Since his return in February to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has already delivered monologues on two of the three topics that Apple banned him from speaking about during his two-season stint on Apple TV+ (a source of friction between the two parties that, ultimately, led to Stewart’s breakup with the streamer).

Last month, for example, Stewart delivered a blistering critique of Israel’s handling of the conflict in Gaza. And then last night, he railed against the “false promises” of artificial intelligence — a technology that’s increasingly paramount for companies like Apple, which is expected to make a host of AI announcements at its annual developer conference in June.

Apple had forbid Stewart from talking about either of those topics when he was still hosting The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV+, in addition to the iPhone maker banning him from doing any shows on China. And it wasn’t just a prohibition on certain topics, either. During last night’s episode of The Daily Show, Stewart interviewed FTC chair Linda Khan — an antitrust crusader appointed to the FTC in 2021.

According to Stewart, Apple told him about Khan: “Please don’t talk to her.”

Now, to a certain extent, this kind of thing shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. When you work for The Man, sometimes he gets to tell you what to do and what not to do (or, in this case, what not to talk about).

Where these off-limits topics for Stewart get interesting, though, is in the fact that people will draw a straight line from them to an argument that Apple is clearly too powerful if it can dictate someone’s speech on its streaming service (a point, in fact, that the DOJ makes in the recent antitrust suit brought against Apple).

“Having nothing to do with what you do for a living, I don’t think they cared for you,” Stewart told Khan at one point during last night’s show, eliciting some chuckles from his audience.

He continued: “What is that sensitivity? Why are they so afraid to have these conversations out in the public sphere?”

Khan’s response to that question is what you’d expect from a member of the current administration — and it’s a response that also, in my humble opinion, reflects a misunderstanding about how much Apple TV+ matters right now given how tiny Apple’s streamer still is. “I think it just shows the dangers of what happens when you concentrate so much power and so much decision making in a small number of companies,” Khan told Stewart.

Power? What power, pray tell, does Apple TV+ have? According to the trade pubs, for example, it’s not doing so hot when it comes to getting people to actually watch the service.

Khan’s question, it seems to me, would be better directed at a streamer like Netflix, which recently declined to pick up filmmaker Bryan Fogel’s follow-up to his 2017 film Icarus (a film, by the way, that won Netflix an Academy Award for best documentary). According to Semafor, Fogel’s Icarus: The Aftermath hasn’t been picked up by Netflix or any distributor over a discomfort with “hard-edged political documentaries” these days. Is a company like Netflix worried about hacking or somehow getting into hot water with Russia (the focus of Fogel’s two films here)?

I don’t see anyone pointing a finger at Netflix, though, like people find it so easy do at Apple.

Read More