvement. Take up a hobby. I recommend journalism. You know, I think this breakup is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you.”
A running joke from Stewart during the segment was that he can tell Trump is lying because he says “believe me” a lot. He even came prepared with an edited clip of Trump saying the phrase over and over. Colbert’s final question was, “Do you really think the media is going to take this opportunity for self-reflection to get better at their jobs?”
Stewart replied, “I really do. Believe me.”
As host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Stewart shaped the politics of an entire generation. His show was fake news before “fake news” was cool. But his influence on young, liberal minds was unmistakable. The show’s popularity brought 50 Emmy nominations and 15 wins. When Stewart announced his departure in 2015, he said it was because he was burned out and didn’t want to cover another uneventful presidential election.
“I’d covered an election four times,” Stewart said, “and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one.” (Wrong again.)
Although he is a self-proclaimed hater of CNN and Fox News, Stewart is rather fond of the folks at MSNBC. Why? “Because it’s not steeped in distortion and ignorance as a virtue,” he once said.
Which makes it even funnier that he’s now dispensing advice to the mainstream “virtuous” media.