I offer for your comparison the two TV talkers pictured above.  On the left, we have Jon Stewart, the unlikely champion of disseminating news and information to the masses in the most accessible way possible!  On the right, a blowhard propagandist on the cable network bought and paid for by the Republican Party who wouldn’t know a fact if it bit him on the ass.

Last night, we heard the news that Jon Stewart would be taking a 12-week hiatus from The Daily Show this summer to direct his first film… and it’s not a comedy!

To understand the story behind the film, we go back to a bit on the show that aired June 29, 2009.

The second of the three people interviewed in that bit was Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born Newsweek correspondent.  It’s his story of being arrested in Iran, perhaps stemming – at least partially – from that  brief interview!

After Bahari was released from the Iranian prison, he returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak.


The New York Times reports:

Mr. Bahari’s ordeal is familiar to “The Daily Show” fans — in fact, the comedy program played a role in it.

A Canadian-Iranian journalist and documentarian, Mr. Bahari was jailed in Tehran in 2009 for four months, accused of plotting a revolution against the government. Shortly before his arrest, Mr. Bahari had participated in a “Daily Show” sketch, conducted by one of the show’s correspondents, Jason Jones, who was pretending to be a spy. Mr. Bahari’s captors used the footage against him.

“You can imagine how upset we were,” Mr. Stewart said, “and I struck up a friendship with him afterward.”

Mr. Stewart said he eventually read Mr. Bahari’s book and “because I’m naïve about the movie business” started to think about a film. He said he did not intend to also adapt the screenplay. “It just kind of happened,” he said.

On why he decided to step out of his comfort zone and make this movie,

“One of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves,” Mr. Stewart said, “and I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”

Quite a difference from the guy on the other side of that picture.  Bill O’Reilly had fellow Fox host Alan Colmes on his show last night and got incensed when Colmes challenged the bold faced lies O’Reilly was spewing.

 Media Matters did the homework:


Colmes is correct: Obama has proposed $400 billion in cuts to federal health spending, which includes a $140 billion reduction in “payments to drug companies” and a $25 billion reduction for Medicaid and affiliated programs:

pres obama plan

But O’Reilly wouldn’t hear it.

That’s the difference between class and class-less.  John Amato of Crooks and Liars joined me in the final minutes of today’s show to talk about this episode and another head scratchet — the “debate” between Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman and TV hack Joe Scarborough on the usually wonderful Charlie Rose Show.

Today on the show, I spoke with The Nation‘s Ari Berman who was in the Supreme Court last week when the court heard the challenge to the Voting Rights Act.    Prior to the hearing, he asked “Why is the Voting Rights Act on the Chopping Block?“.  Tomorrow, his post-hearing story will go up.

And it’s Women’s Wednesday!  Amy Simon of She’s History brings us some fabulous female facts every Wednesday morning.  Today, of course, is the first Wednesday in March – Women’s History Month!  She told us how this month-long celebration came about, and also shared the wonderfulness of  the new documentary Makers: Women Who Make America  (that you can watch right at that link).