Cable news was a common target for both Stewart and Stephen Colbert during the rally; they both played several montages of anchors and pundits on both sides of the political aisle -- including Olbermann -- engaged in what they described as extreme or fear-mongering rhetoric. During his closing speech, Stewart homed in on the press, saying that the media was a key factor in poisoning the current political climate:
The country's 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
In response, Olbermann -- whom Stewart has criticized many times in the past for what he sees as his over-the-top rhetoric -- tweeted his disapproval of this sentiment:
It wasn't a big shark but Jon Stewart jumped one just now with the "everybody on Thr cable is the same" naiveté
Olbermann's tweet prompted a strong reaction, and he followed it up several times:
The America before today's cable wasn't reasonable discussion.It was the 1-sided lockstep of Fox and people afraid of Fox.That got us Iraq.
I wish it were otherwise. But you can tone down all you want and the result will be: the Right will only get LOUDER. Sorry.
Later, Olbermann stressed that he still "loved" the rally, as well as Stewart and Colbert, despite his criticisms.