Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jon Stewart Mid East guests, the wrong criticism.

I do not wish to challenge CAMERA’s impressive record in monitoring media bias and inaccuracies regarding Israel and the Middle East conflict. However, Steven Stotsky criticism of Jon Stewart hosting Anna Baltzer and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on ‘The Daily Show’ of October the 28th, is simply wrong. While I do share Stotsky’s outrage over the poisonous lies the two guests spread throughout the interview and like him I can point out their murderous intentions towards the Israeli population I see no reason why this outrage should spillover to ‘The Daily Show’ and its staff.
Throughout the years this show had maintained successfully a delicate balance, on one hand expressing unapologetically left wing liberal American views (not necessarily extremists), while hosting guests from a variety of political views, including the far right, such as Pat Buchanan and others. And each guest was given the same amount of respect, where he or she were given the time to express their views even when disagreements were prime. Regarding the Israeli Palestinian conflict the people behind the show took the neutral position, especially when interviewing guests, putting their own views aside.
These are all legitimate professional decisions, which should be respected. Along with the ability to make people laugh, even from things they disagreed with, they gave ‘The Daily Show’ its success and credibility. Deviating from them would have been bias in its ugliest form; the kind Israel is expose to from the more serious media outlets.
With guests like Anna Baltzer and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti this record was undoubtedly challenged to its maximum, and Jon Stewart did indeed handle it with care, trying to find a common ground with his guests on one hand (a common ground for Israelis and Palestinians), and allowing members of the audience to vent their emotions on the other hand. While these two were clearly there to spread lies and hate, ethics demands they should be given a stage, because the same ethics, when practiced gives us a stage:

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