As part of the promotional efforts for his film Rosewater, Stewart is giving interviews where he talks about a wide range of things. He thinks that Stephen Colbert will elevate the late night talk show format when he takes over from David Letterman.
He also discusses Fox News and its personalities like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Roger Ailes.
But they [Fox News] do it in a much more mainstream way than right wing radio. If you listen to right wing radio you feel like they’re going to end every broadcast with, “And so go out there tonight with a torch and a pitchfork and chase down these demons that are destroying this nation.”
I think that Roger Ailes’ great gift was mainstreaming that nativist, paranoid streak in American politics and putting it on television in a much prettier, shinier box. What they did was change the inflection point. AM talk radio is, “We are being robbed by communists and progressives that are destroying this country. They are a cancer and treasonous!” Fox News does it like, [sweet, cheery voice] “Are we being run by communists? Is it treason what they’re doing? Let’s have the discussion.”
They have a real sense of persecution. I’ve just figured that out recently. Their feeling of persecution is real. They truly feel the loss of absolute power is the same as persecution. Like, watch them do their “War on Christmas” stuff. It’s real, man. There’s no bullshit. They are in the middle of Rockefeller Center talking about “They won’t let us put up a Christmas tree!” Meanwhile, they’re next to a 60-foot Christmas tree in a place with so much Christmas stuff up it looks like Santa’s balls just exploded.
That reminded me that the Fox News’s campaign that there is a ‘War on Christmas’ seems to start earlier every year and this year it has already begun. I used to make fun of it in previous years but doing so has become boring.