Ever wonder how The Daily Show books so many guests of the conservative persuasion? Apparently it has something to do with the fact that Jon Stewart is one of the few hosts on television who's considered fair and intellectually curious.
If you watch The Daily Show you've probably noticed how guys like Bill Kristol, John Bolton, Next Gingrich and Mike Huckabee are booked as guests with regularity. Perhaps you've found yourself wondering, "Why the hell would these guys want to appear on The Daily Show?" I sure have! And now, thanks to Daily Intel's Jacob Gershman, we know why.
While the (conservative) movement professes a disdain for the "liberal media elite," it has made an exception for the true-blue 46-year-old comedian. "He always gives you a chance to answer, which some people don't do," says John Bolton, President Bush's ambassador to the United Nations and a Fox News contributor, who went on the show last month. "He's got his perspective, but he's been fair." Says Bolton: "In general, a lot of the media, especially on the left, has lost interest in debate and analysis. It has been much more ad hominem. Stewart fundamentally wants to talk about the issues. That's what I want to do."
Conservatives like Stewart because he's providing them a platform to reach an audience that usually tunes them out. And they often find that Stewart takes them more seriously than right-wing political hosts, who are often just using them to validate their broad positions, do. Stewart will poke fun, but he offers a good-faith debate on powder kegs - torture, abortion, nuclear weapons, health care - that explode on other networks. "Shepard Smith did the same discussion [on torture]," says (Neo-conservative Cliff) May. "He kept yelling me at me: 'This is where I get off the bus! Not in my name!' He wasn't arguing with me. It was just assertions and anger. That's not what Jon deals in."