Days after comedian Jon Stewart said that people who talk about so-called cancel culture “never seem to shut the fuck up about it,” Fox News on Tuesday seemed to go out of its way to prove the longtime Daily Show host right.
During a Sunday night virtual talk at the 22nd annual New Yorker Festival, Stewart discussed a variety of topics while promoting his new (and extremely serious) talk show, The Problem With Jon Stewart. At one point, the conservation shifted to the notion that people are being “canceled” for having politically incorrect beliefs and sharing their honest opinions.
“People that talk about cancel culture never seem to shut the fuck up about it,” Stewart declared, likely referencing right-wing media and other comedians, who have been obsessed with the issue. “Like, there’s more speech now than ever before,” he continued. “It’s not ‘you can’t say it,’ it’s that when you say it—look, the internet has democratized criticism. What do we do for a living—we talk shit, we criticize, we postulate, we opine, we make jokes, and now other people are having their say. And that’s not cancel culture, that’s relentlessness. We live in a relentless culture.”
It didn’t take long for Fox News to devote airtime to whining about his comments.
Spending an entire segment on Stewart’s remarks, Fox News’ midday talk show Outnumbered grumbled that the veteran funnyman was “wrong” to dismiss the scourge of cancel culture. At the same time, however, co-host Emily Compagno seemed to confirm Stewart’s point about their obsession with the topic.
“Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart says cancel culture isn’t real, it’s a myth, no one is being canceled,” said Compagno while teasing the upcoming segment. “Really? We have so much to say on this!”
The five-person panel, meanwhile, all agreed that cancel culture is a “real thing”—and that Stewart himself should be personally concerned about it because “it could happen to him.” Fox News political anchor Bret Baier, sitting in as the show’s “one lucky guy,” added that the feeling that “there was a lack of freedom of speech” is what led to Donald Trump becoming president in the first place.
The show’s host Harris Faulkner, without a hint of irony, then attempted to ding Stewart for even weighing in on the topic. “I know some of this is performative,” she declared. “Because if you want people to click on you, just talk about cancel culture.”
Of course, Outnumbered was far from the only Fox News program on Tuesday to complain about alleged “cancel culture.”
On her “hard-news” program The Faulkner Focus, for instance, Faulkner noted that “some are asking where do we draw the line when it comes to cancel culture” during a discussion on former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who resigned after a bevy of his homophobic and racist emails surfaced.
Additionally, several Fox morning programs applauded a professor attracting thousands of invites to his Princeton lecture after another university canceled his initial speech, noting that “cancel culture backfired.”