Before choosing [Chuck] Todd, NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting Meet the Press, according to three senior television sources with knowledge of the talks. One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Congratulations, by the way, Chuck Todd. Three senior television sources just told the world that NBC didn’t really want you.
Anyway, I have noted here before that Jon Stewart is not an actual intellect — because if you ever press him on anything, he employs the dodge that he is just a comedian. Jim Treacher was the first to notice this:
I’ve been getting more and more annoyed with him trying to have it both ways, being an increasingly self-righteous advocate and yet deflecting criticism with “It’s just a comedy show!” . . . I don’t think he necessarily needs to choose between pundit and comedian. He can do both. Just maybe not in the same breath. It was maddening when he lectured those guys and they wanted to talk to him about it, and he kept going, “Wait, I’m just a comedian!” Clown nose off, clown nose on, clown nose off, clown nose on.
In the post linked above, I showed with transcripts exactly how Stewart resorts to this dodge every time he is criticized. For example, when Tucker Carlson criticized Stewart for conducting an interview with John Kerry with his lips pressed against Kerry’s posterior, Stewart said things like “If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you’re more than welcome to” or “You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.”
We get it. We don’t get to criticize you because you’re just a comedian.
Trouble is, you can’t employ that dodge on “Meet the Press.”
Stewart, to his credit, appears to have recognized this, and wisely declined.
He’s going to leave the clown nose on for now. Or at least, keep it in his pocket, within close reach.