Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly: the unedited interview

Here's the entire video of Jon Stewart's Fox interview with Bill O'Reilly. I know I'm biased, but I think that Stewart comes across as smart, funny and substantive and O'Reilly comes across as a defensive, deluded nut.

Man, it's good to see Jon Stewart again. It's been a year or so since Comedy Central started blocking Daily Show clips from the UK, where I live -- I know I could just use a proxy to get at them, but I'm always racing the clock and there's always something else that I can watch without messing around, and I somehow never get around to it. But I missed Jon.

Entire Jon Stewart Interview (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. “I know I could just use a proxy to get at them, but I’m always racing the clock and there’s always something else that I can watch without messing around, and I somehow never get around to it.”

    That phrase warms the heart of every advocate of technological mechanisms for controlling culture. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less true.

  2. What scares me is that the most sane news commentary I see from USA is Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, both of whom are professional jokers

  3. Slightly quicker than having to find a functioning proxy is just to set the “X-Forwarded-For” HTTP header to a suitable address, i.e. or some such.

    The “Modify Headers” addon for Firefox makes this a single button click once set up for the first time.

  4. Stewart lost. Really, I don’t know if he ever was into that match at all. Constant stammering. Jokes falling flat. Meandering rhetoric to end up nowhere…

    That man who was my island of sanity for eight year: only Obama could bring him down.

    1. The reason Stewart was constantly stammering was because O’Reilly’s strategy is to constantly, rudely interrupt any guest on the show and try to throw them off their pertinent points. I thought Stewart handled the rudeness well and made successful attempts at “elbow-nudging” O’Reilly about the way he interviews. Come on, it’s Stewart’s job to make people laugh, whether about political or cultural issues in order to bring them to light in an accessible way.

      You can’t tell me O’Reilly didn’t tell his writers to give him ample opportunity to make Stewart look like a buffoon, but Stewart was poised and knows enough about the issues to block the attacks and get his point across. O’Reilly, apparently having no confidence that he could successfully best Stewart in a debate, resorted to ungentlemanly conduct, including not allowing Stewart to fully answer any question he threw out, ensuring that O’Reilly’s fans would feel that “their side won”.

      Stewart/Colbert 2012!

  5. The general theory is that people will interpret it based on their biases. On the right they will see Oreilly as “sane” based on their interpretation bias. (Remember, these are people who find Ms. Palin coherent.)

    Amanda Marcotte has an excellent podcast on reproductive health and politics, in which she recently covered a similar topic: “political prejudices against scientific information on the HPV vaccine”.

    I very strongly recommend her podcast:

  6. Stewart “won”. Courageously. I wouldn’t be able to hold my cool being constantly attacked ad-hominem. Of the two he was the only one displaying any content, any logic and took the effort explaining. He would’ve “won” by default just by the way O’Reilly acts like an ass.

    very nice hearing the laughing in studio.

  7. That was great. This is why Jon Stewart is a voice to so many of us.

    Did anyone notice the channeling of Bill Maher at 39:25?

  8. Stewarts jokes were not funny. He’s gotta quit making those wimpy faces. Bring back the Stewart that slammed Tucker Carlson.

  9. Cory, haven’t you heard of a thing called BitTorrent? Here in Germany we get the shows from their official website, the UK block seems to stem from the fact that they don’t want their UK partner broadcaster to lose money, but if you’re willing to go through the ban with a proxy, why not with a torrent as well? Set-up RSS, get the torrents from and it’s like a TiVo!

  10. I liked Stewart’s comments on the interview; the way he was amazed that afterwards O’Reilly invites in a series of “expert analysts” who then spend the rest of the time telling him what a splendid job he did.

    I was going to comment on the 4oD thing but, as usual, too slow.

    To be fair to you, Cory, I didn’t discover it myself until a couple of days ago…

  11. I think the people laughing off-camera were Fox News Stooges. Laughing to emphasize that Jon Stuart is a comedian and not to be taken seriously.

    I do wonder though, what a GOP-Sarah-Palin-President-Tea-Bagger future would look like? . . . In a way I wish I could just look at them drive the car off the cliff and have the satisfaction of saying to the mangled twisted burnt wreckage ‘I told you – you were driving the wrong way’!
    But seeing how these guys operate you just know they would (a) Flatly deny that they had been told anything (b) Say that it was Their idea to change direction (c) Claim that under the Democrats it would have been worse. . .

  12. I like the idea of an O’Reilly/Stewart ticket, but I like the Stewart/Colbert ticket even better.

  13. In long form it becomes a lot more obvious how O’Reilly’s statement of things as fact is designed as a support for opinions which existed before facts were known… whereas for most people, opinions are formed from facts.

    A worldview where only the things which fit into existing opinions can possibly be factual and the importance of a fact hinges on whether it does or does not agree with the existing narrative. Contrary facts are but trifles, but a few cherry-picked agreements are resounding triumphs, even if the two are equal in measure.

    He should be driving a taxi or something where that kind of behavior is just being an everyday person and doesn’t do any harm.

  14. Stewart was calm and self-deprecating. O’Reilly was angry, condescending, and belligerent. As far as I’m concerned the latter would’ve lost by disqualification even if Stewart hadn’t been his rhetorical better.

  15. Want to see something interesting? Watch the entire interview unedited, then watch how it aired on Fox “News” with their pravdaesque editing in place.

    You’ll see how they so desperately (and obviously) tried to make O’Reilly look better for their idiot Fox “News” viewers.

  16. I thought it was a solid interview. I too find it strange that O’Reilly has become the voice of reason at Fox News, but while the phrasing on some of his questions was off (and often overly broad, as Stewart pointed out) he let Stewart speak and was a pretty engaging host. I don’t think that O’Reilly responded to Stewart’s claim that Fox News has a conservative, “narrative.” He chose to offer small exceptions to the rule rather than disproving it, and I think it hurt his credibility (I know, just bear with me). I didn’t appreciate all of the Greenwich Village sniping, and I don’t think O’Reilly actually answered Stewart’s concerns about real/fake America divide.
    However, I think the conversation about taking quotes out of context went quite well, and that O’Reilly pushed Stewart in the right ways and then accepted his reasonable explanation for what happened. There was some stammering on both sides, because, y’know, this was an unedited interview. Usually they cut that stuff out.
    I looked up the term demagogue to make sure I was using it correctly, and I dug the two definitions that Webster offered (sorry Brits).

    1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power
    2 : a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times

    I think these guys have the opportunity to be both (minus the ancient times part), and I appreciate that they can sit in the same room and go at it like they do. There aren’t too many liberal or conservative leaders who are willing to continually engage each other directly these days.

  17. That was great. I got a sense, as Stewart said, the O’Reilly does actually like him, and I think it’s mutual. Anyone who saw either of them as “bellicose” in that interview was seeing it through their own bias.

  18. Stewart’s going to be picking straw out of his hair for days after that interview. He was totally right about having to “unpack” every one of O’Reilly’s loaded questions.

    In addition, I don’t understand the mindset, displayed well by O’Reilly, that divides everything into absolutes; every issue must be dichotomous, with no uncertainty permitted, no allowance for complexity. From my point of view, it’s okay to admit that issues are complex; broad strokes, as Stewart implies, don’t work.

    1. In addition, I don’t understand the mindset, displayed well by O’Reilly, that divides everything into absolutes; every issue must be dichotomous, with no uncertainty permitted, no allowance for complexity. From my point of view, it’s okay to admit that issues are complex; broad strokes, as Stewart implies, don’t work.

      To some ambiguity equates with dishonesty and a lack of actionable conclusions. Simple equates with common sense and progress. Provide these people with simple answers and your half way to owning their attention.

      As Stewart noted, Fox news provides the simplest narrative of any of the major news outlets.

      1. Simple? Fox News is very, very sophisticated (very!) There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

  19. While is wasn’t Stewart’s best performance as far as retort is concerned, he still showed the most class and integrity. O’Reilly kept changing the subject whenever steered into a corner. and used a lot of dismissive, personal insults as opposed to real arguments. NOT acceptable in sound rethoric.

    But what peeved me the most was how, anytime Stewart was courteously and honestly conceding on certain points, O’Reilly would childishly declare ‘victory’ over the entire exchange and dismiss all previous Stewart points as hypocritical and fickle. O’Reilly is a big, tall, loud man with the social skills of a 7 year-old bully. His only credibility is bestowed by a public that has NO idea how real logic or proper debate work. It’s really sad and worrisome.

  20. I think it’s interesting that Bill is still referring to the Stewart’s fan base as a bunch of “stoned slackers” six years after Nielsen Media Research found that “Daily Show” fans are more likely to have college degrees and high-paying jobs than “Factor” fans.

  21. Cory. I think you got it right when you admitted your bias in favor of Jon Stewart. I disagree that he made better sense than Bill O’Reilly. And I am not a fan of either one of them.

  22. So, just to be clear, there’s no compelling reason to watch this, right? Stewart fans see Stewart, O’Reilly fans the other way, and everybody just pretty much talking past each other, or at the very least acting their stereotype. Z’at it in a nutshell?

    1. Not at all. If you can get past what you already think about the two people, it’s a really interesting discussion. The only reason not to watch it would be if you’re wholly uninterested in politics or aren’t able to get past your biases.

    2. Z’at it in a nutshell?

      No! These men are both entertainers and, judging by ratings, the best around. The interview was really quite entertaining. I wish the straw men Fox usually sits up to represent ‘democrats’ were all as bright. Yes, Stewart is better at media criticism than politics–but you knew that, right?

      Or were you expecting an hour-long interview to fundamentally change your beliefs?

  23. draw or stewart fail to win
    I only watched the edited version. In it, Stewart fail to call out Bill. Stewart didn’t seem well prepared or he failed to take out his ammunition. Bill, mainly asking questions, didn’t give much for Stewart to work with , so it’s up to Stewart to bait Bill, and that did not happen. It was a boring draw, 0-0 soccer game. Surprisingly, Bill didn’t have much offense either; perhaps, b/c Stewart also didn’t commit to anything. When asked about global warming , Stewart said he’s not a scientist… I guess both men were afraid of each other and mainly played tight defense. It was a bit disappointing.

    fair and balance
    Stewart failed to attack Bill on being “fair and balance” Stewart fail to counter Bill’s statement that most in the media are on the left.

  24. That was the first time I’ve seen O’Reilly’s show and he seems useless. He didn’t back up anything he claimed on the show with facts or even well-argued opinion. He dismissed a survey by an internet website because he claimed they were not trustworthy and they said the Mass election was too close to call. Was the Mass election too close to call? Why are they not trustworthy? Is there proof of this? Why would I believe him?
    Based on this one show, O’Reilly is intellectually dishonest. I suspect this happens a lot on FOX. They aren’t idiots, but they are getting paid to do a job.
    He has to know you can’t discard a survey for no reason. You can’t claim a political website is not trustworthy, because they thought an election was close–almost everyone thought it would be close at the end (USA Today did anyway You have to back this up with facts, or tape, or a well-reasoned argument.
    I think he’s just got a good gig. He doesn’t appear to be a real journalist, kind of seems like a bully. I guess people like that, but facts to back it up would be better. That poll could be BS and that site could be a liberal hack site. He could be completely correct, but I wouldn’t know, all I know is that Bill wasted my time. Why is he popular?

    He was a condescending jerk to John Stewart, who was obviously much smarter than him. Geez, be a good host, at least smile at his jokes, instead, he used them as an opportunity to seem superior (should we get you crayons?, I didn’t know you were smart, people don’t think your smart). I think I would’ve told him to be a civil host and stop being a jackass. Maybe give your guest a chair, so he doesn’t look like a frickin’ hunchback. He doesn’t look like that on his show..or anytime I’ve ever seen him before on TV.

  25. I have to admit I thought BO came across as more reasonable and stronger than Stewart. I don’t know about “winning” but there certainly was fail on Stewart’s side. OReilly was mostly calm and composed and John seemed to be exasperated or constipated or something.

    I’ve followed TDS for years, a huge fan, and I quit watching The Factor about 5 years ago b/c of BO.

    But this is a very different BillO than I remember. I’m actually thinking of tuning into the Factor again. Can anyone corroborate that the show has improved lately?

    1. Yeah, he’s the host, he cuts off every line of questioning that makes him seem fallible. That moment in the beginning where Stewart makes an aside to ask the staff “Am I supposed to let that go?” quite sincerely, to one of O’Reilly’s statements… that spoke volumes to me. He doesn’t control the discussion, O’Reilly shifts lines of argument almost every time when there isn’t a good counterargument. He doesn’t say “you have a point there”, he simply lets it pass and segues into another hard, simply-stated point. Stewart was apparently frustrated regularly by this, but accepted it with relative grace.

  26. I’m a conservative who has always thought Bill O’Reilly was a loudmouthed tool who can’t compete intellectually with his opponents and uses the same techniques as a six year old to “win” discussions — bullying and quick dismissal. Nothing in this interview changed my mind. Jon Stewart, with whom I disagree philospohically, but who is consistently entertaining and funny, looked like a hunted man in this interview. He was condescending, smarmy, and sarcastic, and not in his usual funny way — in a really uncomfortable, unlikable way. I see him differently now. Which is a shame, because his Daily Show is hilarious.

    1. Since you’re analyzing this, is there a better strategy against Bill O.? I had the opposite impression as you, and was kind of impressed by how Job kept it light, while extending some mostly passive barbs. I can’t think of a better way to make a point against a professional propagandist like O’Reilly. It’s just too risky to engage him traditionally. As HST said of Nixon, he “is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.”

  27. I am still amazed at the ludicrous leaps in logic that O’Reiley perpetrates; these cropped up a few times in this interview as well. The “binary condition” notion (black/white us/them) is such a gross oversimplification that by design it destroys nuanced discussion. That’s just sad.

    The reason the folks at Fox News and other media outlets gripe about Stewart’s show is because more care seems to go into the fact-finding aspect of it than into your average 24-hour news-cycle show. Plus they’re not afraid to call bullshit on others, be it warranted or not.

  28. There’s a cultural gulf between people who think you “win” by keeping your cool when some violent psycho is being abusive, and people who think you automatically lose just by putting up with it. What Stewart was doing walking into that studio in the first place I have no idea.

  29. The lighting director for Bill O’s show did a real number on J.S. His face was in shadow the whole time. Made him look really bad.

  30. O’Reilly is the moderate, sane voice of Fox? Christ almighty! Jon was at times somewhat exasperated because he had to put up with the hysterical, bullying, patronising rhetoric of O’Reilly.

  31. The left will continue to be seen as the intelligent ones who use big words (a.k.a. educated, elitist snobs) if the spokespeople for the right keep handing that identity to them on a silver platter. I wonder why the right doesn’t try to be equally intelligent about the issues. Perhaps they enjoy their own identity as self-made individuals with tough hides. But I don’t understand why they’re happy being the Neanderthals versus the Homo Sapiens, brawn versus brains.

    Meanwhile, I’m positive that his fans thought O’Reilly was the smart one in this interview.

  32. I thought it was great fun to see the two spar. They have some sort of twisted chemistry and it’s one of the rare moments where the two sides were so well debated in a strangely respectful and substantive tone. I’m biased towards Stewart, admittedly, yet I found O’Reilly refreshing. He actually did let Stewart answer a lot of questions. And the cracks about Stewart’s slacker audience and all, that was okay. It’s all part of the schtick. I think they both came off great, actually. We need more of this. Colbert is great with O’Reilly as well. Now to see Hannity brought back to Sanity.

  33. Individuals like Bill O’Reilly are the problem with the news. There is no reason you cannot discuss serious issues and include humour at the same time. Jon Stewart is one of the few that can educate you and entertain you at the same time. Impressive, and we could use more of him. O’Reilly tries to make a fool out of him and in the process just makes himself seem more like the tight-ass that he is.

  34. I just like that O’Reilly doesn’t even try to argue for Glenn Beck’s sanity. Beck has enough crazy for the whole network.

  35. There’s always the 4OD service from Channel 4. That’s where I go when I want some Daily Show. I’m sure the C4 example is cut down, but it has to be better than nothing.

  36. Eh. Everyone has an opinion.

    I thought Jon Stewart was totally dominate.

    But, let me qualify that statement; He was on another person’s show. He was able to eruditely answer pretty much every point presented to him. Points that were prepared beforehand by O’Rielly. While they don’t say whether they did or didn’t, I’m laboring under the assumption that they didn’t present Jon Stewart with a list of questions so he could prepare.

    That’s an incredible handicap to have. It’s not like it was just Bill who quickly jotted some notes 3 minutes before the interview. I’m sure a staff had worked on that for some time.

    To me, that is amazing. Bill O’Rielly had prepared in advance, perhaps with help, to take Jon Stewart to task for what he felt was taking quotes out of context. Off the cuff Jon Stewart had no problem refuting the point. If Jon Stewart comes out a little ahead in a topic prepared by Bill, that’s a MASSIVE turn around. He did it several times.

    Again… everyone is entitled to their opinions. I’m not trying to rebut or rebuke anyone else’s since there’s really no point to those arguments. Just stating my opinion and reasons.

  37. That whole ‘i’m running for president and I want you to run with me’ line of questions is just so stupid… Everyone knows that Stewart is going to run with Colbert.

  38. I didn’t see Stewart showing any sort of failure. What I did see at times, particularly at the beginning, is the meek and mild image he appears to frequently enjoy showing. I don’t doubt he was probably quite nervous at the start…who wouldn’t be?

    As the interview progressed it seemed to me as though he was the one gaining control of the conversation. It’s rare for this to happen on the Factor.

  39. Stewart fail. He came off smug and didn’t articulate his points well. Also not very funny.

    Love Stewart, think O’Reilly is a bully. But Stewart lost here.

  40. I watched the unedited version. My bias leads me to see a Stewart victory. That being said, I found the whole thing kind of depressing. Both of these men came off as being only interested in the issues because of the paycheck that feigning interest brings them. These guys are entertainers and the shtick is getting old.

  41. My God, I’m amazed that Jon Stewart kept his cool while Bill O’Reilly was tossing all those attacks at his direction. I know I would have snapped. The constant interruptions, changing of topics when Stewart decimated his argument, classic O’Reilly.

  42. Isn’t it time we stopped paying attention to all this bullshit? Please, everybody re-read, or just read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death.

  43. This, actually, was a good interview. Entertaining. I tried to watch it without thinking about the bias, and O’Reilly and Stewart rub off each other quite well. Recommended viewing.

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