According to novelist Salman Rushdie, Comedy Central star Jon Stewart appears to be unapologetic for featuring Muslim extremist folk singer Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam) at his Rally to Restore Sanity last Saturday. Stevens has previously supported a long-standing Islamic death sentence against Rushdie.
Standpoint magazine’s Nick Cohen spoke to Rushdie this morning, who told him that: “I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam's appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.”
After Rushdie penned The Satanic Verses in 1988, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him, claiming that the book was “blasphemous against Islam.”
Stevens, a Muslim convert, has reiterated his support for the death sentence on multiple occasions, most recently in 1997. When asked during a 1989 interview whether he would take part in a protest that burned Rushdie in effigy, Stevens replied that “I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.” The singer has never apologized for endorsing the fatwa.
On Saturday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Wyatt Andrews previewed the Washington DC 'Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear,' organized by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: "Almost all of the folks we found said they hope it's about the moderates of America....Stewart seems to have touched what you might call the anti-anger nerve."
Andrews went on to chide conservative figures for divisiveness: "In a year when the President was called a liar and when Fox's Glenn Beck labeled the President a power-hungry socialist and a Nazi." He described how: "Stewart took Beck on." Andrews then explained that rally participants "told us they wanted less name-calling in the media and more accomplishment in Washington." However, he failed to make any mention of Stewart's own long list of vulgar name-calling incidents.
Good Morning America on Sunday skipped the hateful signs at Jon Stewart's rally in Washington D.C., Saturday. Reporter David Kerley instead played a clip of the comedian and hyped, "Comedy on the mall, a little Daily Show with its star offering a bit of a sermon."
Although journalists were quite eager to play up extreme signs at Tea Party rallies, Kerley did not show a sign featuring Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and others with Hitler mustaches.
He did not feature this picture, taken by the Media Research Center's Kevin Eder (@Keder). It read, "Death to right-wing extremists. (But in a nice way.)" For more extreme signs, go here. Instead, Kerley reverently parroted, "You know, one last thing that Stewart said, most of his barbs were headed right toward the media. He said when everything gets amplified too much, nothing gets heard."
While Stelter and Tavernise nailed the political tone as "overwhelmingly liberal," the rally's agenda didn't stop them and other Times reporters from enjoying the rally both in print and through live blogging while hyping the numbers for the gathering held as a response to one held two months ago in D.C., "Restoring Honor," sponsored by Fox News host Glenn Beck.
The print edition story ran with a photo of Stewart and Stephen Colbert with Yusuf Islam, the former singer Cat Stevens, who supported the deadly fatwa against novelist Salman Rushdie in 1989 (more on that later).
Part circus, part satire, part parade, the crowds that flooded the National Mall Saturday for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear made it a political event like no other.
It was a Democratic rally without a Democratic politician, featuring instead two political satirists, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, who used the stage to rib journalists and fear-mongering politicians, and to argue with each other over the songs “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train.”
Though at no point during the show did either man plug a candidate, a strong current of political engagement coursed through the crowd, which stretched several long blocks west of the Capitol, an overwhelming response to a call by Mr. Stewart on his “Daily Show.” The turnout clogged traffic and filled subway trains and buses to overflow.
On a special edition of Sunday’s Hannity show, FNC host Sean Hannity informed viewers that Restoring Sanity Rally participant and singer Cat Stevens - who converted to Islam in the 1970s and changed his name to Yusuf Islam - several times declared that Salman Rushdie should be killed after Iranian leader, the Ayatollah Khomeni, issued a fatwa on the British author in 1989 for publishing his book the Satanic Verses.
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz pressed guest Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post on her hypocrisy for calling for more civility in political discourse even while she is a regular guest on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on MSNBC. After Kurtz asked if MSNBC was as much of a problem as FNC, she charged that "misinformation" disseminated by FNC is "monumental" compared to MSNBC:
Definitely not as much of the problem. Have they exaggerated? Yes, they would admit it themselves. But the constant barrage of misinformation being put out by Glenn Beck, by O'Reilly, by Hannity is just monumental. I mean, this is a factual record that has been compiled of what they're saying.
She also rationalized her appearances with Olbermann by giving him credit for a lame apology the MSNBC host once addressed to Jon Stewart after Stewart called him out for viciously attacking Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Huffington: "Well, Keith Olbermann actually apologized for that statement, for that particular statement. Have you ever seen anybody apologize except maybe Glenn Beck when he called the President a racist?"
Last night's interview between Jon Stewart and President Obama was a far cry from their jovial encounter two years ago almost to the day. Instead of sounding like two kindred spirits yucking it up, there was quite a bit of tension between the two.
The interview certainly cemented Stewart's role as the nation's most popular liberal kool-aid sipper. Reality may have turned the post-partisan Obama into a political attack dog, but Stewart remains as naively liberal as ever.
For a man who thinks Social Security is the most important social safety net we have in America, Barack Obama appears to know very little about its history.
Consider that on Wednesday, the President actually told the "Daily Show's" Jon Stewart that Social Security benefits originally only applied to widows and orphans (video available here, transcript and commentary follow):
NPR and other liberals are trying to convert the firing of Juan Williams into another episode of bullying conservatism. NPR deployed Jon Stewart in self-defense on Tuesday’s Morning Edition. Anchor Steve Inskeep noted Stewart’s arrival in Washington, DC marked his first show since the Williams purge, and they ran this joke:
STEWART [From the Daily Show]: Are you kidding me, NPR? Are you picking a fight with Fox News? They gave Juan Williams a $2 million contract just for you firing him. NPR, you just brought a tote bag full of David Sedaris books to a knife fight.
NPR suggested that this came in the spirit of "sanity" and that Stewart's rally is designed to "take it down a notch." But wasn’t NPR the network who took a knife to Juan's career, and Fox the ones with a tote bag full of goodies? In The New York Times, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter also explained that liberalism is losing because it’s not doltishly simple, it’s too complex for the average American:
Hey, it's Friday night. Time to kick back, relax, and have a few chuckles, courtesy Ed Schultz. On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz, somehow managing to keep a straight face, claimed that NPR is "as down the middle as you can get."
Schultz served up his side-splitter in condemning Jim DeMint and other Republicans for proposing the federal defunding of NPR. In the world according to Ed, the Republican suggestion to withdraw NPR's taxpayer subsidies reflects a GOP plan to "shut down any dissenting voices in this country." Ed, buddy: Dems control the White House and both houses of Congress. NPR is the voice of pro-government flackery, not dissent. The rebels are . . . the Republicans!
On Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN, liberal comedian Jon Stewart bashed Fox News, labeling their "fair and balanced" slogan a "complete lie." Stewart also stated that he thought the network was "wrong" and that "they've built... [a] really effective political organization," not a news organization. The comedian also lamented how Democrats have "faced a relentless campaign of hyperbole that they are tyrannical socialists" [audio available here].
Stewart appeared for the entire hour on King's program. Forty minutes in, the CNN host asked his guest, "What do you make of Fox?" The comedian, who earlier promoted his upcoming supposedly moderate "Rally to Restore Sanity," initially gave a mostly complimentary reply, though included his "wrong" label of the network, but continued with some criticism on CNN:
Stephen Colbert on Tuesday marvelously chided the cry babies of ABC's "The View" by storming off the set when the topic of Bill O'Reilly and the Ground Zero mosque surfaced.
After the comedian joked about bedbugs being responsible for Whoopi Goldberg jumping out of the couch during last Thursday's much-publicized encounter with the host of Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," the pair got into a discussion of the incident culminating in Colbert's comedic departure (video follows with commentary):
As Politico reported on Wednesday, during a gathering in a Richmond, Virginia home, President Obama "seemed to offer a ringing endorsement" of Daily Show host Jon Stewart holding a 'Rally to Restore Sanity' in Washington DC, supposedly as a way to allow moderate nonpartisan voices to be heard.
Obama declared: "...apparently he's going to host a rally called something like Americans in favor of a return to sanity....And his point was 70 percent of the people – it doesn't matter what political affiliation –70 percent of folks are just like you. They go about their business. They work hard every day. They're looking after their families. They don't go around calling people names. They don't make stuff up."
Stewart has claimed that the rally is nonpartisan and designed to promote moderation: "If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point." However, Obama's endorsement clearly demonstrates a decidedly liberal slant to the event. In addition, NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported that the rally was being organized by two former aides to Bill Clinton.
If Arianna Huffington, an admitted “progressive,” announces she’s offering transportation to individuals that desire to participate in Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “million moderate march,” can it really be described as “moderate?”
“We are getting a Huff Post bus. If there is anybody unsure how to get there, talk to me,” Huffington said. “[J]ust come to the Huffington Post, 560 Broadway in SoHo. The bus will be there. We’ll take you with us.”
September 2010 might go down in history as the month America's comedians took over the Democrat Party.
From upcoming political rallies by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to the latter testifying before Congress and the media waiting breathlessly for Bill Maher to release another video of Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell, our world has surely taken a giant step towards the bizarre.
Jumping aboard the crazy train was David Gregory who on Sunday's "Meet the Press" actually played a clip from Comedy Central's the "Daily Show" to mock the Republican "Pledge to America" and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Comedian Stephen Colbert on Thursday ridiculed Rick Sanchez, the much-maligned CNN personality that deservedly is the butt of many jokes.
After telling his "Colbert Report" viewers that Jon Stewart's Washington rally next month has been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Colbert informed them that he too has gotten a "major media figure" in his corner.
Upon learning the endorsement is from Sanchez, Colbert said, "Wow. Rick Sanchez. The coveted Sanchez bump. That could get me tens of supporters."
After showing a clip of the CNNer making a fool of himself on the air, Colbert panicked, "Oh, my God. It's like I'm a freshman and I've just been befriended by a loser upper-classman" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Right Scoop):
Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham Thursday said Jon Stewart on the previous evening's "O'Reilly Factor" looked sad, demoralized, and deflated about how Barack Obama is performing in his role as President.
"I was a bit saddened because Jon Stewart looked like the sad clown last night," Ingraham told O'Reilly after he asked her opinion about the comedian's appearance on his program.
"He just seems kind of demoralized and deflated," Ingraham continued.
"He knows that Barack Obama is in an auditorium now and the oxygen has been totally sucked out of it."
Ingraham also ridiculed Stewart's upcoming rally in Washington as "derivative to Glenn Beck" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"When Fox News and talk radio host Glenn Beck comes to Washington this weekend to headline a rally intended to 'restore honor' to America, he will test the strength - and potentially expose the weaknesses - of a conservative grass-roots movement that remains an unpredictable force in the country's politics," staffer Amy Gardner argued in the opening paragraph of her August 26 story.
Gardner's article is but one example of the media's skeptical attitude prior to the Beck rally.
Yet just days after two Comedy Central hosts announced mock rallies for October 30 on the Mall, the liberal media are expecting that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can easily draw a large crowd.
I noted the breathless anticipation of Newsweek's Daniel Stone last Friday. Now it seems that Matea Gold of the Washington bureau of the Tribune Company is also decidedly optimistic. In her 13-paragraph article, accessible at LATimes.com, Gold quoted a few folks who plan on attending and took the Facebook RSVPs on face value as a signal about potential attendance:
While it seems like so many of Jon Stewart's adoring fans in the media are elated to see a counter-Tea Party, not many have been willing to call this event what it is - an event to belittle people who are exercising their rights as citizens to protest their government.
"So last week Jon Stewart announced he was going to hold a rally of his own in Washington D.C., to restore reason, sanity or whatever," Gutfeld said. "[N]ow, it's a cute idea - not as good as a gay bar next to a mosque [something Gutfeld had proposed in response to the "Ground Zero Mosque"] - but it's an appropriate, hipster response to the tea parties and Glenn Beck's thing. It's exactly the thing that the bald nerdy guy in glasses from The New York Times subscription commercial might attend and feel totally good about himself afterward - which raises an interesting question: would Stewart have announced his event if those other events had a decidedly liberal tilt?"
Remember when American comedians went after the powerful in an effort to bring them down to earth with the sharp satire of accountability? Today, they appear to only protect the powerful. Well, unless the powerful aren't liberal enough. As things stand now you have the likes of David Letterman and Louis C.K. savaging Sarah Palin's family, SNL terrified to rip Obama with any real zeal, cartoonists proclaiming President Teleprompter too cool to mock, and Will Ferrell films flaking for corrupt public unions, all in an effort to protect the corrupted leftist elitists currently holding power.
It's like we now live in an alternate universe you might call ... North Korea.
In desperate Hail Mary moves to protect Obama and Democrats from what's looking like a November rout, three of the left's most beloved Palace Guards have just upped their game considerably. Bill Maher's now openly blackmailing Delaware Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell, threatening a weekly drip-drip-drip of videos he thinks will ruin her candidacy unless she agrees to appear on his show - which is where he'll really pull out the stops to finally win that Emmy by attempting to destroy her:
Lauding Jon Stewart's biting humor and criticism of today's politicized media, NY Magazine columnist Chris Smith called him "Cronkite, the most trusted man in America" in his piece featured on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday. The show's panel largely agreed with him and emphasized that Stewart is bi-partisan in his comedy.
"The right provides better raw material, but Stewart's complaints are bi-partisan," Smith writes in his column "America is a Joke." On MSNBC, Smith described Stewart as a "comedy opportunist, you know, where people do mockable things – left, right, in-between."
The show's co-host Joe Scarborough joined Smith in diffusing the myth that Stewart is a raging liberal. "Over the past year, he's been every bit as tough on the Obama administration as Republicans on Capitol Hill," he asserted.
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have announced dueling D.C. rallies on October 30 aimed at satirizing the August 28 "Restoring Honor" rally held by rival network Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck.
Newsweek's Daniel Stone is apparently stoked about it, predicting that the gimmick will "absolutely" be a success (emphasis mine):
You’ve got to hand it to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, social critics that they are, for keeping us attuned to the absurdity in our political discourse these days....
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might consider checking out the polls. He's under the impression 100 percent of 9/11 families support building the Ground Zero Mosque at the current planned location.
"The family members, they do care," Bloomberg told "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart Aug. 26. "And the family members that I've talked to - and I'm chairman of the board of the World Trade Center Memorial - 100 percent in favor of saying, ‘These people, if they want to build a mosque, can build a mosque. The lives of our loved ones were taken because the right to build a mosque or say what you want to say was so threatening to people.'"
Even Stewart, who takes Bloomberg's side in supporting the mosque and has mocked opponents in several episodes of the hit comedy news program, couldn't let Bloomberg's exaggeration go unchecked.
"I think the difficulty always is, unfortunately, I'm sure there are veterans who fought over there who feel we shouldn't," Stewart said. "I'm sure there are family members, maybe you haven't heard of them, who feel we shouldn't."
When Joe Scarborough wondered out loud "how many times can you set your hair on fire?" before viewers stop being shocked, you might have thought he was talking about Keith Olbermann, the man whose scenery-chewing soliloquies inspired an instant-classic Saturday Night Live skit.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe took turns ripping Beck's promotion of the rally at the Lincoln Memorial he's staging Saturday on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Riffing off a Colbert Show segment showing clips of Beck, Mika claimed he sounded like a drama student "on crack." Scarborough, suggesting Mika might have gone too far, surmised Beck might merely have taken "stupid pills."