But he’s also wrong.
Jon Stewart recently went on Fox News and sparred with Chris Wallace, mainly about bias in the media. Stewart claims the mainstream media is not liberally biased. He says:
The bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness…
On that point, I completely concur with Stewart. There is no doubt that news media is dominated by intellectually lazy people who jump on a story like a wolf pack and spew running commentary without any degree of real analysis. But he’s lying to himself about liberal bias. It’s important to understand that bias is not intentional. Most journalists believe they are fair minded and in the middle. But since most journalists are liberal and have been educated in the liberal bastions that are modern journalism schools and associate only with other liberals, their self-perception is skewed. Anyone to the right of them is considered conservative but they themselves are not aware of how far left they are. The best exploration of this phenomenon is by Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS News journalist who was ousted for daring to expose the bias of a colleague.
Stewart also claimed that Fox News viewers were consistently shown in surveys to be the least informed, a claim that Politifact investigated and found to be false.
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience…
One other thing that Stewart is correct about. He’s just a comedian. And I have to say I often laugh when I watch his show. Now, Bill Maher, well that’s another story. Nothing more pathetic than an unfunny comedian.