Jon Stewart Plunges the Knife into Apple

Jon Stewart Claims Apple Wouldn't Let Him Interview FTC Chair Lina Khan
On his Apple-produced podcast last year...

Hypothetical: let's say you're a multi-trillion dollar company under various business practice investigations from all sides, all around the world. Would it be a good thing to see your company name in the press for allegedly blocking one of the biggest names in entertainment, on your payroll, from interviewing the most well-known figurehead of the movement coming after you? Such is the position Apple amazingly finds itself in today with the report that the company blocked Jon Stewart from interviewing FTC Chair Lina Khan.

Yes, this is probably the worst possible headline for Apple, at the worst possible time.

And don't think Jon Stewart isn't aware of that. I'm sure all sides will deny it, but payback is nevertheless a bitch. And this sure seems to be Stewart digging a knife into Apple right after the announcement of the DoJ's lawsuit against the company for illegal monopolistic behavior. I mean, he had Lina Khan on as his Daily Show guest this week and said to her (16:32 in):

"I gotta tell you. I wanted to have you on a podcast. And Apple... asked us not to do it. To have you. They literally said 'please don't talk to her.' Having nothing to do with what you do for a living, I think they just... (laughs) I didn't think they cared for you, is what happened. They wouldn't let us do even that dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI. Like, what is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?"

Khan's response, was the sort of typical generic thing about the concentration of power in the market being a bad thing. But Stewart's words are the real story here. And the fact that he was saying them to her. Yes, she's more focused with the FTC, at the moment, on Amazon (which the interview is mainly about) with the DoJ taking on Apple. But Stewart is basically saying, "you gotta get these guys."

As Axios notes:

The complaint specifically calls out Apple's dominance as potentially harmful to speech:

"Apple's conduct extends beyond just monopoly profits and even affects the flow of speech. For example, Apple is rapidly expanding its role as a TV and movie producer and had exercised that role to control content," it notes.

Two months ago, in noting some decidedly more vague comments Stewart made in relation to the end of his deal with Apple, I wrote the following:

Stewart didn't elaborate, but mainly because incredibly, the hosts just moved along to the next topic. Otherwise, it sure sounds like he would have!

I think a lot of people would like to know if his comment meant China. Or AI. Or something else. Obviously, Stewart is going to be biased in this regard as he was clearly fired/cancelled. And yes, it's entirely possible that the shades here are more gray: that Apple felt like they could pull the plug because the numbers for The Problem With Jon Stewart were not great. Were they great, maybe they could swallow whatever he wanted to say. Maybe not.

Either way, it's hard to imagine Stewart would outright lie about such a thing. At the very least, you have to believe that he believes that a part of the reason his show was cancelled by Apple was because they were uncomfortable with some topics he wanted to talk about. If only he had a far more popular perch from which to clear the air right about now...

Well, now we know that he certainly meant the government investigations and regulations and yes, AI, apparently. Sure enough, Stewart was able use his "far more popular perch" to let these gripes be known, eventually. He just decided to wait until the time where it would hurt Apple the most. Cold!