Fox's Gibson accused Jon Stewart of "purposeful misunderstanding" over being mocked

››› ››› NICK NATALICCHIO

On his radio show, John Gibson accused The Daily Show host Jon Stewart of a "purposeful misunderstanding" over comments Gibson and the program's executive producer, "Angry Rich," made mocking Stewart for emotional remarks he made on his show shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Gibson criticized Stewart for "think[ing] ... that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then."

On the August 16 broadcast of his Fox News Radio show, John Gibson accused Comedy Central's The Daily Show host Jon Stewart of a "purposeful misunderstanding" over comments Gibson and the program's executive producer, known on air as "Angry Rich," made mocking Stewart for emotional remarks he made on his show shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Gibson and "Angry Rich" were discussing Stewart's response to comments they made on August 10 and again on August 14 mocking Stewart. Gibson also criticized Stewart for "think[ing] ... that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then."

After playing Stewart's response from the August 15 edition of The Daily Show -- in which Stewart noted "some idiot from Fox" was "playing the tape of me after September 11th" and "calling me a phony because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence" -- Gibson called the dispute a "purposeful misunderstanding," adding: "[H]e's a comedian doing the news. He should expect some shots once in a while." Gibson outlined what he called "reasonable measures to fight the war on terror like wiretapping, like going after Iraq, like Guantánamo Bay," then claimed, "He [Stewart] thinks they're absurd. He thinks they're almost beneath argument, and he thinks he's right without having to engage in an argument."

Earlier in the program, while discussing the attention he had received as a result of mocking Stewart, Gibson said: "The email is pouring in. I'm a terrible, terrible person, and you know what I've decided to do about that, Angry Rich?" Gibson then answered his own question: "I'm going to go right on being a terrible person because it's just more fun." He added, "I think trouble and fun is what this program ought to be all about."

From the August 16 broadcast of Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show:

GIBSON: Well, the trouble begins now. Angry Rich, we have been causing a lot of trouble the last few days. A lot of people are angry with us.

ANGRY RICH: It's awful, isn't it?

GIBSON: The email is pouring in. I'm a terrible, terrible person, and you know what I've decided to do about that, Angry Rich?

ANGRY RICH: Become a good person?

GIBSON: No. I'm going to go right on being a terrible person because it's just more fun.

AUDIO CLIP: You go, girl.

GIBSON: I think trouble and fun is what this program ought to be all about.

ANGRY RICH: I think that's charming.

GIBSON: Thank you.

[...]

GIBSON: You know, there are some people in the media, in this society that think they are -- have been convinced by their audience they're so wonderful that they are beyond any criticism at all, that if you do criticize them, that you've committed a horrible, horrible sin.

AUDIO CLIP: I do listen to Jon Stewart.

GIBSON: Well, and we all listen to Jon Stewart. He's a funny guy. We watch the show. He's hysterical. I mean --

ANGRY RICH: Fantastic show.

GIBSON: Fantastic show. And, you know, some of the jokes are pretty cheap. It's really easy to get a Bush laugh. It's not that hard. He had Stephen Hayes on there last night, who is the guy who wrote the Cheney book. Of course, he was giving him a hard time about Cheney and -- and -- I didn't expect to come up in this conversation, but there I was right at the end.

HAYES: Isn't it that case that -- I mean, that's essentially what this debate has been about, the political debate has been about since 2001?

GIBSON: This is Stephen Hayes.

STEWART: No. They keep saying we don't understand the nature of this war. And critics keep saying, we understand the nature of it. You've been doing it wrong.

HAYES: Right, so why is that -- what's the -- what's the quality of difference there?

STEWART: Well, no -- the difference there is, we're not calling them traitors.

GIBSON: Yeah, you are.

HAYES: I don't -- yeah, but I don't think that the administration has called anyone a traitor. When has it happened? I mean, I'm serious. When has that happened? When has that happened?

STEWART: Let me say this. I -- I think that there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by, by people in -- in very high-level positions. Not fringe people. You know, I myself had some idiot from Fox --

GIBSON: Uh-oh.

STEWART: -- playing the tape of me after September 11th --

GIBSON: Oh.

STEWART: -- very upset. And them calling me a phony --

HAYES: Right.

STEWART: -- because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence.

GIBSON: Oh, well -- [audio clip of punching noises] ooh, ouch, geez, ooh. That was me he's talking about. You know, my problem with this is that I think there's a purposeful misunderstanding. We did -- we did tease him about his grief, but it was to compare it with what he's been saying lately. Yeah, he thinks -- Jon Stewart thinks the war has been fought wrong. To say that the liberal side hasn't called people traitors is absurd. It certainly has. Bloggers who idolize Jon Stewart have been trashing me for mocking Stewart do precisely that. Stewart's funny. He's a -- he's a comedian doing the news. He should expect some shots once in a while. I want to know, where is the Jon Stewart that was so grief-stricken, and why does he think what I think are reasonable measures to fight the war on terror like wiretapping, like going after Iraq, like Guantánamo Bay -- I think those are reasonable measures. He thinks they're absurd. He thinks they're almost beneath argument, and he thinks he's right without having to engage in an argument. And I guess he's come to think, and a lot of other people have come to think, that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then. And I'm sorry he thinks that way 'cause I think he's funny and I like him and I think he's one of the most dangerous guys on TV. He certainly was when I was there. Gibson on Fox.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Radio
Person
John Gibson
Show/Publication
The John Gibson Show
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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