Stewart weighed the pros and cons of his situation with News Angel Tom Brokaw and Comedy Devil Don Rickles.
He whined about how much he likes and respects Weiner.
He complained about being put in this position and wondered why the congressman was making it worse for Stewart by handling the situation so poorly.
Via his show, Stewart issued a desperate plea to Weiner to come clean: “But if you just had some junk shots on your computer? I mean, come on, dude. It’s a free country!”
But Monday, just hours after Weiner finally acknowledged, in a news conference, that the crotch shot was his and that he had sent it to the woman, Stewart wimped out.
He showed his studio audience, and viewers at home, another photo that had surfaced, of Weiner’s bare chest.
“Wow, that’s some cleavage. Can we zoom in on that?”
Stewart continued, digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole: “You know what’s perhaps the most upsetting thing about having a friend caught up in this? Finding out he’s packing jumbo heat and that he’s ripped. I can’t believe this guy and I are the same age! That’s my problem. How good is the congressional health plan?”
Then he showed a clip of Weiner’s news conference — the part in which he said he’d made terrible mistakes and hurt people he cared about, for which he’s deeply sorry.
“And there you have it. At 4:25 Eastern Standard Time, this story officially became sad,” Stewart said.
“You know, we forget some times . . . that these people are human. And that’s a lesson that’s going to stay with me until I turn back to the camera over there and do a little bit on the John Edwards story.”
One “I don’t know what to do any more. It’s killing me!” later, Stewart was done with the Weiner story.
Now, The Reporters Who Cover Television revere Stewart. When Weiner held his news conference, they clapped their little hands in glee and ran to their DVRs to make sure they had it set to Stewart’s show so as not to miss one precious moment of the comic’s coverage of this super-sensational story.
It was a little like a piranha convention expecting a raw steak banquet, then being fed soy burgers.
“Rep. Weiner Gets a Freebie: Jon Stewart Reflects On How ‘Ripped’ His Friend Is,” screeched Mediaite.
“Jon Stewart went easy on his pal Anthony Weiner. He was the only one,” blasted Entertainment Weekly.