Jon Stewart Slams Media for Trump New York Trial Coverage

The gloves came off on The Daily Show on Monday night, as host Jon Stewart excoriated the news media for its overly extensive and at times incredibly dramatic coverage of Donald Trump‘s New York criminal trial.

In the segment, titled “America’s Most Tremendously Wanted,” Stewart began by saying that “this trial will obviously be a test of the fairness of the American legal system. But it’s also a test that of the media’s ability to cover Donald Trump in a responsible way. A task they have acknowledged that they’ve performed poorly in the past.”

Stewart then proceeded to show clips of somber media self-reflection, from the likes of former CNN host Brian Stelter, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow and more over, of the need to move away from the often breathless, speculative and needless coverage Trump received during his term as president.

“So brave. Well done,” said Stewart mocking the journalists for pushing the “lessons learned” narrative. “I think, for this trial, we will see the seeds of that introspection bear fruit. Or, we will learn that learning curves are for pussies,” he added, with an immediate cut to Trump’s current trial coverage which shows the likes of Wallace billing the case as “the trial of the century,” and trotting out the old Trump cliché of the “walls closing in” around the former president.

Stewart asked, “Perhaps, if we limit the coverage to the issues at hand, and try not to create an all-encompassing spectacle of the most banal of details, perhaps that would help?”

There then followed clips of cable news’ wall-to-wall coverage of Trump’s commute to and from court each day. “Seriously, are we going to follow this guy to court everything day? Are you trying to make this OJ? It’s not a chase. He’s commuting. So, the media’s first attempt, the very first attempt on the first day [of the trial] at self-control, it failed.”

“What the fuck are we doing?” an exasperated Stewart asked at one point.

Stewart then highlighted some of the more ludicrous coverage seen on cable news, predominantly, since the trial started, including CNN’s Jake Tapper trying to hilariously analyze a “glowering” courtroom sketch of Trump and also dramatically stopping an interview with a guest to tell the audience about a pretty banal still photo of Trump in court that was just released. There were also clips of journalists at the trial giving play-by-play reports of Trump’s literal movements, what he did with his lips, how he moved his neck and more. CNN bore the brunt of Stewart’s mockery, particularly for its obsession with Trump’s courtroom sketches and trying and failing valiantly to find meaning in them.

Stewart then came to his point, suggesting that the breathless coverage of banal, meaningless things is numbing people to the actual, salient news. “At some point in this trial something important and revelatory is going to happen, but none of us are going to notice because the hour spent on his speculative, facial tics,” he said. “If the media tries to make us feel like the most mundane bullshit is Earth shattering, we won’t believe you when it’s really interesting. It’s your classic boy who cried Wolf Blitzer.”

He concluded, “We got a long ways to go here. It’s the first day of the first of [Trump’s] 438 trials to come. Pace yourselves. And if [the media is] bored, you can always start planning how you’re going to be covering his next trial and the sober mea culpas you’ll deliver during his next term as president.”

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