Jon Stewart has spent all week criticizing Republicans for shutting down the government and then trying to duck responsibility, and Fox News for aiding and abetting that dodge. Thursday night's Daily Show was more of the same, with Stewart dedicating the entire first part of the show to a biting critique of Fox News, headquartered in midtown Manhattan's "Bullshit Mountain."
And the thing is, Fox News gives Stewart enough new material that each night's warmed-over criticism seems fresh. If the early Fox News line was that the shutdown — or "slimdown" — wasn't so bad, it now seems to have occurred to the network that the ongoing "shutdown ain't looking so hot for one particular political party," Stewart said.
Fox's solution, he added, is to follow the GOP's lead and pretend that the shutdown belongs to the Democrats. "Hmm, the feces is strong in this one," Stewart said of Sean Hannity, after Hannity began talking about "the liberal shutdown."
It wasn't all spitballs for Stewart. He got in some good lines about Fox News's extensive coverage of House Republicans publicly fighting for the right of visiting World War II vets to visit the shuttered WWII Memorial on the Washington Mall.
But the galling thing isn't just that the WWII monument is closed because Republicans shut down the government, Stewart said. The GOP shutdown has also strangled funding for Meals on Wheels, which feeds 500,000 veterans a year. Stuff like that, he added, is why "outrage from Bullshit Mountain can never be taken seriously."
To hammer home his point about the silliness of the Fox News party line, Stewart showed footage of Republican after Republican criticizing government as too big and onerous. The GOP is just like Steve Martin's character in The Jerk, Stewart added, yelling that they don't need any government except for the bits of government they want, like veterans memorials.
Then he talked with a "longtime federal employee who has seen the effects of this shutdown firsthand":
Yes, his guest is a cigarette-puffing Smokey the Bear, "National Parks employee." With a Goodfellas accent, for some reason. It's an uncomfortable bit with weird sexual jokes.
The next part of the show is Samantha Bee's interview with Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), the only Republican who voted against shutting down the government. The tenor of the segment is hinted at in its name: "Representative Scott Rigell: Republican Traitor." Bee is a little over-the-top, Rigell is a good sport, and the kicker is pretty funny. Watch: