Jon Stewart in the No Spin Zone

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Seems like just yesterday, but it was 2004 when Comedy Central guy Jon Stewart last entered the No Spin Zone. Well, this afternoon, Mr. Stewart somehow got lost in midtown Manhattan and wound up here.


O'REILLY: You know what I notice when I do your program, I go over and the audience, they love President Obama. Your audience, the guys who sit in the little bleachers…


O'REILLY: For them, it's like going to Lourdes to go on your show because they know they're going to get…

STEWART: Many have been healed.

O'REILLY: Right.

STEWART: There's no question.

O'REILLY: (INAUDIBLE) Obama. And it's going to — so it's perceived that you are a big fan of the president.

STEWART: All right.

O'REILLY: How is President Obama doing so far?

Click here to watch part 1 of Jon Stewart in the No Spin Zone!

STEWART: You know, I'm torn. There — for me, I feel like I can't tell if he's a Jedi master playing chess on a three-level board way ahead of us, or if this is kicking his ass, so…

O'REILLY: You really don't know?

STEWART: For one thing, those types of broad analysis, you know, how's he doing? It doesn't lend itself to a very easy answer. I think there are certain areas that he seems to have made progress or stabilized certain areas. I'm appreciative of the fact that he has tried to reengage the regulatory mechanism of the government.

O'REILLY: Wow, the regulatory mechanism.

STEWART: Regulatory mechanism.

O'REILLY: That's way over my head.

STEWART: The mechanism.

O'REILLY: What is that?

STEWART: And you're 6'5".

O'REILLY: Yeah, and I have no idea what you just said.

STEWART: So that's like I was throwing a Marques Colston.


STEWART: I mean, that was like jumping out there.

O'REILLY: So, what is that?

STEWART: The idea that we would have people there checking if there was lead in our toys, that kind of stuff.

O'REILLY: OK, so protecting the folks using the federal government's power, he's made strides in doing that? You know, that's a pretty smart analysis. You know, a lot of people don't think you're smart.

STEWART: Thank you very much.

O'REILLY: Did your writers come up with that or did you?

STEWART: No. They're in my pocket.

O'REILLY: All right, so you think he's doing OK in some areas?

STEWART: Certain jobs.

O'REILLY: And not OK in others. Give me a not OK.

STEWART: I think he has decided that Congress is an equal branch of government. Huge mistake. You can't just walk in there as the next guy and say, let's go back to…

O'REILLY: Power sharing.

STEWART: …three equal branches.

O'REILLY: No good.


O'REILLY: Right.

STEWART: You got to go in there, my friends. Oh, you want to pass a law I don't like? Signing statement. Here's how we're going to do health care, boom, boom, boom. You don't like it? You get in line.

O'REILLY: So he's too much of a team player.

STEWART: It allows too much room for different narratives to take hold. For instance, a narrative that might emanate from, you know…

O'REILLY: The No Spin Zone, from here…

STEWART: From a news organization.

O'REILLY: You know, that's actually another astute point. And you've shocked me twice now with the regulatory thing...

STEWART: By the way, did you notice I used the word ilk?

O'REILLY: I did, I but I ignored it. But anyway, so you say that President Obama…


O'REILLY: ...instead of driving home a few pieces of legislation so that everybody can understand what he's doing...

STEWART: That's right. Using the bully pulpit (INAUDIBLE).

O'REILLY: …gathers too many people under the tent. And there's too much discussion.

STEWART: That's right.

O'REILLY: Thereby leading to too much sniping and you don't get anything done.

STEWART: If you allow too much nitpicking on the edges of legislation, it will be necessarily turned into a type of lobbyist gruel.

O'REILLY: Lobbyist gruel.

STEWART: Lobbyist gruel. That's the porridge that the lobbyists would eat.

O'REILLY: Excellent.

STEWART: Without making a strong case to the public, you have no leverage because the real power takes place behind…


O'REILLY: (INAUDIBLE) so either I can understand it…

STEWART: Can we get the table? Can we get the table, what I'm doing? You see what I'm doing here?

O'REILLY: Yeah, I see it.

STEWART: That's what is going on here.

O'REILLY: OK, it's very impressive.

STEWART: Now I'm a spider.

O'REILLY: You want some crayons?


O'REILLY: We can do that. What about these evil Republicans blocking everything he does? They don't, you know, those Republicans, they don't want anything.


O'REILLY: They want nothing. Why do we put up with these people?

STEWART: Well, I would think you put up with them because this allows you to consolidate your power.

O'REILLY: My power, personally you mean?

STEWART: And the Fox organization, which is…

O'REILLY: You think it's just Republicans?

STEWART: Yeah, no, the shadow government. You know how all this works.

O'REILLY: No, I really don't.

STEWART: Let me get a chalkboard. Is Glenn here? Can I get a chalkboard?

O'REILLY: (INAUDIBLE). Yeah, but do you believe that the Republicans are blocking this just because they want to embarrass Obama and get him out of there?

STEWART: I don't know what their motivation is, but it seems pretty clear that they would prefer not to do anything unless it's the thing they would like to do.

O'REILLY: But the president won't give the GOP anything. There's nothing in there that would…

STEWART: I disagree with that.

O'REILLY: What did the president give them?

STEWART: Well, when he had — I don't know if you saw, there was a press conference that he did with the Republicans.

O'REILLY: Yes, I saw it.

STEWART: And he was talking about tax credits.

O'REILLY: Tax credits on business.

STEWART: Then he was talking about tort reform. And he said, look, I would like to put tort reform on the table, but even the CBO says that's only about $5 billion a year. Maybe not two percentage points off of what medical costs are, but I'm happy to talk about it.

O'REILLY: Why? Just put it in. Just as you said, he's talking about it too much. Just put it in.

STEWART: He hasn't put anything in.

O'REILLY: Right.

STEWART: That's what I'm saying.

O'REILLY: That's why the Republicans don't like it. They say give us something.

STEWART: That's not why the Republicans don't like it. He has given them many different angles. For instance, even in the stimulus plan, a full third of that was tax cuts, which you would think — just like at the State of the Union when he said we cut taxes for 95 percent of middle class Americans, and everybody clapped, and the Republicans just sat there like this. Tax cuts, that sounds vaguely familiar.

O'REILLY: The Washington Post, Howard Kurtz says…


O'REILLY: ...that you are now being too tough on Barack Obama. "Stewart has clearly become an important cultural arbiter," all right? "He's pulled off the trick of being taken seriously when he wants to be and taken frivolously when he wants to be." Now the statement that you have become an important cultural arbiter.

STEWART: Yeah, there's a lot to unpack in that as well.

O'REILLY: That is frightening though. Do you understand the implications of you being important in any context?

STEWART: Well, I think my family loves me. I mean, if that's what you're suggesting.

O'REILLY: I'm just stunned that this has found its way.

STEWART: Listen, Mr. O., I'm just happy to be in the major leagues here. Thanks for calling me up to the show.


Listen, I don't take any of that stuff seriously.

O'REILLY: When you deliver your stuff, are you cognizant of the fact that your audience are primarily stoner slackers who love Obama. And when you criticize Obama, all right, you may be turning on them.

STEWART: We don't think about who is receiving it. We think about how it feels to us.

O'REILLY: All right, so…

STEWART: We have an internal barometer.

O'REILLY: ...if it's funny to you, you're going to do it?

STEWART: That's right. Or if it feels like a valid piece of absurdity to put out there, we vet things internally. I can't — whatever you say, someone's not going to like.



O'REILLY: All right, coming next, Stewart has been kind of tough on Fox News, and we will confront him with that.


O'REILLY: Continuing now with the "Personal Story" segment, my interview with Jon Stewart, which we conducted earlier today. As you may know, Stewart has been kind of tough on Fox News.


O'REILLY: The other night on your program, you criticized Fox News for bailing out of the president's back-and-forth with the GOP, after we used an hour of it, an hour, all right, and bailed out for about 12 minutes because we had other stuff to do.


O'REILLY: And you were offended, personally offended.

Click here to watch part 2 of Jon Stewart in the No Spin Zone!

STEWART: I wasn't offended. I thought it was funny.


TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The president at times being a little bit combative.

STEWART: We're going to cut away because this is against the narrative that we present.


O'REILLY: But — but, Stewart.

STEWART: Oh my God.

O'REILLY: On election night.

STEWART: You have like Ali's reach. Do you see the arms on this guy?

O'REILLY: Oh, you have no idea.

STEWART: It's like dealing with Dikembe Mutombo, trying to argue. You're giving me one of these, no, no, no, no.

O'REILLY: On Massachusetts vote night, when we covered Coakley's speech in the entirety...


O'REILLY: ...when we covered the winner's speech in the entirety, Brown, OK, and the other CNN and MSNBC didn't cover Brown.

STEWART: I should have...

O'REILLY: You didn't say a word, did you?

STEWART: You're absolutely right.

O'REILLY: I rest my case.

STEWART: Your case is rested.

O'REILLY: Now, are you shocked that a Democratic poll operation shows that Fox News is the most trusted news operation...


O'REILLY: In the country?


O'REILLY: Forty-nine percent of Americans trust us.

STEWART: No, I'm not shocked at that. Are you shocked that an Internet poll said I was the most trusted newscaster in America?

O'REILLY: Yes, but that was like Blinky did it. This was a big, big, big concern. And somebody told me off the record that you were one of the 49 percent, you believe Fox News is the most trusted news organization.

STEWART: I am. Here's what I believe. Fox News is the most passionate and sells the clearest narrative of any news organization, if that's how — are you still referring to it in that manner?

O'REILLY: Yes, it's a news organization. Right. That's how the poll referred to it.

STEWART: No, I'm sure it did.

O'REILLY: Nobody had any problem. Only you. Only you have a problem.

STEWART: I think Fox, in and of yourself, say you're not a news organization all day. Isn't it now your news — what was it your news from 9 to 11, and then your opinion and then your news again from like 1 to 2:30?

O'REILLY: It's kind of like a newspaper. You've got news pages...

STEWART: Except on Jewish holidays and then you're not, and then on alternate parking days, you're news, but then Christmas you're not?

O'REILLY: OK. Think about the news pages, and then you open another page, and there is the opinion page. Clearly labeled, opinion page.


O'REILLY: You have no problem with that, right?

STEWART: First of all, newspapers are a passive piece of paper that you go to, and you know where the opinion thing is. Television doesn't function that way, and you know it.

O'REILLY: You don't think people know "The Factor" is an opinion show? You don't think they know that?

STEWART: It's not — certainly not clearly labeled. I've looked at your promos. You're part of the fair and balanced part. You're part of the most trusted name in news.

O'REILLY: I am fair and balanced. But you don't think people know "The O'Reilly Factor" isn't an opinion show? That's like saying somebody watching your show, they don't know it's a comedy show. Come on, Stewart. Wise up, man. Everybody knows this. People watching in Pakistan, you know, they have little DirecTV. They say, O'Reilly is opinion show. They know. They know. They know you're a comic and they know I'm opinion guy.

STEWART: Why do they use this accent? Let me ask you a question. You truly believe that Fox News is just a nonpartisan, fair and balanced, trustworthy...

O'REILLY: Our hard news operation is, but of course, your — OK, now you're casting aspersions.

STEWART: Yes, I am.

O'REILLY: Big word. Casting aspersions.

STEWART: I believe I am. That's right.

O'REILLY: People like Shepard Smith, people — all of our White House people, they report fairly.

STEWART: Here's the brilliance — here's the brilliance of Fox News. What you have been able to do, you and Dr. Ailes, have been able to mainstream conservative talk radio.

O'REILLY: Why wouldn't John McCain come on this program during the last campaign? Why did he dodge us and not come on if you - (inaudible), if we're in business to help the GOP, he wouldn't come in.

STEWART: But you're not in the business of John McCain. He is not GOP enough for you. You're in the business to help Sarah Palin.

O'REILLY: Dick Cheney — Dick Cheney is to you Mr. Republican, wouldn't come on the program, Stewart.

STEWART: Not Mr. Republican.

O'REILLY: Well, what?

STEWART: Well, because Dick Cheney, again, this atmosphere, there's a lot of light, which he's obviously allergic to.

O'REILLY: Stop. Come on.

STEWART: There's an opportunity to, like, brush past...


O'REILLY: I just gave you two examples that you can't refute with your propaganda outlook.

STEWART: But that doesn't mean anything.

O'REILLY: What do you mean?

STEWART: Let me explain what I mean.

O'REILLY: It's two concrete examples. John McCain running for president on the GOP side; Dick Cheney, Mr. GOP. Neither man would come in here because the questioning is too tough. So don't give me I'm a Republican shrill. That's bull.

STEWART: You — like I say, you are the most reasonable — have become the most reasonable voice on Fox, which quite frankly...

O'REILLY: Greta is the most reasonable, come on.

STEWART: But she's different. She's not as political. You are the most...

O'REILLY: She's on. She's not on the program, on the channel?

STEWART: Kind of.

O'REILLY: Yes. It's 10 p.m. to 11.

STEWART: Maybe she's kind of on it, but she's not really — she's not the deal. No, let's go through this, because I think this is important.

O'REILLY: All right. Go ahead.

STEWART: You have become in some ways the voice of sanity here, which, as I said, is like being the thinnest kid...

O'REILLY: Cavuto sane?

STEWART: Being the thinnest kid at fat camp. So let's just get that straight. Here is what Fox has done through their cyclonic, perpetual...

O'REILLY: We're back to the cyclonic.

STEWART: Their cyclonic perpetual emotion machine that is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week. They've taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao. Explain to me why that is the narrative of your network?

O'REILLY: It's the narrative of a couple of guys, a Republican, Sean Hannity, and a guy, Glenn Beck, who's basically everyman. And he's basically...


STEWART: What do you mean he's everyman? What do you mean he's everyman?

O'REILLY: He's everyman. He sits on a bar stool.

STEWART: Every man has got a show? What are you talking about?

O'REILLY: He's talented.

STEWART: He's a very talented man. But where is everyman?

O'REILLY: It means that he doesn't shill for any party. He just spouts.


O'REILLY: He spouts what he believes. If you think that Beck shills for the Republican Party, you're out of your mind.


O'REILLY: All right. There you go. Tomorrow we'll have more with Mr. Stewart. In a bizarre turn of events, I will vet him as a possible vice presidential candidate. Wait until you hear who's going to run for president. That's on Thursday's "Factor."

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