On Wednesday, Zucker argued that Stewart was not only "incredibly unfair" to CNBC, but the business media in general--including BusinessWeek, one of the sponsors of the conference where he spoke.
"To suggest the business media or CNBC was responsible for what's going on now is absurd," he said.
"Everyone wants to point a finger," he added, but charging CNBC's anchors with improperly cheerleading and ignoring warning signs about the pending financial turmoil was "out of line."
Zucker said CNBC has done a stellar job in its coverage, and some backlash is now emerging among viewers "in terms of let's stop beating the press." Zucker added that Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money" on CNBC, had actually been out front in railing against some corporate practices.
Broadcasting & Cable reported that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman defended Stewart at the event later Wednesday. (Viacom owns Comedy Central, which airs "The Daily Show.) "Jon Stewart is a great person, and he's very smart and has a connection with the zeitgeist which makes him successful," Daumann said. "[The interview] got so much attention because Jon Stewart was one of the few people on air that spoke to what people are thinking out there."
Described by MSNBC's David Shuster as a "full-blown war," Stewart fired the first shots as host of "The Daily Show" when he ran a montage of CNBC anchors and analysts offering commentary before the stock market crash that, in hindsight, was off-base.
Cramer was a particular target, and responded that his comments were taken out of context. He later appeared on Stewart's Comedy Central show, and the contretemps concluded rather placidly--making Zucker's strident comments Wednesday somewhat surprising.