Why Sean Hannity Can’t Win a Media Feud With Jon Stewart (VIDEO)

Sean Hannity John Stewart Media Fued

Other than the not-inconsequential egos of cable-news personalities, it’s hard to see Fox News’ end game in its recent tit-for-tat squabbles with “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” – with the latest salvo coming from Sean Hannity.

Stewart has had a field day lampooning Hannity’s support of renegade rancher Cliven Bundy, which prompted Hannity to shoot back with his customary guilt-by-association approach, slamming Stewart for bringing the singer Yusuf Islam to his “Rally to Restore Sanity.”

But that’s where “The Daily Show’s” crack research team ensures that these kinds of exchanges aren’t really a fair fight. Because not only was Stewart able to retaliate with his own you-associate-with-crazy-musicians clip – putting Hannity together with Ted Nugent – but then a litany of Hannity segments that appear to expose his righteous indignation as partisan hackery, his commitment to principle dictated by whose ox is getting gored in any particular situation.

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As with any host who stakes out sides as vigorously as Hannity does, the tale of the tape is not always his friend – riddled with contradictions that, as Stewart noted, betray his “blind partisan impulses.” And while these sorts of media feuds ostensibly benefit both parties – scoring points with their respective bases – in this case, Hannity is simply preaching to a choir that surely dismisses Stewart for his liberalism every bit as much as Hannity does, while Stewart is painting a broader, more damning portrait of Fox News hypocrisy for a younger audience that almost surely sees Hannity only when his more out-there moments earn him exposure on Stewart’s (or Stephen Colbert’s) program.

What’s interesting is that lately, for whatever reason, Fox hosts seem to be punching back more at the Comedy Central duo, from “The Five’s” Eric Bolling – about as close to a Hannity clone as the network has – swapping jabs with Stewart over food stamps to Bill O’Reilly going out of his way to badmouth CBS’ choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman.

O’Reilly defended his analysis as being based on Colbert having alienated a sizable chunk of his potential audience, but it couldn’t help but be perceived in some quarters as sour grapes for having been mocked by the Comedy Central host through the years.

Clearly, Stewart’s exalted role in the media ecosystem makes him more than strictly a comedian, but that’s always his fallback position. And it’s worth noting he hardly confines his criticism to Fox News – although it remains his favorite target – having been brutal on CNN (most recently for its Malaysian Airlines coverage) and occasionally MSNBC and other networks.

For Hannity, who approaches every episode of his program as another 12-round bout with liberals and Democrats, Stewart might appear to be just another sparring partner — and he will no doubt claim Stewart has an unfair advantage because of all the left-leaning media in his corner. From outside the ring, however, this week’s exchange simply left Hannity looking like someone so accustomed to letting loose with haymakers as to have exposed his own glass jaw.

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  1. JSinTheStates says:

    Brian Lowry. Loved your article, but then I’m a Stewart fan! The problem with Faux Newz is that they portent to be an objective news outlet, whereas you infer, Mr Stewart only alleges to be a comedian, although he appears to be a much broader scholar than various cable talking heads! Thank you!

  2. Don Bennn says:

    Hannity can’t win in a battle of wits or a battle of facts. The more publicity he provides for Stewart the more he opens himself up to very well deserved ridicule. There are many reasons why he can’t win against Stewart…..the least of which being that he’s wrong about the vast majority of the hateful things he says. I live in Philly and can remember not so long ago when Hannity was a fairly funny local talk show host…….and then he found out that he could make money selling hate………and this is the result.

  3. Very excellent analysis of this “feud,” especially with the boxing metaphors. Hannity is WAY over his head here. His team doesn’t have the skills, insights, or wittiness to combat the exhaustive research that Stewart & Co. will execute to further illustrate the points presented. But that’s always been Stewart’s strength: going the extra mile to not only prove his point, but letting his opponent prove it for him with their own statements from past recordings. If only Hannity had the nuggets to do a debate-styled session with Stewart similar to what O’Reilly did a few years ago, then perhaps he would know when to not pick a fight with someone of Stewart’s pedigree.

  4. Joseph says:

    Yes, and McDonald’s sells more hamburgers than anyone else: that doesn’t necessarily mean they make a quality product. Your argument (more viewers = winner) is weak and lazy.

  5. Hugh Jhardon says:

    You’re simply stating that there are at least 1.9 million idiots in this country.

  6. Moderate Rising says:

    Hey Hannity, please continue to whine about liberal media (which studies show actually slants slight right) and back likes of Ted Nugent and Cliven Bundy. It’s playing right into our hands….
    And hey Cliven Bundy, we want are Million Bucks back you deadbeat! Signed American taxpayer.

    • johntshea says:

      That depends on one’s definition of ‘Right’ and ‘Left’. I see nothing wrong in a ‘slant’ either way, as I do not expect media to exactly reflect public opinion, which is not infallible. Perhaps the time has come to stop defining our politics according to the seating arrangements a French parliament over two hundred years ago?

  7. OneMan says:

    I love how people knock Stewart by saying he works with writers, as if he doesn’t have YEARS OF EXPERIENCE as a stand-up comedian. A quick YouTube search of just about any political interview of his shows a sharp mind and even sharper wit. To say that he wouldn’t be as great without a team of writers is stupid.

    Additionally, people excuse Hannity’s buffoonery by pointing out that he may NOT work with writers?? Way to celebrate stupidity. Hannity, O’Reilly, Carlson, Cavuto, Wallace, etc–none of them hold a candle to Stewart, in knowledge or intellect.


  8. Matt says:

    You’re another conservative, right wing person right? If you watched The Daily Show at all, you’d realize that Stewart doesn’t attack one side of the political spectrum, he attacks it all. Having said that, he can’t help that Fox News seems to say and do the dumbest, contradictory-to-their-own-agenda reporting. I’d rather watch a show that sports intelligent mocking of a broken political & media system than watch a show that’s all about spewing hate at a particular group of AMERICAN people with their own beliefs and political ideals. You’re the clown.

  9. fgbndslndr says:

    It would seem to me that the loser is the one who came out in full-throated support of a common criminal who takes all the benefits of government while claiming not to recognize it, and who favours a return to slavery. What did he say about chickens, again?

  10. Terry Martin says:

    Stewart uses LexisNexis for historical videos. Law and Order did this in only TWO episodes. Thank credit reporting companies and defense contractors and their “super computers”. TRW in Los Angeles was a trip.

  11. Jeff G says:

    Your analysis is spot on.

  12. Fred Pitts says:

    Finally someone with clout has been able to take on hannity and expose him for what he really is: a blowhard who exaggerates everything not based on conservative principles and appears just interested in inflaming the populace to increase his media credentials.

  13. Martin Snapp says:

    Ode to Sean Hannity, by John Cleese:

    Aping urbanity
    Oozing with vanity
    Plump as a manatee
    Faking humanity
    Journalistic calamity
    Intellectual inanity
    Fox Noise insanity
    You’re a profanity

  14. Stewartfan says:

    Hannity is a total hack propagandist. He doesn’t stand a chance against Stewart.

  15. Stewart uses his podium to entertain by pointing out and making fun of Hannity and O’Reilly’s lopsided demagoguery, whereas the latter use their podium to seriously exaggerate fears and further tear the country apart

  16. Logic says:

    Aiex I can’t believe (well I can) , that you think what Sean 24/7…. only ENTERTAIN, it’s not NEWS. Their is NO news. There is a known fact that Fox listens are the LEAST INFORMED.A fact!!!! People love to be entertained….just like football. (smile) that’s why 16 million listen….
    to be entertained and people say “listen to those fools, can they be so stupid”!!!!!

  17. Doesn’t really matter. Fox is top in ratings.

  18. Alex says:

    Stewart has a dozen writters, Hannity works alone. Stewart’s dozen or more writers vs Hannity alone, and Hannity is not backing down

    • fatstring says:

      I do not believe for a second that Hannity works alone. Fox would never allow that. He is kept on a tight leash by his producers. Fox wouldn’t risk Hannity or anyone else at Fox to accidently speak out of the box.

  19. Don’t forget Honey Boo Boo, another high rating show… then we ask “what’s wrong with this country?”

  20. Rene Bueno says:

    Come on!! Hannity is also an entertainer!!!! And his show is directed to the dumbest audience out there! Who with half a brain could believe all the stupid things he tells on air every night! That’s why is so easy for Stewart for kick his ass!

  21. Tylovetx says:

    Yeah cause everything Stewart says comes from writers.That’s how he ruined Tucker Carlson’s career on live tv.

  22. nightowwl says:

    Even if someone could perform a miracle by making Hannity ‘look’ smart, he’s still a moron. As are his viewers.

  23. CCRevival says:

    OK so Hannity works alone and Stewart has writers, but who’s fault is it that the former comes out sounding stupid?

    As far as rating and listeners, you do know that on cable Spongebob Squarepants has higher ratings and Howard Stern has more listeners than Hannity.

  24. Curbcooler says:

    Will you people just stop already?!

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