Column sparks salvo from Jon Stewart of 'Daily Show'

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 2, 2010; 1:00 PM

Anyone who has dared doubt the global influence of this column, guess again.

People in high places take notice.

Well, at least people in funny places.

Monday's column on Jon Stewart taking more shots at President Obama lately -- even making fun of his teleprompter habit -- generated a bit of online buzz. I hadn't quite said that this was an LBJ-losing-Cronkite moment, but did suggest that it reflected a disappointment among liberals with 44's presidency.

Now Mr. Stewart has responded.

On Monday night's "Daily Show" -- after touting the appearance of Austan Goolsbee, as big a "get" as Beyonce on Grammy night -- Stewart said:

"As you know, it's been a little bit of a rough ride for the Obama administration the past few months. Unemployment remains high, they've suffered multiple special election losses, and from what I understand -- they've even lost Jon Stewart! Oh my God!"

At this point, Media Notes flashed on the screen, with big pull quotes: "Jon Stewart. . . . picking on Democrats" and "Stewart chided Obama."

"And as Stewart goes," he intoned, "so goes an incredibly small and yet for some reason demographically valuable segment of our population."

Pausing for effect, he added: "You know how President Bush suffered when he lost Jon Stewart. I mean, that guy was run out of office after only eight years."

Go ahead, Jon. Play down your influence. We know the I'm-just-a-comic shtick. But this newspaper has broken the code and told the world of your clout. I'm sure they're meeting in the Situation Room to discuss this crisis right about now.

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