I have long enjoyed Jon Stewart but not taken him seriously. He is a court jester – such people are important in oppressive environments. They serve as a tension relief valve and foster the illusion of free exchange of ideas.
Stewart has always stayed in bounds, pushing the line, but only so far, never really hitting home with a point. He once took it the point of absurdity. He organized the “Rally to Restore Sanity”, a go-nowhere event with no forward motion, no insight, no ground-level organization or purpose. It was just a rock concert for half-baked ideas.
But what the hell – he’s a comedian. In our country, he’s doing more journalism than our journalists can muster. So I have watched him over the years, and will miss his presence on the air.
And I watched last night as he interviewed
CIA mole journalist Judith Miller.
Miller was on the front page of the New York Times during the propaganda run-up to the attack on Iraq in March of 2003. Her stories were littered with lies and agitprop. It’s common behavior for people of her ilk and the Times and other major media outlets. When the military-industrial-intelligence complex wants a war, the media falls in line. (To this day, the New York Times has not admitted that the Gulf of Tonkin was a false-flag attack. You’d think that after 51 years they could let a little honest reporting slip through, but no.)
Last night Stewart was confrontational and well-prepared. He had read both her NYT writings and her new book. He did not let her slip off the hook. He did not allow her to insult his intelligence*. He tried to paint a big picture of an administration that was intent on making a war on an innocent country against her bullshit fear-mongering techniques. He held up a photo of a New York Times front page that had Miller’s article opposite a 9/11 tribute.
Maybe he’s feeling freedom, since he’s leaving soon. He cannot be fired. Whatever it is, my hat is off to him. That was a courageous performance.
*Said Miller, “The intelligence sources we were talking to had never really been wrong before.”