For the first 15 minutes or so, Stewart let Obama have the equivalent of a campaign commercial -- essentially uncontesred free air time to explain away his failures by blaming others for his mistakes and emphasizing how "historic" his presidency has been. The president was also given mucho room to plug Democrats campaigning in tough races throughout the land.
As they say in the credit card commercial, cost: priceless.
During the last half of the show, though, Stewart asked informed and substantive questions that put the president on the defensive. In fact, the questions took the interview to a depth rarely explored on television. What was so revealing, however, about this portion of the show for me was not Obama's predictable "we-inherited-all-the-trouble" rhetoric as he tried to defend his failures, but what a dogmatic leftist critique of Obama's presidency Stewart clearly embraces.
Maybe I was deluding myself because I like the intelligence of Stewart's humor, but I really believed he had a more balanced and centrist take on American life. If the White House was looking for the court jester and mouthpiece of the folks senior White House officials described as the "professional left," they found him. He was sitting across from the president Wednesday night prodding him with all the White House had not done.
This isn't the first time Zurawik has been critical of the Obama White House's media strategy. Since 2009, he has lambasted the administration for its war on Fox News and called for the rest of television media to stop cozying up with Obama. Zurawik doesn't seem to be a conservative and has critical words for Fox, but he has warned, "all of us in the press need to be concerned about the administration of President Barack Obama trying to 'punish' the cable news channel for its point of view."