'I'm Not Saying Your Mother's a Whore': How Fox News Censored Jon Stewart Vs. Bill O'Reilly (Feb. 2010)
Fox News has generously placed the full, unedited conversation between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart online, so we can see precisely how unfairly and deviously Fox edited the interview in order to weaken Stewart’s case: A lot!
Last night on his show—Part Two of a ludicrously overhyped “faceoff” between O’Reilly and Stewart in which Stewart attempted, among other things, to present a critique of Fox as a fear-mongering GOP messaging operation—O’Reilly boasted that his edit of their 42-minute interview for broadcast was “a fair cut” and invited viewers to have a look at the unedited version online to judge for themselves: “Some of these idiots in the press who hate us, ‘O’Reilly cut the interview to make Stewart look’—OK, all of that is bull. It’s a fair cut. And then when you watch the cut and watch the whole interview you’ll see it.”
So we took him up on the offer, and guess what? If by “fair cut” O’Reilly means “cut in a manner that left some of Stewart’s best lines, most effective arguments, and most convincing evidence out of the interview and hidden from the broadcast audience,” then he’s absolutely right.
Here’s the best exchange of the whole interview, in which Stewart gets O’Reilly to admit that he thinks Barack Obama believes in “tyranny and socialism,” and then asks him why Obama’s most generous spending has been to bail out banks. He closed with this unanswerable question: “How many tyrants do you know that really suffer because they can’t get cloture?” O’Reilly rejoindered with a lame joke about NBC, because what else could he do? None of this made the air:
There were also plenty of sharp points from Stewart that were edited down to, um, duller points. Take this exchange, from the Fox News cut:
STEWART: Here’s the brilliance - here’s the brilliance of Fox News. What you have been able to do, you and Dr. Ailes, have been able to mainstream conservative talk radio.
O’REILLY: Why wouldn’t John McCain come on this program during the last campaign? Why did he dodge us and not come on if you - (inaudible), if we’re in business to help the GOP, he wouldn’t come in.
STEWART: But you’re not in the business of John McCain. He is not GOP enough for you. You’re in the business to help Sarah Palin.
Here’s the unedited version, which includes Stewart’s cogent analysis of how Fox introduces noxious GOP talking points during Fox and Friends—he cites specific examples that the Daily Show has mocked, like Gretchen Carlson’s handwringing over the Russian derivation of the word “czar”—and then picks them up during the so-called “hard news” shows under the guise that it’s something people are talking about:
And to watch the Fox News cut of this exchange, you’d think O’Reilly scored a minor point by mocking Stewart’s repeated use of the word “cyclonic”
O’REILLY: Cavuto sane?
STEWART: Being the thinnest kid at fat camp. So let’s just get that straight. Here is what Fox has done through their cyclonic, perpetual…
O’REILLY: We’re back to the cyclonic.
STEWART: Their cyclonic perpetual emotion machine that is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week. They’ve taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao. Explain to me why that is the narrative of your network?
Here’s what Stewart really said about Neil Cavuto’s practice of raising “Is Obama a Stalinist?”-style questions:
I know what this is. I come from Jersey—it’s the same thing: “I’m not saying your mother’s a whore. I’m just saying she has sex for money. With people.” [F]ox News used to be all about, you don’t criticize a president during wartime. It’s unacceptable, it’s treasonous, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy. All of a sudden, for some reason you can run out there and say, “Barack Obama is destroying the fabric of this country.”
Of course, Fox had to cut something. But they left in a lengthy and stupid bit about Jon Stewart being O’Reilly’s vice president, and all sorts of lame O’Reilly banter. To his credit, O’Reilly did repeatedly point his viewers to the full interview online, so it’s not like he’s exactly trying to hide anything. More like he wants to look good on TV, which is basically the only thing he’s ever cared about aside from smearing deep-fried chickpea balls on naked underlings in the shower.
UPDATE: Here are some more clips, none of which made air. The most on-point is this one, in which O’Reilly goes after Stewart for “taking a clip, cutting it up, and making someone look like an idiot.” Stewart used a clip of O’Reilly for instance, “criticizing the Bush protesters—but you didn’t use the whole clip.” Because in order to fairly represent the views of a commentator, you have to use the full clip. (No, the O’Reilly edit didn’t unfairly present Stewart—it just deliberately removed his most effective arguments.)
Stewart also (genially) went after O’Reilly personally, as opposed to critiquing Fox News. Here’s a particularly spectacular moment that didn’t make the cut because, we assume, Stewart made O’Reilly look stupid for claiming to live among “the folks.”
O’REILLY: Do you know any Tea Party people?
STEWART: Yes, I do.
O’REILLY: Really? Down in Greenwich Village there are Tea Party people?
STEWART: Down in Greenwich Village? Let me tell you something, Bill—I’ll give you four blocks of Greenwich Village, and I’ll put that up against four blocks around your house—
STEWART: No, your house now.
O’REILLY: Oh, Levittown is where I was brought up.
STEWART: Well, you don’t live there any more brother.
Here, O’Reilly tries to make the case that Stewart would require bodily protection if he went to Charleston, S.C., presumably because he’s Jewish or something? Stewart calls the “real America” meme “idiotic”:
Stewart on Fox News’ “hyperventilating” about Khalid Sheikh Muhammad being tried in the U.S.: “He’s not Magneto—Khalid Sheikh Muhammad isn’t going to sprout wings and fly out and start shooting buildings with lasers.”
And here’s how he tries to compliment O’Reilly on what he sees as his relative level-headedness in the midst of the maelstrom of white rage that is Fox News:
Thanks go to Gawker video interns Aman Ellis and Jessica Poolt for carefully logging the full interview.
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