TV Truth Showdown: Jon Stewart Fact-Checks Fox, Bloggers Fact-Check PolitiFact
Political "fact-checking" site PolitiFact recently made the claim that Jon Stewart was "wrong" a few nights ago when,in an appearance on Fox News, he accused Fox News viewers of "consistently" being the most misinformed in polls.
Stewart's response on the air last night was to hastily apologize for his remark, and then to brilliantly turn the incident on his head and ask why Fox hadn't apologized for the dozens of false claims it had aired that had been similarly "debunked" by PolitiFact?
Watch Stewart's hilarious response below, and then keep reading to understand why PolitiFact's criticism of Stewart isn't actually correct, either.
Our own Joshua Holland has written an extensive article about why Jon Stewart was actually right, and why Fox's reaction was predictable--it's a must-read for fans of the Daily Show and critics of Fox. These arguments in defense of Stewart's statement are beginning to proliferate in the blogosphere, too.
Over at Political Animal, Steve Benen discusses his and other bloggers' reactions to PolitiFact, and why Stewart was actually dead-on on the substance of his argument:
I defended the claim, pointing to data from the Program on International Policy Attitudes, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and the Pew Research Center. PolitiFact checked the same claim and rated Stewart's comment "false." So, which is it? Did Stewart and I get it wrong or did PolitiFact?
My friend Chris Mooney argued the other day that Stewart's original claim was correct and cited five (1, 2, 3, 4,5) separate public opinion studies in support of Stewart's argument. Yesterday, Chris gave the PolitiFact piece a closer look and found the fact-checking site's analysis was clearly mistaken.
Benen, as well as Mooney and Adam Serwerexplain why Stewart is accurate about the misinformed nature of Fox viewership: these are viewers who may not be the least politically literate of all viewers. Instead, as Stewart actually claimed, they are the most misinformed about contested issues like global warming, or conspiracy-type theories of the nature of Iraq's nonexistent WMDs and Obama's citizenship.
So in this case, PolitiFact is wrong, and Stewart was actually correct in his assessment of the "news" channel's viewership.