July 28, 2015

"Jon Stewart's secret White House visits/Obama, aides took unusual steps to cultivate ‘Daily Show’ comic."

Reports Politico.
Top Obama aides David Axelrod and Austan Goolsbee knew Stewart’s voice mattered and made sure to field calls and emails from the host and Daily Show staff.... Goolsbee acknowledged he would stay in touch with The Daily Show staff: He emailed with his former Yale classmate and improv comedy partner Scott Bodow, who joined The Daily Show as a writer in 2002 and now is an executive producer.

That work-the-umps strategy also involved the president, who used his two Oval Office meetings with Stewart as a chance to sell the administration’s ideas. At the 2011 sit-down, Goolsbee said, the president wanted to counter his critics on the left and lay the groundwork for his 2012 re-election campaign.

“The White House itself was quite interested in at least explaining its side of the story to Jon Stewart,” Goolsbee said, “up to and including the president.”
Obama appeared on the show 7 times.

69 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Wow. That's almost enough to make me question Stewart's impartiality. Maybe I shouldn't have been relying on him as my primary news source for the last decade...

Brando said...

At least they're not trying to hide behind the fiction that it's just a comedy show anymore. And sucking up to the president is comedic malpractice. It closes off an entire avenue of satire for the sake of access or political slant.

Every comedian will lean one way or another (though usually it's to the left), but in pursuit of the craft they are obligated to hit all sides wherever the jokes may be. Letting the White House suck up to them (or sucking up right back) is pathetic.

David Begley said...

Stewart is a shill for the Dems.

Tank said...

Regardless of his politics, a very likeable guy. Here he is with Seinfeld.

Living in north Jersey, most of the people I know are leftists. And they're very nice people (the ones I know/hang out with). I just think they're clueless or misinformed.

Michael K said...

Good strategy but just another example of how the public is uninformed by these people. I would say "misinformed" but I don;think the public that watches that show is capable of thought beyond reflexes.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Funny how whenever a newscaster/comedian/clown retires we finally learn "the truth" and it is by some cosmic coincidence exactly what you knew all along about the clown/comedian/newscaster's act.

Shouting Thomas said...

You'll think I'm exaggerating here, but the next step in the not too distant future is required displays of homosexual behavior in the schools for the purposes of demonstrating "tolerance" and for the greater purpose of "experimentation."

The Weathermen were already into this in the 60s.

I've got a young grandson whose father is a very traditional macho hetero man.

War is on the horizon. Talk is really over.

You and your Weird Sister loons aren't going to fuck over my grandson with this shit.

American Liberal Elite said...

I'm shocked

pm317 said...

Maybe he was called in to get a tongue lashing the few times he made fun of Obama. OTH, these stories make me mad. What is wrong with the media? Obama people don't know how to govern but they do know how to corrupt the systems for their gain.

Sebastian said...

"in pursuit of the craft they are obligated to hit all sides wherever the jokes may be. Letting the White House suck up to them (or sucking up right back) is pathetic."

No. Politics trumps comedy or craft. Progressivism is a circle-suck.

Bobber Fleck said...

Jon Stewart is a liberal political tool. I'm beginning to suspect he may not be the only one.

Bay Area Guy said...

Proud to say I never watched The Daily Show. Always understood it was a subtle tool for the political left. I do love humor though. George Carlin was left of center, but he was so darn smart, funny and insightful that I didn't care. Most importantly, though, I don't believe Carlin was a political tool for anyone. In contrast, Stewart was just a punk.

Scott said...

"Jon Stewart is a liberal political tool. I'm beginning to suspect he may not be the only one."

Name a high-profile liberal in the media who is known for their integrity. Just one.

harrogate said...

"I've got a young grandson whose father is a very traditional macho hetero man."

I can only hope he is a little less deranged than you are. If he's like you, he goes around talking about how "very traditional macho" he is. And no one sane talks like this.

Robert Cook said...

Yeah, Stewart always was too fucking soft on Obama.

Robert Cook said...

"Living in north Jersey, most of the people I know are leftists. And they're very nice people (the ones I know/hang out with). I just think they're clueless or misinformed."

I'm sure they think they same of you, ("very nice but clueless / misinformed").

tim in vermont said...

A couple of things got me to thinking that maybe leftists are "not really nice people." One when I was playing an Aretha Franklin channel on Pandora at a party and people got upset about the gospel numbers being sung since it was Christian hate.

The other was when a leftie sat down with me at a party and apropos to nuthin brought up "corporations" and left in disgust when I wouldn't join in his denunciations, but rather looked at him quizzically.

Or the lady in Starbucks with the "Support the troops, we will need them to overthrow the govt" sticker on her computer. So she is against democracy and wants "the troops" to do her fighting for her. Okay. Whatever. I don'f find them "really nice people." Some of them are, many of them aren't.

Bob Boyd said...

"...felt like being called into the principal’s office."

Really? Why was a kid like Johnny called to the Principle's office? He wasn't there to get his knuckles rapped. He was a good boy, the popular kid with good grades, the teachers' pet.
So what did the Principle want from little Johnny? Why was he sitting there by the big desk feeling so special? Why was it a secret? Did Johnny get a Junior G-man badge?

Scott said...

The reason Jon Stewart is no mensch is that whenever he gets cornered on his political proclivities, he retreats to his, "Hey, back off, I'm just a comedian!" schtick. Oy, what a putz.

Tank said...

Robert Cook said...

"Living in north Jersey, most of the people I know are leftists. And they're very nice people (the ones I know/hang out with). I just think they're clueless or misinformed."

I'm sure they think they same of you, ("very nice but clueless / misinformed").


See, this is where you're wrong. Knowing the lay of the land, I mostly avoid talking politics, because I know that, if I did, I would be in great danger of being deemed evil and shunned by many of the people I know. Conservatives think that people who disagree are misinformed, and leftists think that people who disagree are evil and must be destroyed.

Try to keep up.

chuck said...

The new liberal motto is "Blow the oppressor and screw the afflicted".

CWJ said...

Scott,

Nat Hentoff?

Though perhaps he's more a classical liberal than today's variety.

Michael K said...

"I'm sure they think they same of you, ("very nice but clueless / misinformed")."

I'm sure you are correct. The real clueless do not realize they are, of course.

Tank said...

@Cook

Imagine if I tried to discuss with my leftist friends how black people in America, as a group, have a mean IQ almost exactly one standard deviation below that of Asian people in America, as a group. And the ramifications for social policy.

Would they think I was a nice guy, but clueless, or something else?

Phil 314 said...

I'm sure Mr. Stewart was speaking truthiness to power.

damikesc said...

Funny how whenever a newscaster/comedian/clown retires we finally learn "the truth" and it is by some cosmic coincidence exactly what you knew all along about the clown/comedian/newscaster's act.

It's uncanny how frequently the "uneducated hicks" end up being spot-on accurate in people while the "educated elites" are always stunned at how bad they were at figuring out somebody's motices, isn't it?

What next? Stephen Colbert is also a Progressive tool who Progressives think conservatives don't get was doing terrible schtick (which explains why his audience was overwhelmingly Progressive, huh?)

Bay Area Guy said...

Jay Leno. Funny, easy-going, avid car-collector. Not a tool.

Don't think Seinfeld was a tool either. He really stayed far away from social-political commentary.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

"Or the lady in Starbucks with the "Support the troops, we will need them to overthrow the govt" sticker on her computer. So she is against democracy and wants "the troops" to do her fighting for her. Okay. Whatever. I don'f find them "really nice people." Some of them are, many of them aren't."

In my experience the most open-minded people (on Left and Right) are those who were raised by parents with political opinions that they (the kids) disagreed with. Not just because they have the experience of seeing examples of the "other side" who they actually care about and respect, but also because growing up they were exposed to the other side's point of view and so while they can disagree with it, they see more than just the straw man arguments and can understand their motivations.

Anyone truly insulated--able to choose to read only things they already agree with, only conversing with others who agree with them--will become intolerant of the "other" to such an extent that this "other" must be destroyed to preserve all that is good.

tim in vermont said...

I haven't met the first person on the left who would actually cop to understanding a conservative argument. Maybe some of them do but can't admit it, IDK.

Jonathon Haidt did some research where he asked liberals and conservatives to recap the other's arguments honestly. Conservatives were consistently able to do it, liberals were not. That's when he coined the catch phrase for liberal argumentation, "Reject first, ask rhetorical questions later!"

It is *not* a two sided thing. Of course, since I am asserting a negative, you can disprove it with a counterexample. I would love to hear of one.

Gabriel said...

I have always found it a useful exercise to express an opponent's argument in a way that he agrees is fair. If you can do that--and of course if he is willing to reciprocate--then an argument has a chance of being more than Team Red/Team Blue feces flinging.

virgil xenophon said...

I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya, that the likes of a John Stewart would EVER be a party to such a thing..

Anonymous said...

Jon Leibowitz has always been up Obamas butt....Big surprise ......NOT!!! When you have to spread propaganda...you have to spend time with the "news" men!!!

Michael K said...

"the most open-minded people (on Left and Right) are those who were raised by parents with political opinions that they (the kids) disagreed with."

MY parents were Roosevelt Democrats because they had lived through the Depression and had not been prosperous. They were outraged when I told them I voted for Nixon in 1960, my first vote. In later years, my mother came to identify as Republican and denied she had ever been a Democrat.

Three of my children are Democrat/leftists and two are Republican. I can't talk to the two oldest about politics at all. Closed minds. Both lawyers, too.

William said...

Stewart strikes this "What fools these mortals be" pose. He's above the fray, bemused by all the frippery. What crap. Frippery on the right is endlessly amusing whilst left wing frippery passes unremarked......I don't mind him being a flack. It's the posing that drives me up the wall......Some day, before I die, I hope to hear some comedian make fun of Nancy Pelosi's Botox injections with the same frequency and fervor tat they do of John Boehner's tanning salon look. I know it's impossible for any comedian to make fun of Maxine and her banker husband, but surely a few jibes at Nancy are permitted.

YoungHegelian said...

I could never abide Stewart. He always seemed so smug & nasty. He was the kind of guy who was always too sure about too many topics that a sane person couldn't really be that sure about. And that "clown nose on -- clown nose off" business whenever he got called on the carpet for being a political commentator in the guise of being a comic got old fast, too.

Unknown said...

did they use the Monica closet?

Brando said...

"Three of my children are Democrat/leftists and two are Republican. I can't talk to the two oldest about politics at all. Closed minds. Both lawyers, too."

That sucks--my own experience has been more mixed, with Democrats as parents I often disagreed with them but the only time it got to the point where we just had to change the subject was the Bush Jr. years (and I wasn't even a big fan of his, just didn't hate him as my dad did! In his defense he couldn't stand Clinton either and even voted for Bush's dad, perhaps the only Dukakis '88 voter to go Bush '92). I expect any kids I have would become Democrats because there's something about that age and rebelling.

Of the people I know, the ones who tend to be the most strident as in "if you disagree with me you're either stupid or evil, take your pick" tend to be leftists raised by leftists and rightists raised by rightists. I figure they don't spend much time reading the opposition papers.

Brando said...

"Some day, before I die, I hope to hear some comedian make fun of Nancy Pelosi's Botox injections with the same frequency and fervor tat they do of John Boehner's tanning salon look. I know it's impossible for any comedian to make fun of Maxine and her banker husband, but surely a few jibes at Nancy are permitted."

That's the part that bothers me--not the jokes Stewart makes but the ones he doesn't make. There's plenty of material being missed simply because his writers are thinking "it can't be funny."

Scott said...

@tim in Vermont: Yeah, Jonathan Haidt is a liberal with integrity. I did an image search on Bing for his name, and "Jonathan Haidt Douche Bag" showed up as an alternate. I guess "douche bag" is what liberals call other liberals who tell the truth.

Amadeus 48 said...

Clowns meeting with clowns. Scary, eh?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Kinda makes all the hoopla over "coordination" look silly, doesn't it?
Oh sure, the Club For Growth has to be careful not to let the Walker campaign dictate C4G's message, but if the Obama campaign wants to get favorable coverage and/or get it's line out there on the airwaves by sucking up to Stewart it's not problem at all.

Don't worry about it, though, I'm sure Comedy Central registered as a PAC, or counted the air time Stewart gave making Obama's arguments as in-kind contributions. What's that you say, Comedy Central is just using their 1st Amendment rights? But they're a corporation! Are you saying corporations are people!?!! Citizens's United, Citizen's United, everybody riot! Just kidding, Fen's law.

rehajm said...

Anyone paying attention knew this was going on. The loss is the fertile comedic soil gone unsown.

Wince said...

Was there ever any doubt that the coterie of HBO leftist comedians receive talking points from the Obama White House or Podesta's Center for American Progress?

Bay Area Guy said...

"the most open-minded people (on Left and Right) are those who were raised by parents with political opinions that they (the kids) disagreed with."

Heh - my parents are transplanted New York Baby-Boomers who migrated West in the late 60s and settled in Berkeley. I didn't even meet a Republican until I was 17. It traumatized the hell out of them when I cast my first vote for Reagan in 84 - but it sure was fun:)

jr565 said...

active collusion to get the storyline straight. No wonder libs think Stewart is an honest broker who delivers the news. Unlike real news castser who are supposedly in bed with the big corps.
I wonder if Obama had veto rights over some jokes.

Anonymous said...

In my experience the most open-minded people (on Left and Right) are those who were raised by parents with political opinions that they (the kids) disagreed with.

I've had the complete opposite experience. The people I know who agree with their parents are much more open minded than the people I know who rebelled against their parents, thought they knew better, and never need to be told by anyone anything because they are so open minded they know it for themselves.

It's also been my experience that those people who consider themselves the most open minded and accuse others of being closed minded are exactly what they accuse others of.

Robert Cook said...

"Imagine if I tried to discuss with my leftist friends how black people in America, as a group, have a mean IQ almost exactly one standard deviation below that of Asian people in America, as a group. And the ramifications for social policy.

"Would they think I was a nice guy, but clueless, or something else?


I guess that depends on two things: how willing they would each be to listening to your argument and considering its pros and cons, and how you presented your argument. Within the cohort of your leftist friends, there could well be a spectrum of reactions to your argument, ranging from "nice guy, but clueless" to...something else.

Brando said...

"Heh - my parents are transplanted New York Baby-Boomers who migrated West in the late 60s and settled in Berkeley. I didn't even meet a Republican until I was 17. It traumatized the hell out of them when I cast my first vote for Reagan in 84 - but it sure was fun:)"

My brother was the first to break the "GOP barrier" in the household, though it seems most of my uncles and aunts were more to the right (probably because they ran their own businesses). My paternal grandfather was an old FDR Democrat and we always had great arguments over politics--but we did agree that unions were awful.

Brando said...

"It's also been my experience that those people who consider themselves the most open minded and accuse others of being closed minded are exactly what they accuse others of."

There's an easy test for that--can you make a convincing argument on your opponent's behalf? That is, even though you don't agree with it, can you state it in terms that your opponent would agree with?

Of course, anyone going around saying "I'm fair and open minded, it's the other side that's always bigoted and wrong!" it's usually a tell.

Drago said...

Stewart, like all the lefties, is truly an "independent" thinker and open to all ideas.

darrenoia said...

Brando: "sucking up to the president is comedic malpractice."

Never seen the entire landscape of late night comedy in the Obama era expressed so succinctly before. I mean, it's truly shocking how far these white men bent over backwards not to ever be seen as criticizing a black man. I think that's what liberalism has become. I was a Letterman fan for decades and had to stop watching during the 2008 election campaign, because it was painful how he couldn't find anything to needle Obama about, even gently, other than "wow that guy's so cool" (as though a man who rides a bike in mom jeans is unmockable).

Shocking, appalling, disgusting. I think it's partly that even the late night comics have gotten more strident over the years (Letterman turned into a classic a limousine liberal), but I think it was mostly that odd phenomenon of these very racially enlightened white guys being super uncomfortable with the thought of treating a black president like any other president.

Pathetic.

Bilwick said...

Most of my life, wherever I've resided, I've lived and moved among people in the arts; and almost always I've been the lone-wolf libertarian (you know, one of those weirdoes who believer their lives and property belong to themselves and not to garage mahal, Robert Cook, or the rest of the servile Eloi) among the statists. And yet the vast majority of these artsy types--whethere writers, painters, actors, comedians, etc.--think of themselves as "free spirits" . . . even while being lockstep State-cultists. And of that crowd, none may be more pathetic than the self-styled take-no-prisoners, no-cow-sacred comedian-satirist who is little more than a gelded Court Jester for the "liberal" Hive.

CatherineM said...

Funny Tank, in that episode I found him unlikeable and awkward.

I never liked The Daily Show. Being an asshole to people (especially the fake interviews) does not make you funny. Mean condescension is not funny.

Kristin Wiig did a funny glazed over botoxed Nancy Pelosi when she was on SNL

Bay Area Guy said...

It is interesting how free-spirit, artsy-fartsy types, once they get a taste of politics or political power are quick to use the ham-fisted levers of the State to impose their will.

It's really a disconnect. In the 70's, the hippie communes were truly "off the grid" living their weird lives, but not bothering anyone. 40 years later, the hippies have become college professors, law partners, union organizers, school board members, Senator Sanders-types, bossing people around. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

n.n said...

Separation of Press and State is a fantasy. As is Separation of Church (i.e. organized [a-]religion/morality) and State.

paminwi said...

Surprise, surprise, surprise! (Said in a Jim Nabors voice!)

jacksonjay said...

I fail to see the talent in said Leibowitz. Swearing (loudly) and shamelessly mugging at a camera, must pass for comedic talent these days. I did notice that his show and that Colbert thing were paralyzed by the writers strike a few years ago. The "talent" wanted recess or something, as I recall.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

"Secret White House visits" during the most transparent administration ever? How unexpected. O for the days when democrat party presidents were sneaking in Hollywood actresses for secret sex trysts, instead of progressive comedians to prostitute their policies.

furious_a said...

...he retreats to his, "Hey, back off, I'm just a comedian!" schtick. Oy, what a putz.

AKA "Clown-Nose-On / Clown-Nose-Off Defense". Wonder what he was wearing when visiting Obama?

furious_a said...


Stewart's all-but-lily-white writing staff didn't prepare him for push-back for his racist impersonation of Herman Cain, to which Stewart did not respond gracefully.

"Liberal" means never having to say you're sorry.

JSF said...

I guess we know who President Obama's Incitatus is.....

Since Stewart dealt directly with the President and his staff, doesn't that make his show "Government Propaganda?"

How many Liberals will oppose that?

Unknown said...

Obama definitely knows how to govern, the chicago way.

Temujin said...

This is of note only because we live in a nation where a large percentage of people either (a) don't know a thing about economics or history, and/or (b) proceed to get their news from a comedian.

That a President should spend a minute of time cultivating a comedian to be his mouthpiece says all I need to say about our nation's intellect.

Think I'm wrong? Just go out and have a look around you.

Blue@9 said...

The reason Jon Stewart is no mensch is that whenever he gets cornered on his political proclivities, he retreats to his, "Hey, back off, I'm just a comedian!" schtick. Oy, what a putz.

Yep. I'm kind of amazed that none of his live political interviewees ever just decided to talk gibberish or just make fun of the questions. If Stewart demanded an answer, the guest could just respond "Why? You're just a damn comedian!"

Leigh said...

@furious_a You read my mind. Except I'd say "liberal means having a shield so that you never to have to admit being racist." (I know I'm treading on thin ice here, since Althouse already gave Stewart a pass after subjecting his black accuser to an old-fashioned Camille Paglia psychoanalysis and dismissed him as unbalanced. But nonetheless, here goes).

Now, Stewart's explosion when Wyatt Cenac said Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was too Amos & Andy Kingfishy makes sense. Now we see why Stewart kept giving Chris Wallace the stink-eye.

"What are you trying to say? There's a tone in your voice. Listen here, my minion writer man: you dare suggest I'm a privileged white racist? Go eff yourself. I'm done with you. I step and fetch all the time for a black man -- a REALLY POWERFUL black man -- who takes me into the Oval Office, gives me White House M&Ms and dictates what I say about him on my show. And I have other black friends, too: auditors who work for the IRS. It's true. So quit striking my I'm-a-perfect-liberal nerve. Don't forget, you're black -- the only black writer on my staff as a matter of fact -- and I still hired YOU! So eff off. I'm done with you. I've paid my dues."

Delayna said...

Eh, I can only think of two *useful* reasons for noting that any group might score lower on a standardized test.

One: A salutary reminder that the ability to test well is only ONE kind of intelligence. There are other kinds.

Two: doesn't this mean, in order to be FAIR, we need to make all laws and other interactions between citizens and government simple and transparent so that someone with (for example) the education/comprehension of a fourth grader can obey the law? (I'm thinking of tax law, but surely there are other examples).

Or as I told my friend, who brought up the notion and how utterly radioactive it is, it really doesn't mean anything on the individual level. Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleeza Rice are all very much more intelligent than I am. But that Bell Curve book implies that I am smarter!

Bill said...

CWJ, Matt Hentoff is sui generis, unfortunately, though Kirsten Powers comes to mind.

Gahrie said...

it really doesn't mean anything on the individual level. Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleeza Rice are all very much more intelligent than I am. But that Bell Curve book implies that I am smarter!

Close. You are correct that individuals may appear anywhere on the IQ spectrum, regardless of race.

However (assuming you are White) the Bell Curve doesn't imply that you are smarter than those people. It states that you are likely to have a significantly higher IQ than the average Black person.