On October 15, 2004, in the lead up to the US Presidential elections, Jon Stewart appeared as a guest on CNN‘s Crossfire, challenging the show’s unnecessary polarisation of American politics and life. The Daily Show host challenges Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson to take another approach. In January 2005 CNN took Stewart’s advice, letting Carlson go and relocating the politics talk format into Inside Politics and the Situation Room.
Jon is quizzed on his perceptions of George W Bush, John Kerry, and other might-have-been candidates from the Primaries process. Stewart, however, is more interested in the processes, the political and propaganda machines behind the scenes. He believes that political talk shows should help members of the public think through the underlying political issues rather than join in the meaningless personal slanging matches between liberals and conservatives.
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“I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. And I wanted to — I felt that that wasn’t fair and I should come here and tell you that I don’t — it’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America. But I wanted to come here today and say… Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America. See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. And we’re left out there to mow our lawns.”
Read the full transcript on Media Matters.