Yesterday, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss his sharp criticism of Fox News. But one uncomfortable reference to marching-order emails from a Fox News executive was cut from the program.
Speaking with host Chris Wallace, Stewart referenced emails from Fox News vice president and DC managing editor Bill Sammon to bolster his case that Fox News resembles “ideological regimes” who receive “marching orders.” Stewart told Wallace that Fox News “reminds me of, you know -- you know, ideological regimes. They can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders.” Stewart then said “and if you want me to go through Bill Sammon's emails” but was cut off by Wallace.
Stewart was referencing a series of leaked emails that Media Matters released showing Sammon slanting his bureau's reporting. In one email, Sammon ordered his news staff to cast doubt on established climate science. In another, Sammon directed staff not to use the phrase “public option,” but instead the GOP-friendly “government option” and similar phrases. Sammon also sent emails highlighting “Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists” in his 1995 autobiography and slanting Fox's coverage of President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech.
But viewers watching Fox News Sunday on-air wouldn't have heard Stewart's reference to Sammon because it didn't appear on air. Stewart's reference instead appears in the “unedited” interview that Fox News posted online.
The following is a transcript of Fox News Sunday's conversation with Stewart. In bold and caps is the portion of that conversation that was cut from the portion that aired on the show.
STEWART: You can't understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that's the soup you swim in. And I appreciate that. And I understand that. It reminds me of, you know -- you know, in ideological regimes, they can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders. AND IF YOU WANT ME TO GO THROUGH BILL SAMMON'S EMAILS AND --
WALLACE: DO YOU THINK I'VE EVER -- How do you explain me?
STEWART: OH I THINK YOU DO A NICE JOB. AND I'VE TOLD YOU THAT ON THE SHOW. I THINK YOU'RE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING --
WALLACE: Do you think I get marching orders?
STEWART: I think that you are here in some respects to bring a credibility and an integrity to an organization that might not otherwise have it, without your presence. So, you are here as a counterweight to Hannity, let's say, or you are here as a counterweight to Glenn Beck, because otherwise, it's just pure talk radio and it doesn't establish the type of political player it wants to be.
To be clear, programs - including The Daily Show - routinely air edited versions of pre-taped interviews, mainly because of time (Stewart's unedited interview was roughly 24 minutes while the on-air version was roughly 15 minutes). But it's hard to imagine that Stewart's five-second reference to Sammon - a Fox News executive and boss at the DC bureau where Fox News Sunday is produced - was excised just because of time.
Fox News Sunday's avoidance of Sammon fits a pattern of the network publicly avoiding uncomfortable questions about the controversial Sammon while it touts the credentials of the news bureau he manages.
Here's the full exchange:
And here's what Fox News Sunday aired yesterday: