Jon Stewart Slams Media for ‘Salivating’ Over Tyre Nichols Bodycam Footage
Jon Stewart and writer/comedian Kasaun Wilson railed against the sensationalized way news networks have been broadcasting the bodycam footage of the police killing of Tyre Nichols on the latest installment of The Problem With Jon Stewart podcast.
The discussion began as Wilson — who works as a writer on the TV version of The Problem — pointedly noted his efforts to avoid the video on social media before acknowledging its inescapability on television. “Now CNN is playing the video — I wish y’all would stop,” he said. “Y’all just playing it in restaurants and McDonald’s and Wednesdays.”
Stewart asked if they were using the video like “wallpaper” — running it in a little box on a constant loop while the talking heads discuss it. Wilson then compared it to like Kobe Bryant hitting a game-winning shot, and SportsCenter “would just keep playing it over and over going to commercial.”
The pair went on to discuss the way news coverage of Nichols’ death has dropped off so suddenly after the protests over the weekend were largely “peaceful and civil,” leading to a dearth of new footage to recycle. Wilson also spoke about the long, surreal build-up to the release of the footage last Friday evening, Jan. 27: “It was kind of like a Netflix drop where they were like, ‘Check us out at midnight the video’s dropping, we got you!’”
“The anticipation leading up to that, I just felt like the only time you see that is when Taylor Swift is about to put out a ‘Taylor’s Version,’” Stewart added. “Like the news media was almost giddy and salivating over [it]. They were cutting into programs, you know, ‘Coming up, the video’s gonna be coming out in two hours, and then after that, I’m sure we’re gonna be able to get you some real shit. Like we’re gonna get you some real shit.’”
Despite the media’s attempts to turn Nichols’ killing into a spectacle, Wilson said he was hopeful that, because the five Memphis cops charged with murder were all Black, that might make it easier “to discuss anti-Blackness” in policing.
“They really hyped it up,” Wilson said. “It’s like, ‘Yo, you seen the season premiere of Police Brutality, we can’t wait.’’’ And then the video came out, and then Fox News is like, ‘Yeah, the cops are Black, what y’all gonna say now?’ We’re like, ‘We’re gonna say the exact same thing!’ Just cause it’s not central casting, and it’s not a white police officer and a Black victim… Actually there may not have been a better scenario for us to discuss anti-Blackness than in a scenario where the cops are Black. Because now we can actually discuss structural issues.”