Has Obama lost Jon Stewart — and his millennial base?


Alex Seitz-Wald wonders whether Barack Obama has suffered the equivalent of Lyndon Johnson’s CRONKITE MOMENT:

If President Obama has lost Jon Stewart, has he lost his base? It’s a question worth considering after “The Daily Show” host tore into the president Monday night for a series of scandals and controversies that seem to be piling up by the hour this week. In a shouty, expletive-laden segment, Stewart said the IRS scandal will be fodder to the right-wing conspiracy theories he’s been battling for years and that it single-handedly ”shifted the burden of proof from the tin foil-behatted to the government.”


Stewart, more than any other broadcaster or political figure, has become a voice for the millennial generation and a conduit for its political awakening in the Obama era. Stewart has never withheld criticism for the president, but the tone is usually like that of a comedic roast, ribbing but generous, or the kind of sober, but compassionate warning a friend may give about the need to shape up. But Stewart’s performance last night suggests the host is losing his patience with the president. Could his viewers and a core constituency of the Obama base be not far behind him?

It calls to mind one of the most famed moments in broadcasting, when CBS News legend Walter Cronkite delivered an editorial opinion after the Tet Offensive in February 1968 saying, “It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

Apparently watching at the White House, President Johnson, who had lost the left long ago, reportedly turned to an aide and said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”



  1. Robert

    Yes, Mr. President, if you’re not thinking about these times as comparable to President Johnson’s Cronkite moment, then you’re well on your way to losing your base and the 2014 and 2016 elections for the Democrats.

  2. expdoc

    Even in the face of blatant proof of multiple wrong doings the left is going to attack those who were correct all along.

  3. doc: If you’re talking about “those who were correct all along” on the Benghazi matter, you’ve had too much Kool-Aid to drink.

    That dog won’t hunt.

  4. Brian Opsahl

    After 9 hearings…..nothing…if they had anything…would it take 9 hearings…really..?

  5. I thought Stewart was a on the lefts payroll? How does he go after Obama? I’m confused.

  6. expdoc

    Jon Stewart is a smart liberal and an entertainer out for ratings. He knows this whole thing stinks and isn’t going to be caught on the wrong side of the scandal.

  7. doc: On the other hand, Stewart has blown the whistle on the Republican nonsense regarding the so-called Benghazi scandal, which has been your favorite hobby horse:


  8. Brian Opsahl

    The Daily show as it’s called picks on just about everybody..dems,repubs alike

  9. expdoc

    I love how you (Pat ) think Benghazi is “my favorite hobby horse”. All I wanted to hear was the truth. The truth from a President who promised the most transparent adminstration ever. The truth about what happened and the truth about why the administration deliberately lied about what happened. Shocking to desire the truth, I know, but that hardly qualifies as a “hobby horse”.


    As House Republicans piece together the events in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, that led to the death of four Americans, the focus has fallen on the talking points the Obama administration used to describe the attack in the days following.

    The talking points were revised numerous times before United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice used them on political talk shows on Sept. 16. While the White House says the changes were merely stylistic, the changes suggest administration officials were interested in sparing the State Department from political criticism in the wake of the attack.

    Carney: WH didn’t “hide” anything on Benghazi talking points
    Kerry: Benghazi hearings revealed nothing new
    Boehner: More Benghazi hearings on the way
    CBS News has learned there was a flurry of approximately 100 interagency government emails on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 regarding the content of the talking points to be released to members of Congress regarding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in Benghazi. The email list included officials from the White House, State Department, CIA, FBI and others reviewing the talking points.

    An early set of talking points was ready for interagency review at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14.:

    11:15 a.m. talking points: “….we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”

    4:42 p.m. talking points: Changed “attacks in Benghazi” to “demonstrations in Benghazi.”

    Added: “On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the Embassy [in Cairo] and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy.” This news that a warning had been given was later removed.

    Added: “The Agency [CIA] has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.” This news of advance warning of a threat was later removed.

    Removed reference to “ties to al Qa’ida” and again changed “attack” to “violent demonstrations.”

    In a 6:52 p.m. email: John Brennan, then-Deputy National Security Advisor (now head of CIA) asked for removal of “the crowd almost certainly was a mix of individuals from across many sectors of Libya society.”

    7:39 p.m. email: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed the most sweeping concerns. “I have serious concerns about all parts highlighted below in arming members of Congress with information to start making assertions to the media that we ourselves are not making because we don’t want to prejudice the investigation… Why do we want the Hill to be fingering [al-Qaeda linked] Ansar al-Sharia when we aren’t doing that ourselves until we have investigation results? And the penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency [CIA] about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda…[which] could be abused by members of Congress to fault the State Department for not paying attention… so why would we want to cede that, either?”

    8:59 p.m. email: A facilitator of the email threads answers Nuland’s concerns about “prejudicing the investigation” by stating “The FBI did not have major concerns with the points and offered only a couple of minor suggestions.” Nonetheless, they remove a paragraph referring to Ansar al-Sharia from the next version.

    8:59 p.m. talking points: Changed “we do know” to “there are indications that” Islamic extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

    Removed “Initial press reporting linked the attack to Ansar al-Sharia. The group has since released a statement that its leadership did not order the attacks, but did not deny that some of its members were involved. Ansar al-Sharia’s Facebook page aims to spread Sharia in Libya and emphasizes the need for jihad to counter what it views as false interpretations of Islam, according to an open source study.

  10. Robert

    expdoc, how many times have people who post on this board rewritten and made changes to their post, before they pressed the post comment button, and still not got it right?

    I know I am guilty of that category. I doubt I’m alone and used the word “guilty” purposely because that’s what some people are trying to imply, that normal massaging of PR’s is something to be guilty of.

    How many times have you re-written or changed the verbiage in the memo’s or correspondence you’ve written where you work?

    I remember correspondence I had to create for our customers. By the time it went out, it often times didn’t come near resembling the original content. That’s why MS Office Word has a redlining function, so people who proofread can suggest changes.

  11. expdoc

    The changes noted above and further noted in the link were not changes of syntax or spelling errors.

    They are material changes to the content of the information. It would seem that some of the changes were made for political reasons rather than to try to make the communication more accurate, or should I say, transparent.

  12. Give it up, doc!

    That Benghazi dog won’t hunt. All of the crap that you and your Obamaphobic buddies have been peddling for six months now has been categorically refuted by people of established integrity.

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