When comic icon extraordinaire Jon Stewart announced he'd be retiring from The Daily Show later this year, it stirred up a lot of different feelings inside his fans, at least it did for me. On the one hand, you look at how long he's been at it, and how many other opportunities he may have ahead of him, and you think "hey, everything ends someday." But on the other hand, it's hard to say goodbye when it means losing things like this: Jon Stewart took down Fox News on more time on Thursday night, adding yet another chapter to his delicious history of antagonism towards the right-wing cable channel.
Frankly, it's not hard to sympathize with his reasoning. Stewart highlighted two reports by the Department of Justice, laying out their recent findings on Ferguson and the Michael Brown shooting — in particular, the idea that the "hands up, don't shoot" narrative was inconsistent with their review of physical evidence against witness testimony, and that the Ferguson Police Department and city management engaged in years of unjust, racially biased and discriminatory behavior, both personal and institutional. However, as Stewart pointed out, the folks at Fox were a whole lot more interested in the first point than the latter, giving us all another customary "Fox News hosts lecture black people about racism" moment.
Running through a rapid-fire series of clips of Fox personalities excoriating protesters and politicians alike (including President Obama, who's never once mentioned "Hands Up, Don't Shoot"), Stewart summed up the network's reaction like this.
The lesson Fox News is getting at is very clear: Wouldn't it be nice if people who jumped to conclusions and peddled a false, divisive, anger-stoking narrative had to apologize for misleading America?
You can probably guess where this is going. For the next five minutes, Stewart laid into maybe the foremost example of Fox News reporting divisive rumor as fact — their legacy of wild-eyed reporting on the Benghazi compound attack of 2012, posing myriad interpretations which were shot down by a House GOP-led report into the attacks last year.
Did Susan Rice try to go on TV and deceive anyone? Report says no. Did the administration ignore credible warnings about that day's attack? Report says no. Was there a stand-down order, or failure to rescue those individuals and send rescue planes? Report says no. Was there a massive intelligence agency coverup? Report says no. Not CIA, not FBI, none of them.
Stewart's conclusion, by way of some double-standard evidencing clips of Fox News' Megyn Kelly? The "two year Benghazi rage-gasm" was "a tsunami of misinformation and innuendo" and "non fact-base rhetoric." It was enough to ellicit a Jon Stewart closing diatribe for the ages.
For two years, they used Benghazi as shorthand, as a symbol for the whole concept of a corrupt, lying, tyrannical, possible murderous Obama White House, kind of like other people used 'hands up, don't shoot' as a symbol for systemic racism, and there's only really one difference between the two phenomenon: systemic racism actually exists.
Hear, hear. Of course, it comes as little surprise that Fox News hasn't grappled with this glaring, starkly racial and political double-standard — as evidenced by their recent, complete lack of discipline towards repeatedly exposed serial fabricator Bill O'Reilly, it's clear that "accountability moments" never come when you have none to begin with.
Image: The Daily Show