The Daily Show host Jon Stewart finished up a two-part series of interviews on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor last night, and it made for some great, laugh-trackless watching as the two sparred over Iran, climate change, Khaled Sheik Mohammed does New York, and Sarah Palin.
O’Reilly starts off the interview under the premise that he’s vetting Stewart as a presidential running mate, opening a dialogue about climate change before the conversation turns to Iran. Stewart, thanking Fox News for “racheting up the fear” on the issue of Iran, calmly and consisely downplays fears of Iranian nuclear proliferation, and points out that overthrowing governments to stop tiny terrorist cells from attacking is a misguided strategy. As much as I love O’Reilly too, and I do- it’s really striking how Stewart knocks down all the Fox News talking points like so many straw men. O’Reilly’s gracious about the whole thing, trading barbs with Stewart in the way most New Yorkers knock each other in casual conversation, but Stewart really gets bitchy at points. He’s mostly right, though, so he gets away with it.
O’Reilly moves on to Khaled Sheik Mohammed and whether the 9/11 trials should be located in downtown Manhattan. O’Reilly cites the expense, to which Stewart replies that he’s glad O’Reilly’s “suddenly concerned about cost.” Stewart veers over towards the massive expense of the Iraq war (and ostensibly, the relatively minor worth of the invasion), and O’Reilly gamely apologizes for his earlier warmongering and the whole WMD thing. Back on KSM, Stewart dismisses concerns that the trial exposes NYC to a larger terrorist threat. The interview finishes up on the issue of Sarah Palin, and whether TDS has been unfair to Palin since her rise to notoriety. Instead of making an obvious joke, Stewart calls her out on her insistence that there are two Americas- her ‘real’ one and the rest of us, adroitly pointing out in a few words what it is that makes Palin a target for her many detractors. The video below is part two of the Stewart-O’Reilly showdown in its entirety.
On his own show last night, Stewart ragged on blogs a bit for their hyperbolic headlines in a segment called, “The Blogs Must Be Crazy.”