Comedian and podcast host Jon Stewart criticized CNN on Wednesday for blasting the footage of Tyre Nichols’ beating like it was “spring break footage.”
Nichols died Jan. 10 three days after he was pulled over by Memphis police officers for a traffic stop. Nichols was pulled over for “reckless driving” during which a “confrontation occurred” and Nichols allegedly fled on foot. Officers pursued Nichols and “another confrontation occurred.” Video footage released Friday showed the officers beating Nichols, who later complained of shortness of breath. Seven officers and three EMT’s who responded to the scene have been fired.
During Wednesday’s episode of “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” Stewart and writers Rob Christensen and Kasaun Wilson were discussing the release of the body cam footage, which happened Friday night.
“I think this is the first time where I’m like, you know what I’m not gonna go on Twitter, I’m not going on Facebook. I’m just gonna relax and let it do its thing. Now CNN is playing the video. I wish y’all would stop. Y’all just playing it in restaurants and McDonald’s and Wendy’s.”
“Are they playing it like wallpaper?” Stewart asked. “Are they doing that thing where it’s in the box and the announcer is talking about something else and you’re just seeing it over and over again?”
“They’re playing it like Fox plays spring break footage,” Stewart continued. “Like it’s just on the loop and now it’s like they’re talking about something else, but the girls in bikinis are still dancing.”
Stewart then said it was becoming “numbing” before noting how CNN first aired the footage with a disclaimer about the graphic nature of the video before “rolling [it] like it’s a Vine.”
Stewart also took aim at the hype ahead of the release. (RELATED: ‘Nobody At The NYT Has Ever Tried To Handcuff Somebody’: CNN Analyst Pushes Back Against Tyre Nichols Reporting)
“The anticipation leading up to that, I just thought like, only time you ever see that is like when Taylor Swift is about to put out a ‘Taylor’s version.’ Like the news media was almost giddy and salivating over what? Where 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.'”
Wilson agreed, arguing that the fact that the former officers were black is actually beneficial because “now we can actually discuss structural issues.”