Well that didn't take long. The folks at the left-wing MoveOn.org are practically in mourning over Helen Thomas's "retirement."
Just a few hours after news broke that Hearst columnist Helen Thomas is calling it quits after a viral video of her anti-Semitic comments led to widespead condemnation of the White House press corps dean.
The abrupt retirement of Helen Thomas from her perch as the ranking member of the White House press corps was essentially accepted as a fait accompli by supporters and detractors alike after her controversial remarks urging Jews to leave Israel surfaced.
Indeed, if there was any defense made of Thomas's comments, it wasn't done persuasively or at an influential level. But that didn't stop the progressive community -- many hearing about her retirement while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in D.C. -- from collectively fretting on Monday about what the loss of her voice bodes for the day-to-day interaction between the White House and the Fourth Estate.
Her absence will be felt "significantly," said Ilyse Hogue, Communications Director of Moveon.org. "The burden will fall on the rest of the press corps to make sure the administration feels the need to be transparent about its plans to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Time's Joe Klein, no fan of the present Israeli government he, has weighed in on Helen Thomas's now infamous "get the hell out of Palestine" comments.
Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein denounced the Hearst columnist's comments as "odious," but stopped short of demanding her ouster from the White House press briefing room. Instead, Klein urged in his June 6 post that Thomas should forego her front row seat and get pushed towards the back of the room:
[I]t's not unprecedented for journalists with odious views to have access to the press room. What is unprecedented is for such a journalist to have a front-row center seat. Thomas should no longer have that privilege. The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.
Of course Thomas has a First Amendment right to be obnoxious, but that doesn't mean she has a constitutional right to a slot in the press briefing room. Perhaps Klein thinks his is a reasonable middle ground for the WHCA to stake out, but there were plenty of reasons to boot Thomas from the front row long before her anti-Semitic ranting made for viral video.
Obviously, blaming former President George W. Bush is en vogue - for everything from the BP oil spill to the current economic malaise. But some things that are going wrong in the world - it just seems to be a bit of a stretch to pin on a former administration.
But that didn't stop CNN's Fareed Zakaria, also the editor of Newsweek International. On his June 6 show "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Zakaria pointed out the pivotal role Turkey played in last week's deadly Gaza flotilla raid.
"Turkey was also playing a new and potentially dangerous game here," Zakaria said. "Despite being physically and historically connected to Europe, Turkey is increasingly playing a role that distances itself from those roots. Once a strong U.S. ally, a founding member of NATO, Turkey now often looks more like a troublemaker than a friend."
CNN's Larry King completely left out the major topic of the White House's continuing obfuscation on the Sestak and Romanoff controversies and barely mentioned the economy during his interview of President Obama on Thursday. While King did ask extensively on the Gulf oil leak and touched on the Middle East and immigration, he also tossed softballs on LeBron James and the President singing with Paul McCartney.
The CNN host aired his interview with the chief executive during the first half of the 9 pm Eastern hour. King spent the entire first two segments asking about the oil leak issue. Other than one question, where he asked whether the President had any responsibility for the disaster, the journalist asked softball questions (remember, CNN claimed just under two months ago in April that it was the only "non-partisan" cable network, and how King hounded Carrie Prejean during an interview in November 2009):
White House press corps dean Helen Thomas -- on the day that the White House hosted a Jewish Heritage Celebration, no less -- said that Jews who live in Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go "home."
When asked where home was for Israeli Jews, Thomas offered "Poland, Germany... and America and everywhere else" from which the founding generation of the State of Israel originally hailed.
It's been centuries decades since anyone believed Helen Thomas was anywhere near an objective journalist, but this makes it clear that she's at best tactless and unreasonable and at worst an anti-Semite.
Question to mull over in the comments section: Should Thomas lose her coveted seat in the White House press briefing room over this?
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on WMAL's "Grandy Group" shortly after 8 a.m. this morning.
The Media Research Center President discussed the media's anti-Israel bias flaring up afresh after the Gaza flotilla incident (click image at right for MP3 audio):
FRED GRANDY, host: You follow this more closely than do I. Um, over the last three or four days, has al-Jazeera acquired NBC, CBS, ABC, all the major outlets, because it seems there's such a clear media bias against what Israel did that it's hard for the truth to get out. Who ever thought that Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden would be the two guys speaking truth to power on this?!
BRENT BOZELL: You know, it's very sad but this is a continuation of a narrative we've seen since the late 1980s with the intifadas that Palestine was launching against Israel where Palestine was always the innocent one and Israel was always the aggressor. You've got to put the story into context.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Pentagon correspondent David Martin reported on the United Nations criticizing U.S. drone attacks against terrorists: "Philip Alston is author of a new U.N. report which argues that drone strikes amount to a 'license to kill' without being held accountable, a license the U.S. would not want any other country to have."
A clip was played of Alston proclaiming: "You've got complete silence from the CIA...they should not be operating major projects which kill people directly." Martin then chimed in: "Think about it, a operation the U.S. doesn't even admit exists has killed more than 500 people."
Martin's report featured another critic of the tactic, the Brookings Institution's Peter Singer, who fretted: "It allows us to carry out acts of war without having to go through some of the debates we would have in the past."
Martin noted that though the attacks are secret, "everybody knows who to blame," followed by Singer arguing the attacks have been "very effective in creating a large amount of anger at the U.S. that may well bite us in the long term." Martin added: "Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, told investigators the drone strikes were the reason he set out to kill hundreds of innocent Americans."
Writing anonymously at the Daily Caller, an anchor for a prominent TV news channel called that channel's coverage of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla "an abomination" and "grotesquely distorted and biased."
"I’m embarrassed by our coverage," the Anchorman concluded in an unsent email to his boss. "I take this job and my reputation seriously. But that’s nearly impossible with coverage like this." He accused the network of "acting as a public relations arm of Hamas."
The Anchorman, his pseudonym at the Daily Caller, was livid about his news organization's kid-gloves treatment of controversial former US ambassador Edward Peck. In an interview with Peck, the Anchorman claims, an on-air personality omitted "anything that might cast the slightest doubt on Pecks political motivations."
After initially lagging behind the other networks in even mentioning the Gaza-bound flotilla's connections to terrorist groups, on Wednesday CBS finally noted the existence of such ties, and on the same day NBC caught up with CBS in highlighting calls for Israel to end its blockade. Without directly relaying to viewers that the Israelis already allow tons of aid into Gaza on a regular basis, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell began her report: "Tonight there is worldwide pressure on Israel to end its three-year blockade of Gaza, except for the United States. The White House is simply telling Israel it must guarantee better deliveries of aid."
After showing a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arguing that there is plenty of food and medicine in Gaza, Mitchell continued: "That is not what NBC News witnessed in Gaza today. Muhammed Abidrabu and his family of 12 live in two tents. Their home was destroyed when Israel invaded a year and a half ago. In the cooking area, only some cooking oil and a small bag of vegetables. A million and a half people live here, strangled by poverty, unemployment and hopelessness."
While the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC have all failed to remind viewers that Israel allows regular aid shipments into Gaza over land from its side of the border, on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Richard Roth highlighted complaints about the effect of the blockade on Gaza residents, used a soundbite of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to argue that "even [Israel’s] friends question the effect," and even noted that Egypt was opening its border with Gaza for humanitarian aid – all while still not informing viewers that the Israelis regularly screen aid shipments and allow them into Gaza.
RICHARD ROTH: The U.N. says 70 percent of its million and a half people live on less than a dollar a day. Smuggling through tunnels to Egypt provides much of what Gazans need but at prices not many can afford. Israel says the aim of the blockade is to control terrorism, but even its friends question the effect.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The situation in Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable.
ROTH: Wary of sharing blame, Egypt's now opened its own border with Gaza – for humanitarian reasons, said Cairo – but probably not for long.
On the same day’s The Early Show, CBS anchor Betty Nguyen also noted Egypt’s actions: "This morning, Egypt has temporarily opened its border with Gaza to let in aid shipments after Israel's raid that killed nine people on a humanitarian flotilla."
Similarly, during the war in Gaza from late December 2008 to January 2009, CBS was the network most likely to air complaints about the blockade’s effect on the people of Gaza, and the least likely to report that humanitarian aid was being transported into the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Dana Lewis filed a report in which he noted some of those on board the Gaza-bound ships that were boarded by Israel were from a Yemeni group that has "murky links to al-Qaeda," and others from an extreme group in Turkey believed by Israelis to have terrorist links: "But among the hundreds, these three parliamentarians from Yemen's Islah Party, a group known to have murky links to al-Qaeda, and others from Turkey's IHH organization. The Israeli government says they're extremists with documented connections to terrorist organizations." The report also recounted that anti-Semitic attacks were chanted by those who attacked Israeli commandos: "In an interview with Fox News, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said those on the ship were chanting, ‘Death to Jews.’"
On the same day’s Fox and Friends, FNC’s Peter Johnson, Jr., recounted that the Israelis allow much humanitarian aid into Gaza on a regular basis, and that they had also offered to screen and deliver aid from the flotilla of ships before the confrontation: "We know that 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid goes to Gaza every week that's sanctioned by Israel. They do check it for explosive materials, they check it for concrete that's being used to build tunnels. But if the real purpose of the mission was to bring humanitarian aid to the folks in Gaza, Israel said, ‘Listen, bring these six ships to this port in Israel, we will inspect it, unload it, and we will bring the permitted materials to the people of Gaza.’ If the real goal was humanitarian aid, then why was it necessary to state before these horrible deaths that we intended to run this gauntlet no matter what the costs?"
The broadcast networks ABC and NBC have only given brief attention to the flotilla’s links to terrorist groups, while CBS has ignored such connections.
Helen Thomas was her typical, Israel-hating self Tuesday when during the White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a "deliberate massacre, an international crime."
When she got her chance to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question at the proceeding, Thomas was relentless in her accusations.
"If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," she said.
"What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit):
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
Here's what Tapper wrote hours ago at ABC's Political Punch blog (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey):
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, during the show’s regular "Fox All Stars" segment, columnist and FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer argued that the group of ships that were raided by Israeli troops were intentionally trying to provoke an incident and weaken Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as he related that Israel not only already allows plenty of aid shipments into Gaza, but had even offered to deliver the aid on the ships so long as the military was allowed to screen the contents to make sure no weapons were being smuggled.
After complaining about the word "humanitarian" being applied to the ships, Krauthammer argued that there is no "humanitarian crisis" that was being addressed by the flotilla: "There's no one starving in Gaza. The Gazans have been supplied with food and social services, education, by the U.N., by UNRWA, for 60 years, in part with American tax money. Second, when there are humanitarian needs, the Israelis allow every day food and medicine overland into Gaza. The reason that it did not want to allow this flotilla is because, as the spokesman for the flotilla said herself, this was not about humanitarian relief, it was about breaking the blockade." He went on to recount that the blockade exists to prevent weapon shipments to the terrorist group Hamas which controls the government in Gaza.
Weekly Standard editor and FNC contributor Bill Kristol argued that the Israelis would have been willing to deliver legitimate aid from the ships: "As Charles said, they can get humanitarian aid into Gaza. If they want more humanitarian aid to Gaza, airlift in five million tons of nice goods, and the Israelis will just take a look and make sure they're not arms and let them go through the checkpoint. This checkpoint is open. Stuff goes through every day."
As international outrage mounts, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancels Tuesday's scheduled meeting with President Obama, it is crucial that news outlets here offer an accurate, fair and balanced assessment of exactly what transpired in the Mediterranean Sea early Monday morning.
After all, according to Israel's Haaretz, this isn't the unprovoked massacre some in the media are depicting (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, photo courtesy AP):
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly held a discussion with FNC Strategic Analyst and retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters about the New York Times leaking information on U.S. military activity, as Peters charged that the Times was endangering covert agents: "They tipped our secret operations, our black operations approach to the Iranians, to the Syrians, to the terrorists. It made it much harder and much more dangerous for our agents, for our special operators to collect intelligence, to take direct action, to protect our country, to advance our interests." He and O’Reilly soon added:
RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL RALPH PETERS: And it's also hurt us with countries that are pseudo-friends, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because, and Yemen, because it's said that we're going to run operations against them.
BILL O'REILLY: Yeah, they don't want their people to know they're cooperating with the United States in any kind of a mission or operation, Yemen in particular.
The FNC analyst also recounted some of the Times’s past transgressions against American national security:
The government of Pakistan has blocked social networking site Facebook due to a page encouraging users to "Draw Mohammed." The page, and the larger movement, have outraged Muslims, who believe it is blasphemous to physically depict Islam's prophet.
"Death to Facebook!" shouted protesters in Karachi, demonstrating against a group called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," designed to further the cause of "free expression." The movement was a backlash against recent threats of violence against, among others, the creators of the popular animated show South Park, which showed Mohammed in a bear mascot suit.
The "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" page has been taken down -- though Facebook categorically denies any attempt at censorship or involvement in its removal -- and Facebook has been "indefinitely" blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. All in all, it's been a rough couple days for the social network.
John Christoffersen's article for the Associated Press on Tuesday night highlighted the life woes of Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing plot, citing how "his life seemed to unravel." Christoffersen also noted Shazad's "outspokenness about [former] President George W. Bush and the Iraq war."
The AP writer's article, titled "Times Square bombing suspect's life had unraveled," first detailed the suspect's past "enviable life:" how he had become a U.S. citizen, his wealthy Pakistani family, his MBA, his "well-educated wife and two kids" and the house he owned "in a middle-class Connecticut suburb." Christoffersen then continued with the recent difficulties he faced : "In the past couple of years, though, his life seemed to unravel: He left a job at a global marketing firm he'd held for three years, lost his home to foreclosure and moved into an apartment in an impoverished neighborhood in Bridgeport. And last weekend, authorities say, he drove an SUV loaded with explosives into Times Square intent on blowing it up."
On Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, substitute anchor Juan Williams devoted a segment to the recent inclusion of Iran on the United Nations Commission on the Status for Women, despite the draconian treatment of women by government authorities in the nation. The FNC host was reminded of Libya's leadership of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2003. Williams:
Another outrage courtesy of our friends at the U.N. Iran has just been selected to sit on the United Nations commission on human, on women's rights. Iran, which requires that women who don't dress modestly enough get stoned or lashed. Iran, which threatens to arrest women with suntans. I guess we shouldn't be shocked. In 2003, Libya was selected to head up the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Williams brought aboard author Brigitte Gabriel for further discussion of the issue. Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Friday, April 30, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
With the recently announced end of Fox's hit series "24," many liberal pundits are parading the show as a false depiction of the notion that "torture works." Contrary to their accusations, the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents.
"On '24,' torture saves lives," the New York Times's Brian Stelter writes, disapprovingly. James Poniewozik, writing on a Time Magazine blog, attributes the show's supposed approval of harsh interrogations to the "conservative politics of co-creator Joel Surnow."
Any American who has serious doubts that our military and intelligence officials would allow interrogators to, say, directly threaten the lives of a terrorist's family (let alone inflict tremendous physical pain) to elicit information has a better grasp of interrogation techniques -- and the integrity of our men and women in uniform -- than most of the liberal media.
"Let's just get it out of the way right off that bat that Al Qaeda madmen don't actually want to blast through bridges, skyscrapers, and subways in righteous protest of the First Amendment," an exasperated Katie Paul began her March 23 tirade about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
"It's mind-boggling that politicians still consider this nonsense an effective enough talking point as to employ it in their keynote speeches to national audiences--until, that is, you realize they usually only bring it up when they're after something else," the Newsweek reporter added in her The Gaggle blog post, going on to argue Netanyahu's AIPAC speech was just red meat tossed out to a pro-Israel audience to bolster his closed-door meeting with President Obama over the Middle East peace process.
To be fair, it is true that politicians can and do simplify complex matters into sound bites that don't do justice to the issues at hand, but in this case, Paul is far too dismissive of the argument that al Qaeda's real complaint is not just with particular foreign policies of the United States and/or Israel but with the whole Western concept of secular, pluralistic liberal democracy.
Indeed, Paul doesn't have to take any politician's word for it, she need only look at al Qaeda's own pronouncements. From a February 4, 2005 Congressional Research Service document entitlted "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology" (emphases mine):
Hours after I noted how Joe Klein suggested that Americans who support Israel might be unpatriotic for disagreeing with the Obama administration, the Time writer made his claim more explicitly in a Swampland blog post entitled "Israel First?" (emphasis mine):
The America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has done a very unwise thing: It has issued a statement criticizing the Obama Administration, rather than Israel, for its reaction to the Netanyahu government's recent announcement of more illegal settlement blocks in East Jerusalem--an announcement that was made during Vice President Joe Biden's visit last week, an act of extreme rudeness on top of its unquestioned illegality.
This is quite remarkable. I may be wrong--and commenters are welcome to correct me--but I can't remember another ethnic or religious lobbying group publicly siding with a foreign country against the President of the United States...especially when the country in question is engaging in behavior that the international community believes is illegal.
Last week the Obama administration worked itself up into high dudgeon over a decision by the Israeli government to green light a housing project in an east Jerusalem neighberhood. While its true the decision came down at an indelicate time -- right in the middle of Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- the actual substance of the decision was perfectly legal and in contravention of no prior agreement with the United States related to the peace process.
Klein -- who last March insisted that President Obama should take to the bully pulpit to lecture Israel on its 'moral standing' -- concluded his post by subtly questioning the patriotism of American members of the pro-Israel group AIPAC:
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
The Times and its executive editor Bill Keller, who defended the decision, have left the nation collectively uttering, "It's about time." Now that's change we can believe in.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The National Security Council, Keller recalled, "thought it had been a clean snatch and they were afraid once the word got out, other Taliban officials would go deeper underground or take measures to cover their tracks. So they asked us to hold off for a while."
On Monday’s Rick’s List program on CNN, Slate’s Fred Kaplan attacked Republicans for politicizing national security, accused the GOP of being in an alternate reality, and blasted Sarah Palin for “talking...complete and utter nonsense.” Kaplan also wrote off the tea parties as not a “mass movement,” and, along with anchor Rick Sanchez, accused Palin of forwarding “anti-intellectualism.”
The Slate national security columnist, who is also a former correspondent for the Boston Globe, appeared as a guest during the last ten minutes of Sanchez’s program, just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Kaplan, the CNN anchor set up the discussion by referencing the political debate over the granting of Miranda rights to attempted airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after his Christmastime arrest. Sanchez first asked the Slate writer, “Who’s doing the politicizing here?”
On Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly used the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment to highlight comments made by Hearst columnist Helen Thomas in which she questioned whether terrorists really should be called "terrorists," and seemed to express a view of moral equivalence between the United States and the terrorists with which America is at war.
When asked in an interview with Mediaite what her point was in repeatedly asking Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan at a January 7 press conference why al-Qaeda terrorists are trying to kill Americans, as if to suggest that such behavior was provoked by wrongdoing by the U.S., Thomas responded:
I was trying to find out why, why, what’s, look, we’ve been in this war, eight, nine years, against this so-called terrorism. And I do say "so-called" because in the newspapers, if you read, you read about the militants, you don’t read about us bombing everybody, and never really explaining why, and going into three, four different countries, Middle East, Africa, and so forth. Who are we? And why are we doing this?
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, the FNC host had previously highlighted Thomas’s bizarre exchange with Brennan from January 7:
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):