Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ has been trading elbows with Fox News over the network’s efforts to declare a national apocalypse over entitlement spending. First, in a show last week, Stewart lampooned Fox News for focusing on seafood purchases by food-stamp recipients. In return, Fox News co-host Eric Bolling shot back, saying that he and his colleagues are “talking about waste, fraud and abuse.”
No, no, no, responded Stewart on his show last night. Don’t try to reframe this particular manufactured dispute, suggested Stewart:
You thought we were ridiculing you for exposing government waste. No, that’s a reasonable thing to expose. That’s not what we were talking about. What we were ridiculing was the way you exaggerate the scope of public assistance abuse through random, often unprovable anecdotes, hour-long specials. . . .
One of the anecdotes at which Stewart takes particular umbrage is surfer-cum-musician Jason Greenslate, who has bought lobster with food stamps and is something of a star on the network. A Fox News chyron showcased on Stewart’s show describes him, “FOOD STAMP SURFER JASON GREENSLATE DEFENDS LIVING LARGE ON WELFARE.”
Said Stewart: “Congratulations on finding your food-stamp abuse Bigfoot. That one guy you found is certainly not someone that the food-stamp program itself would probably point to as its greatest success story. But we make fun of you not for finding him but for pretending that he somehow represents literally millions of Americans. I know I’m being purposely hyperbolic.” Actually no: Bolling said the same thing — “He is representative of literally millions of Americans.”
Perhaps it wouldn’t be quite as noxious if all the folks who were complaining about food-stamp recipients living large weren’t millionaires (or many hundred-thousandaires) working for a network with runaway profits.