Christianity and “The Daily Show” Distortions

Last May a producer from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” contacted me about being interviewed for the program. He said that he wanted me to talk about my perception of anti-Christian bias in the mainstream media as it relates to “homosexual marriage and gay acceptance in America.” It was to be a produced piece in which they interview people from different perspectives, and then after that Stewart would do his thing.

From the get-go, I couldn’t see any upside to doing this. For starters, I had no interest in turning a serious topic into a laugh-line for Stewart’s show. Also, even though I am not a regular viewer of the Daily Show, I had seen enough of it to suspect that they might manipulate footage to lampoon Christianity. So I decided pretty quickly that this would not be something I was interested in doing. Even after talking to the producer on the phone and receiving assurances that they would be fair in their treatment, I still couldn’t see it. Those assurances seemed pretty thin to me.

I just found out today that my suspicions were entirely justified (HT: Kevin DeYoung). Matt Slick of the “Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry” agreed to appear in the piece, and in a recent blog post he describes in detail how his words were manipulated and distorted by editors at “The Daily Show.” Slick came to bear witness to the gospel, but he was lied to and used in order to lampoon Christians. “The Daily Show” completely twisted what Slick said, and they did so after assuring him that they would do no such thing. The final version of the segment is here, and it is a far cry from what they assured Slick that it would be.

I have been concerned for many years now that there are probably more people than we’d like to admit who get their news exclusively from the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. If you are among that number, let this be a lesson. Programs like “The Daily Show” are not merely giving you a humorous spin on the news. They are selling a distortion. In the end, it’s nothing more than an entertaining form of propaganda, and it matters very little to them who they trample under foot for the act.

Matt Slick, “Matt Slick on The Daily Show, June 17, 2013,” CARM.org (July 14, 2013).

18 Responses to Christianity and “The Daily Show” Distortions

  1. Kyle Howard July 16, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Good call & discernment brother, I don’t watch The Daily show either but I know enough to know that there would be no way that they would have represented you positively or accurately. John Stewart constantly mocks religion, especially Evangelicalism.

  2. Lucas Knisely July 16, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I enjoy John Stewart, especially when he skewers Obama. This really should come as no surprise. Anyone who comes on the show expecting a fair/serious shake has obviously never watched it. It is, however, disappointing that they are so dishonest from the outset, basically tricking conservatives/Christians to come on the show.

  3. Matt Martin July 16, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    First off, Christians are indeed vilified in the media. Too often, the loud mouths gets represented instead of the humble ones who are living out their faith in ways that do lots of good for society.

    But come on…that was hilarious. Sometimes we just need to laugh at ourselves. This is something Huckabee understands very well and it’s why he’s often a guest on the Daily Show. He knows its purpose and understands how to converse and joke around with such a show while staying to true to his convictions.

    And I wouldn’t say the Daily Show completely twisted Matt’s words. Yes, they edited pieces together to make it work while leaving out context. Anyone with a basic understanding of TV production knows this.

    But Matt needs to own up to his words. From the original transcript…

    “I don’t know about bullying where homosexuals go out and find straights to beat up. I’m sure it happens though. Just as I’m sure it happens where straights go out and look for homosexuals to beat up.”

    I’m sure it happens.

    But yet he is trying to claim its manipulative editing that made him say homosexuals go out and look for heterosexuals to beat up.

    No Matt, you actually said it.

  4. Dave Miller July 16, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    I don’t know if it was the same segment, but they contacted me as well, to see if I was interested. Several good friends were unanimous in indicating it was a bad idea.

  5. Nathan Cesal July 16, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    All news and newsy programs are spun to make you want to watch, read and pay for them. O’Reilly, Stewart, Huckabee, Colbert, the View, ABC, CNN, Bloomberg, the Post, the Times… ALL OF THEM.

    • Lauren Bertrand July 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      You’ve got that right! Honestly, what news program these days ISN’T propaganda? Do we really feel that any of them care more about conveying the truth than they do about keeping up their ratings?

      • Akash CHarles July 17, 2013 at 10:29 am #

        people do not want the truth they want news that reflects their opinion- so do not blame the news outlets blame the public who are demanding such products!!

        • Aimee Woods Desjardins July 29, 2013 at 9:20 am #

          Aimee Desjardins
          @Nathan, Lauren & Akash: F.Y.I The Daily Show is NOT news, it is a comedy show broadcast on the comedy channel

  6. Ian Shaw July 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I’ve frequented Matt’s site before and he’s got some decent stuff on apologetics and argumentation hints. However, I thought he’d be smarter than this.

    Did I still at times find Stewart funny? Yes. Granted most of that is when he is blasting both political sides, not just conservatives. None of Matt’s friends were in his hear doing their best Obi Wan Kenobi “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”?

    Maybe he needed the giant squid head of Admiral Akbar yelling “it’s a trap” to keep him from doing this. I mean, Inspector Clouseau could have seen this coming.

  7. Chris Ryan July 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I do wince at some of the mocking & sarcasm that’s thrown at Christians. When I know such a segment is coming up I often skip through it. On the other hand, Stewart & Colbert are the preeminent satirical artists of our generation & perhaps of any. Moreover, Stewart, who’s Jewish, is as quick to satirize Judaism and Israel as he is other faiths. So I find him evenhanded.

    While the producers prolly do misrepresent their true intentions to guests, I think viewers really view it as satire. Sometime satire rings true & others false and whether it does one or the other typically depends on our overall witness. Discretion is the better part of valor tho, and while you typically eschew controversy and ‘soundbites’, Denny, you prolly chose wisely in avoiding the show.

  8. Paul Reed July 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    “From the get-go, I couldn’t see any upside to doing this”

    Your call, of course. But publicity is publicity, whether the person is dolling over you or crucifying you. If you’re writing blog posts for people to read them, then it’s worth thinking about that an appearance on national television could easily magnify your blog readership by an order of magnitude, and that’s being rather conservative. Moreover, you’d be hitting an audience with different worldviews, and certainly not be preaching to the choir. Having said all that, in your shoes, I would do the same thing.

  9. Daniel Doleys July 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    This is really disappointing! It could have so much funnier if American satire was as self-conscience as British Monty Python type comedy.

    Would it not have been great to have John Cleese come in at the end of the interview and explain to the interviewer how her out of context clips and acrimonious attitude that belittle people for their religious beliefs about how those same people are not actually belittled for said religious beliefs is actually quite funny.

  10. Kamilla July 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Denny,

    I think Mollie H nails it. Glad you didn’t do the interview.

  11. Suzanne McCarthy July 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    I read this innocently, but then remembered that I had heard the name Slick before. A few google results later, I now wonder why any Christian would want to side with someone like him. Dragging his name into the public right now – your choice.

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