How Fox News Censored Jon Stewart vs. Bill O'Reilly

Via Gawker

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—

O'REILLY: Levittown?

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:

Jon Stewart Vs. Bill O'Reilly: Round Two

Via Gawker

Night two of Jon Stewart on The O'Reilly Factor! After last night's light sparring we were ready for the main event. Jon Stewart was going to kill Fox News, or O'Reilly to kill Jon Stewart. WE WANTED BLOOD.

There would be no blood. There was just Jon Stewart holding forth on a bunch of pressing political issues. Topics ranged from global warming (O'Reilly: "You're frightened of it. You want to flee.") to Iran (Stewart: "Thank you guys for ratcheting up the fear on this.") to Sarah Palin (Stewart: "I'm not crazy about the whole real America vibe.") There was the cheap thrill of hearing some charismatic person state clearly opinions you agree with, but all in all it was not the apocalyptic tour de force we were secretly hoping for.

We really were planning on declaring Jon Stewart the winner of television tonight. We had the title of this post already picked out and everything: "Jon Stewart Wins Television Forever Daily Show tattoo on the 'tramp stamp' area of our back. And—but are getting off topic!

Instead, the best we could do was nod and say "good point, Jon," at the exact opposite moments 'real' Fox viewers were nodding and saying "good point, Bill." But, man, we nodded hard. We nodded the shit out of it. And in this way? We won.

We should try KSM in New York. *NOD*

Preemptive war is bad. *NOD*

Here's the full interview, courtesy of Mediaite:

Jon Stewart Vs. Bill O'Reilly: Round One

Via Gawker

Tonight was the first half of Jon Stewart's two-night appearance on The O'Reilly Factor. We were very excited: Would Stewart bust out a smackdown of Jim Cramer-sized proportions? Would Bill O'Reilly lose his shit? Was it being broadcast in 3-D?

Let's get ready to have a debate on a prime-time cable news show!!!

It's not the first time our two combatants have met in the Factor's bright blue ring. At the height of the 2004 presidential election, Stewart sat down with O'Reilly. In that conversation, Stewart fought like a trained monkey—whenever O'Reilly tried to drill down, Stewart batted away his questions with silly quips, clearly unwilling to cop to any serious role. But that was before Stewart eviscerated Cross-fire, and before his brilliant bout against Jim "Mad Money" Cramer. Today, Stewart's a double-threat: A deadly combo of silly jokes backed up by the ability to go serious when he thinks something is hurting America. Bill O'Reilly, meanwhile, has been working out his shouting muscles for the match. They are strong.

The O'Reilly/Stewart face-off tonight was funny and mean, but way less awkward than we expected. Stewart offered a firm critique of Fox, but this was no Cross-fire take-down. Which is good, because the whole Cross-fire thing was awkward to the point of being unwatchable. O'Reilly defended his network at full shout but was content with mainly taking a bunch of cheap shots at The Daily Show. In fact O'Reilly took the whole thing a degree less seriously than Stewart—basically a mirror image of 2004.

Anyway: FIGHT! [Ding! Ding!]

Here's the full two-part interview, or scroll down for a blow-by-blow of the best parts:

In the first segment, O'Reilly and Stewart discuss Obama. Laid-back. Kind of boring.

In round two, Stewart goes after Fox News in a big way: He says O'Reilly has become a voice of sanity on the network, "which is like being the thinnest kid at fat camp." (OUCH.) Stewart explains that Fox News' appeal is its anti-Obama narrative, and O'Reilly almost takes Stewart's head off while yelling at him.

Stay tuned to Round two tomorrow.


O'Reilly starts with a jab at The Daily Show's audience, a bunch of Obama-lovers sitting "on their little bleachers" waiting to clap at Jon Stewart saying nice things about Obama. All this as a sneaky way to set up the question "how's Obama doing?" Point, O'Reilly

Stewart answers O'Reilly's with a thoughtful swipe: He likes Obama's regulatory mechanisms. (Which, that's what you like?) Opens up a big hole here for O'Reilly to drive an anti-Big Government rant into, but he went for the cheap shot instead, asking Stewart "Did your writers come up with that?" O'Reilly was in fact surprisingly non-combative when it came to Stewart's analysis of the Obama presidency. Point, Stewart

Jon Stewart pretended his hands were spiders while talking about the health care bill. Point, Stewart.

We get to the perennial influence question: Does Jon Stewart have an influence on people? Another cheap O'Reilly Shot: "That is frightening... do you understand the implications of you being important in any context?" Stewart did the only thing possible to do with such a dumb question: made a joke out of it. Point, Stewart.

Alright, after a few minutes of sizing each other up, Stewart and O'Reilly start brawling proper. O'Reilly throws a recent poll in Stewart's face that shows Fox is America's most trusted news source. On cable news, a poll is the equivalent of a folding chair wrapped in barbed wire, and the chair is on fire. But Stewart responds with a zinger: "I believe Fox News sells the clearest narrative of any 'news organization' if that's... are you still referring to it in that manner?" Verbal scare quotes are like a handgun. Point, Stewart.

Now O'Reilly is seeing red. He's got a point in calling out "The Daily Show" for not making fun of CNN and MSNBC as much as they do Fox. (It is always annoying when Stewart tries to pretend he doesn't take sides.) Plus, O'Reilly making good uses of his imposing physical presence here, really using the space. Point, O'Reilly

Here's what Fox has done, through their cyclonic perpetual emotional machine that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: They have taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao.