Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Jon Stewart Kissed Musharraf's Ass
A sad spectacle.
The Associated Press has a short article on The Daily Show tea party:
Jon Stewart welcomed Pakistan's president to "The Daily Show" on Tuesday with tea and a Twinkie. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's tete-a-tete with Stewart on the Comedy Central program was even more unlikely than the much-anticipated meeting between Musharraf, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Bush, planned for Wednesday.
As a gesture mirroring Pakistani hospitality, Stewart welcomed Musharraf with a cup of jasmine green tea, and offered the more American delicacy of a Twinkie. Musharraf chuckled and thanked the host, though Stewart promptly changed the subject.
"Where's Osama bin Laden?" he asked suddenly.
"I don't know," replied Musharraf. "You know where he is? You lead on, we'll follow you."
Then it went downhill from there. For the rest of the chat, Stewart went out of his way to treat Musharraf as some kind of cross between Mahatma Gandhi and Captain America.
Dan Rather got an awful lot of criticism from the right for "sucking up" to Saddam Hussein, but I'm sure that I'll be of the minority opinion in slamming Stewart for accepting everything that Musharraf said or wrote in his book as fact.
All in all, it was a shrewd appearance for Musharraf. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez could learn a thing or two from Musharraf on how best to woo the American left, that's for sure.
The fact is that Pakistan is just like Darfur when it comes to liberals and many in the Democratic Party.
Hard questions regarding the need to employ a more aggressive foreign policy approach is not something that most liberals want to consider.
But it was extremely disturbing to watch Stewart joke around with a dictator who has in reality done little to spread democracy or fight terrorism, and treat him with more respect and regard than a U.S. President (um...i have little of either for Bush but my point is that Musharraf ain't no saint, ain't to be trusted, and ain't no better than Bush)
From an article called "Punch Lines for Pakistan's President" written by Libby Copeland for the Washington Post:
As usual, much of Stewart's humor was rooted in criticism of the U.S. administration. If Musharraf felt such jokes put him in an awkward position with his ally President Bush -- with whom he met on Friday and is scheduled to meet again today -- he did not say so. Rather, he chuckled and played along. For example, Stewart asked Musharraf if Bush ran against bin Laden in a low-level election in Pakistan, who would win. Musharraf responded that both would "lose miserably."
Stewart asked Musharraf why he hadn't made much reference in his book to America's war in Iraq.
"Is that because you felt like it was such a smart move, and has gone so well that to mention it would be gloating?" Stewart asked.
Musharraf laughed and said of the war, "It has led certainly to more extremism and terrorism around the world."
"So we're safer?" Stewart pressed.
Musharraf laughed again. "No, we're not."
Stewart also asked if Bush pays attention when Musharraf meets with him, or whether he might be, say, watching television or sleeping with his eyes open. The president of Pakistan said the president of the United States paid close attention during their last meeting.
It would really be nice if in at least one fucking media appearance that the host - whether journalist or pundit or comedian - keep it "rooted in criticism of the [Musharraf] Administration" just a little bit.
Note to new readers
Over the last three weeks, since I reported for Raw Story on an ABC report (later denied by Pakistan) that the Waziristan Pact agreed to with pro-Taliban militants meant that Osama bin Laden would get a "free pass," I've written a number of articles which explain why I'm being so hard on Jon Stewart, that can be read at my homepage link.