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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Jon Stewart: Does the Jester Tell the Truth?

    By kyle | February 15, 2015

    My bid to do the definitive Jon Stewart takedown is my Sunday column.

    Topics: Comedy | 28 Comments »

    28 Responses to “Jon Stewart: Does the Jester Tell the Truth?”

    1. Tallen Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      I see most of the lies Jon spreads are George Bushit lies and John McCain lies. So a very small part of your fabrication wasn’t biased and fabricated dishonesty at all.

    2. Nate Ross Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Mr. Smith, I think you’d be better served to just stick to writing click-bait entertainment articles instead of attempting to go after comedians. Oh, wait, you called Stewart a journalist, not a comedian. Although I’m not sure how you would be able to tell.

    3. jim Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Kyle Smith observes Stewart’s lying as clearly as a scientist observing stink bug behavior. Is Stewart equally cognizant of his own lying? Of course he is, which is the great marvel of Jon — that he is capable of such monumental deception and destruction, intentionally and consciously.
      I suspect Stewart has special dispensation for destruction, otherwise, how to explain the support of nature all of these years? He may be performing a service, but if he is, I can’t make it out.

    4. anel sefer Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      I would think that NYT can do better.
      or you should do (only) movies my friend.

    5. Pat Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Your full of S#!t! George W. Bush stood up in front of the whole nation at the state of the union address, and knowingly lied about yellow cake uranium from Niger. Not to mention the aluminum tube, everyone in the science world knew could not be used in a centrifuge. So, keep defending a man who mislead, and often invented information so he could aggressively lead our country, and it’s brave solders in the invasion a sovereign nation!!!

    6. Ken Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      You know, it’s funny. I’ve heard good things about your book — e.g., “Hilarious,” that I see right here on your sidebar. And you also write movie reviews. So you think you’d know what comedy is, and how it works. Based on your column, however, which is the only item of yours I’ve knowingly read, I’d have to reach a different determination. But, really, that sidesteps your primary point: that “Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation.” Truly, I don’t see how. While I am not a college student, not by a fair bit, I watch Mr. Stewart with fair regularity, and find him most enjoyable. Personally, I find him no different than a liberal version of the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh camp, except for two things:
      1) The right is so damn *angry*, always feeling as if white Christians are somehow magically on the defensive, and
      2) The right, well… lies. When I hear Palin, or Limbaugh, or whomever, question my patriotism, my beliefs, simply because I share a differing political view than theirs, *that* makes me angry. And it’s a lie on their part, even if they believe it, because it is simply meant to delude and insight anger.
      As for Jon Stewart lying, I will say that he has never told a lie on-air while I was listening. He *has* deflected, by pointing out the fact that others (usually the right) have wallowed in whatever behavior it is he’s defending; I will grant that. But I think that is far different than being actually deceitful, which is something I find happens with great regularity from talk radio and Fox News.

      Is this to say that the left is blameless? Far from it. Indeed, I take umbrage with the whole “infotainment” idea, itself, and rather wish we could return to the days of (say) the mid-80’s or earlier, before (gad-zooks) the FCC went into hands-off mode. Yes, another liberal stance: I actually like regulation when it means, among other things, that I can get relatively objective reporting. All that being said, Roger Ailes et al. have turned anger and half-truths into an artform — and if you say otherwise, sir, you are more of a liar, to yourself and to us, than Jon Stewart could ever try for.

      Sincerely yours,

      Ken D’Ambrosio
      Amherst, NH

    7. Ken Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      P.S. Apologies — my brain was apparently playing homonym bingo with me, and put “insight” in when I clearly meant “incite.”

    8. Patrick Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      It is not absurd to imply that the press was too soft on Bush. The press was embedded with the troops! The press was not allowed to cover the returning of killed soldiers. The press was hardly critical until much later.

      I am stunned that you would suggest that making a claim of a soft press is the equivalent of claiming the press was too conservative. That is not something I would expect from someone with your writing credentials.

      Regardless of left or right, the press failed. It continues to fail as Americans barely seem aware that we are at war and Congress seems to have neither pressure or desire to address it.

      Thanks for the read.


    9. Robert Elliott Says:
      February 15th, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you for this.

    10. Steve Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 8:02 am

      “Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.”

      Yes Kyle, compared to you, Stewart is a journalist…and the Mother Theresa of being responsible.

      He is a COMEDIAN who uses FACTS (something that you apparently live in complete obliviousness to). You see Kyle, facts are things that are proven to be true. Then there is every single thing you contend which is a complete distortion of fact and can only be called by it’s proper name, “truthiness”.

      Irresponsible doesn’t even begin to describe the non stop pack of contrived nonsense you spew like a fun house Carne.

      With Stewart people laugh with him. With you, people are laughing just as much, but at you personally. “Hey Edna, come read this Kyle half wit from the New York Post…remember that pet rock your Republican brother gifted you back in the 80’s…we found it’s long lost biological father and here he is”. “You are right dear the resemblance is uncanny and they both say the exact same things!”

    11. Bo Kane Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 11:19 am

      February 16, 2015
      Mr. Smith,
      By adhering to your personal mission statement, lifted from the words of Mr. Kingsley Amis, you self-satisfyingly may have convinced yourself that you succeeded in annoying many of his followers with your attempt to “takedown”Jon Stewart (How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation,” New York Post , 14 February 2015 ), but I believe you may have done more to take down your own credibility as a writer by writing such a fallacious diatribe and amateurishly breaking Rule #1 of Presenting an Argument 101 by weakly basing your entire critical opinion piece on a hypothetical, logical fallacy. What did they teach you at Yale, my dear boy?
      From the outset – and what seems to be the essential gist of your criticism – you attempt to label and redefine Stewart’s occupation (I assume to suit your desire to simultaneously annoy someone and to seek attention, however negative) – by claiming he is a journalist, a title he has denied repeatedly and an absurd occupational attribute to his resume that not even Wikipedia possesses the inept inaccuracy for which to credit him. It won’t waste my time discrediting all the “typing” that succeeded your flawed initial thesis statement, since your initial premise serves to undermine all that follows. (Such a waste of paper.)
      What you simply have done here, Mr. Smith, is compared apples to oranges (despite the ancient warning label of irrational implausibility.) You picked up an apple (Mr. Stewart, comedian, in this instance), called it an orange (a journalist), then ranted at length with self-righteous indignation as to why it’s a rotten orange, why you hate this particular orange because it’s not like other oranges, listed all the rules it doesn’t follow for being and orange, then faulted and blamed it for tricking gullible, foolish, immature people (yourself included) into thinking it was orange.
      Mr. Smith, Mr. Stewart is a comedian and a political satirist who, using the ruse of a “News Show format” was able to invade and skewer the crumbling sanctity of The Fourth Estate. Nearly all of this nation’s journalism outlets, long ago, abdicated their responsibilities of detached, objectivity in presenting the news. By taking political sides (as I see you have) and presenting human interest pieces as newsworthy they all have eschewed both credibility and integrity and, in doing so, simultaneously lost the thinking public’s trust and brought rise to mindless Kardashianism. As a result, this created a void for relevant and reliable news and information that was filled by the smarmy and cynical genre of satirical pseudo-journalism (that you wish to call an orange,) with the likes of Stewart, Steven Colbert and Bill Maher. Sadly, it is a fact that many viewers have come to believe and trust these men as their source of the credible news, despite none of them erroneously and hypocritically calling themselves anything close to being “respected and trusted” or “fair and balanced.” What reliable sources do they have? Certainly not the New York Post.
      I can appreciate your penchant for being annoying and living by the words of Kingsley Amis, who was, ironically, a comic novelist, but above all, a satirist. He would have just as likely scolded you for not recognizing and appreciating Stewart’s ability to be of his ilk, which, in this case, by no other name, is an apple.
      Mr. Bo Kane
      Guilford, CT

    12. Obama bin Biden Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Well done. The problem is the idiots that watch Stewart, Colbert et al for their news are allowed to vote hence the likes of Obama and Warren Wilhelm in office.

    13. Sherm Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      The comments your piece elicited are truly amazing. You werent disputing Jon Lipshitz skill as comedian; you were highlighting the fact that so many of his nightly minion use his show as their source of real unbiased nightly news. I should know, my three 20s sons eat up every word and then debate me with the faux facts.

    14. lunar Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      I think Kyle found the underbelly…

    15. Uly Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I think your column struck too close to the mark from the comments you have elicited… some that might be considered rejected grad school dissertation subjects out of the liberal arts department. Nicely done!

    16. Don Reed Says:
      February 16th, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      The $30 million-dollar-a-year Rebel Without A Cause.

      How rude we were to offend Game Show Hosts Lauer and Fey by asking where Brian Williams has been hid until the big To-Do has blown over.

    17. Blackmun Says:
      February 17th, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Stewart smith smith steward Jon smith Kyle stewart

      they work for the same people might as well be the same person

      they do what they do so you dont pay no attention to this

    18. JimmyC Says:
      February 17th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      *inhales deeply* I love the smell of liberal butthurt in the morning. Smells like…victory!

    19. Ronaldus Magnus Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 7:18 am

      Jon Stuart replies to Kyle Smith:


    20. lunar Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      @Ronaldus — Who’s defending the 1% now?

    21. Blackmun Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Most who defend the 1pct dont need to be in the 1pct. Better if they not. They happy to work for less and not complain. They happy to carry water. They happy little courtiers. They dont need much. They eat they crumbs. They get paid with pats on they head. The 1pct laugh at they fool chump asses.

    22. Blackmun Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      the ‘media’ all jesters

      Stewart a jester

      Williams a jester

      NPR a jester

      smith a jester

      they job make you look away

    23. lunar Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Look away… from what? The lizard people? The Illuminati? The ‘Joooos?’

      The only conspiracy is that powerful people, like everyone else, look after themselves and their interests. The shockwaves of their actions just naturally ripple farther. As psychologically comforting it is for you to imagine there’s some unified shadowy cohort out to keep you down, you’re really just unwilling to deal with the messy complexity of global politics.

    24. Blackmun Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      lunar–who create ISIS

      who create AQ

      who train bin laden then want him dead

      who train Saddam then want him dead

      who train mcveigh then want him dead

      who fight on who side in the Afghanistan and Balkans

      who want Iraq splits in 3

      who plan to destroy Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan

      who plan goin as planned

      who says Iran next

    25. Blackmun Says:
      February 18th, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      do the jester tell the truth

      no jester tell the truth

      think look

    26. lunar Says:
      February 20th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Um, current administration is getting kinda cozy with Iran. Iran with ANY nuclear tech is not in USA’s best interests, and yet we’re handing it over.

      Sorry, not everything fits your “USA is the original sin” theology.

      And your beef with the concept of “last decade’s friend is today’s foe?” Welcome to human history. Messy politics you can’t cope with.

    27. Ken D'Ambrosio Says:
      February 21st, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Magnus: well-played, sir. Lunar: all too true; occasionally makes me wonder if isolationism wouldn’t be a better stance. Of course, I still abhor genocide, etc., but at what point do we cause more grief — to ourselves and others — with our policies than if we just stayed out? I don’t think anyone would argue that Iraq is better off now than before Saddam’s fall. Saddam was a *baddie*, and I cried no tears over his execution, but we *completely* botched the governmental transition, and left a power vacuum for far too long. I hold Rumsfeld completely responsible for the quagmire that exists today. If we had gone in, taken over, implemented a temporary constitution, appointed a civil police agency, and set elections for six months, I think we would have stood a *chance* of a democratic Iraq. Instead, we completely screwed up. “Mission Complete,” indeed.

    28. Satish Naidu Says:
      February 23rd, 2015 at 7:01 am

      I used to respect you Kyle. I still do probably.
      But this article is total shambles. Is this the best argument you could make?

      “It contains real, unstaged sound bites about the day’s events and interviews about important policy matters.”

      It is edited stuff, with photoshopped images, and juxtapositions. That is where he is finding his humor. How’s that news?

      You say – “Stewart slipped in a line of blatant editorializing:”

      And, you say justification. Same applies to you too when you do a -” Stewart doesn’t actually believe that: It’s just a cheap gambit “