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Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Dangerous quote of the night

Rounding up the day's "bad news" which were the lead-in to how absurd it was that George Bush chose to prioritize proposing to ban gay marriage, Jon Stewart came out tonight with this:
"Iran continues to rattle its nuclear saber."
Now some are going to say, he's just a comedian, or the Daily Show is just "fake news." But that misses the point. The sentence about Iran followed a perfectly truthful statement about Iraq ("dozens were killed in Iraq today" or something like that), and weren't intended as humor in any way, merely as part of a set-up. And the fact is that Stewart's Daily Show is a very influential show, and that, just listening to that one sentence, tens or hundreds of thousands of people internalize just a little bit (if not a whole lot) an out-and-out lie about Iran -- not only that they are developing nuclear weapons, but that they are threatening the world with them. Even if you believe that Iran is embarked on a program of developing nuclear weapons, which I don't, they certainly aren't "rattling" any "nuclear sabers." If they are, they sure have a funny way of doing it, by denying they even want nuclear weapons.

Is this a minor matter? Absolutely not. Because the more Americans are conditioned to think that Iran is "threatening," the more willing they are to endorse whatever hostile measures the U.S. government tries to implement, which in turn makes the implementation of those measures -- sanctions, bombing, or whatever -- just that much more likely.

Does Jon Stewart see himself as a warmonger? Probably not. But with remarks like this, he most certainly is.

Update: Danny Schechter makes nearly the same mistake, with this today on his "News Dissector" blog: "Iran’s 'hard line' may have been a negotiating strategy -- not really a threat." A "threat"? What part of "we have no intention of developing nuclear weapons" constitutes a threat, exactly?

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