Jon Stewart on Williams: 'Bri... why?'

Jon Stewart stokes Brian Williams controversy
Jon Stewart stokes Brian Williams controversy

"Bri... why?"

That's the question that Jon Stewart asked as he opened "The Daily Show" on Monday night.

Stewart devoted an eight-minute segment to the crisis surrounding Brian Williams and NBC. He was critical of Williams, but arguably more critical of the media coverage of the situation.

Related: Will Brian Williams return?

He had fun with the anchor's first name, asking "Why Bri lie?" and saying it'll be "Bri-bye" if more exaggerations emerge.

"We got us a case here of infotainment confusion syndrome," Stewart said jokingly. "It occurs when the celebrity cortex gets its wires crossed with the medulla anchor-gata."

He was referencing the fact that the most noteworthy examples of Williams' exaggerations about a 2003 Iraq War mission came not during the anchor's "Nightly News" but instead during promotional appearances on other shows.

Stewart played clips of the media's coverage of the controversy and added biting commentary about the coverage in the run-up to the invasion.

"Finally," he said sarcastically, "somebody is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq War."

Most of the other late-night talk shows didn't touch the Williams controversy. Neither NBC's Jimmy Fallon or CBS's David Letterman cracked any jokes about it.

But Stewart's colleague on Comedy Central, Larry Wilmore, did take some time to comment at Williams' expense.

"We look at our relationship with war and revisit the movie "Black Hawk Down,' or as Brian Williams calls it, 'The Brian Williams Story,'" Larry Wilmore said at the start of his new show that follows Stewart's, "The Nightly Show."

Wilmore joked that "as a fellow purveyor of fake news, I sympathize with Brian Williams."

Related: With Brian Williams absent, Lester Holt looks to steady 'NBC Nightly News'

Even though Williams has scrapped a scheduled appearance with Letterman later this week, the anchor has been a late-night regular.

Williams and Stewart have seemed chummy in the past, and Williams has been a frequent guest of "The Daily Show," appearing 16 times according to the show's web site.

He's also popped up in sketches and even acted as a giant head that floated in the background of the "Daily Show" set.

Conversely, Stewart was one of the first guests on Williams' now-canceled newsmagazine "Rock Center" back in 2011.

Along with many appearances with Letterman and Stewart, Williams has also "slow-jammed the news" with Fallon on "The Tonight Show" and hosted "Saturday Night Live" back in 2007.

Wilmore on Monday night quipped that Williams had "slow-jammed the truth."


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