FLASHBACK: Jon Stewart Insults Tucker Carlson to His Face


The famous 2004 showdown between Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson on CNN’s “Crossfire” resurfaced on Twitter on Tuesday.

The moment: Stewart, then the liberal host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” mocked Carlson, then a conservative co-host of “Crossfire,” for wearing a bowtie and accused him of dishonest “partisan hackery.”

Carlson fired back that Stewart was then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s “butt boy.”

  • Stewart, retreating to his usual “Hey, I’m just a comedian!” defense, scolded Carlson, “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.”

The reaction: Liberal Twitter commentators — among whom Carlson is now public enemy No. 1once again cheered Stewart’s performance in the 17-year-old clip.

  • Some recalled that “Crossfire” was cancelled several months later, in January 2005.

The Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali and others imagined that Stewart had profoundly altered Carlson’s psychology and TV persona.

OK, but: Journalist Jacob Rubashkin scoffed at such liberal triumphalism, noting that Carlson has become the most popular host on cable TV whereas Stewart has been off-air since 2015.

Conservative podcaster Luke Thompson argued in a thread that Stewart — with his “preening self-righteousness” — had helped to create today’s “ideologically homogenous” mainstream media.

  • “[‘Crossfire’] was also the last time conservatism got a fair shake on CNN in an open-ended format,” Thompson said. “If you want to trace the origins of the [President Jeff] Zucker-run, hackishly partisan, reality-tv and pro wrestling-inspired disgrace that CNN is today, look no further than the 2004 canceling of Crossfire.
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