John Oliver Rips Beck, Limbaugh: "Kind Of A Joke In Themselves"

08/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Daily Show's John Oliver is unhappy with mainstream journalism, and even drearier on the notion that he's something of a journalist.

"I watch cable news more than any human being should," he said at Wednesday's Campus Progress National Conference. "And it's not good."

At various points during the evening, Oliver fielded questions about The Daily Show's alleged transformation to what some consider a legitimate source of news.

"We're a comedy show, nothing more," he said. "We just try to make people laugh."

Oliver persistently rebuffed the notion that he, or anybody on The Daily Show, is a worthy source of information.

"The fact that some people prefer us to actual cable news is not a compliment to us," he told the crowd, "it's an insult to them."

But they weren't having any of it. During the Q&A session, he interrupted a guest who returned to that topic.

"No, I insist that we're not real journalists," he exclaimed, to laughs. "I will not cave on that."

Oliver said that as a comedian, he is grateful for controversial political talkers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, whom he described as "kind of a joke in themselves" and "beneath contempt." They engage only, he said, in "bone-chilling meandering."

Oliver was in his own element, in the crowd of more than a thousand progressives, and earned more laughs and cheers than any other speaker during the evening.

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