The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart sparred with guest Bill O’Reilly Wednesday over the apparent targeting of conservative groups by the IRS and the Department of Justice’s secret subpoenas of AP journalists.
After admitting that it is troubling for the federal government to single out those exercising their First Amendment right to criticize said government, Stewart then reached under his seat to retrieve a rhetorically fallacious gem:
“Just to be lumped in with people based solely on one factor is unfair … It’d be like let’s say somebody committed an act of terror and we took their whole religion and we lumped them all in for special singling out.”
So in other words what? The singling out of conservative organizations and journalists for intimidation at the hands of our own government sworn to protect the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights is the same as profiling Muslims at airports or wherever (marathons perhaps?) because of acts of terror committed in the name of Islam?
First of all, an act of terror is just that: an act of terror. It is a crime against humanity whose target is innocents. Now, of course not all Muslims are terrorists. No one beyond those with a fringe KKK mindset thinks this. But we do know that in these times a disproportionate number of terrorist acts are carried out in the name of Islam.
If you fly, as many of us often do, to whom do you want the TSA with its limited resources to give special scrutiny: a Muslim male between age 18-30, an 85-year-old nun or (as I literally just saw flying from Houston this week) a young girl with a prosthetic leg and burns on her arms because all of the medication and limb accessories in her carry-on baffled the agents?
Even many Muslims I know and with whom I work and socialize would give a grudging nod towards keeping an eye on young Mohammed with his student visa just come back from Yemen vis-à-vis Sister Mary Catherine of the Sacred Heart convent in Duluth, MN.
Terrorism is a crime which we try to prevent as best we can lest more 8-year-old Martin Richards have their innocent lives ended and their families destroyed. We may disagree on how best to combat it, but no one in their right mind argues it should not be thwarted whenever possible.
But simply having a dissenting opinion from the executive branch of the federal government of a free republic–especially when this is codified as a sacred right in our Constitution–is not a crime.
How can Stewart try to deflect the subject matter at hand by constructing a bogus nexus of comparison between using the power of government to intimidate and harass opposition political groups and news organizations to profiling young Muslim males when the vast majority of acts of terror are committed by young Muslim males?
When O’Reilly reminded Stewart that there have been more than 14,600 documented acts of terror committed by fanatical Muslims (I am not sure his source of that to be honest) and thus is more scrutiny perhaps justified, Stewart retorts that by that logic should it not be fair to profile gun owners given gun violence in the USA.
And to think I thought the first argument was inane.
When O’Reilly pressed Stewart to tell him who specifically of the more than 80 million gun-owners in the USA he planned to profile, the comedian quipped “Fox viewers.”
Stewart has the best of both worlds on The Daily Show, as does the intellectually vacuous Bill Maher from his HBO television perch. While Stewart wears his serious pundit hat he can make asinine policy assertions … but when pressed and cornered, he can do the quick-change by donning the comedian hat, diffuse the situation with a smirk and joke and move on. After all, he’s just a comic right?
Unfortunately the abuse of power that is starting to reveal itself through the intentional targeting of freeborn citizens and lawful advocacy organizations by two of the most powerful and intimidating domestic arms of the federal government–the IRS and Justice Department–is no laughing matter. It represents a serious threat to the very fabric of our citizen-government ideal. And it lays bare a dangerous escalation of our ever more vehement political divide in which those in power (the demographics of which favor the Democratic Party) can use the levers of that same power to punish the free exercise of our most basic God-given rights if they happen to not fall into line with leftist dogma.
Stewart to my knowledge has not been on the receiving end of a politically motivate audit or probe. But one cannot help but think that should this have been the Bush administration targeting Comedy Central, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, or whomever, he would not have been smirking quite so much.
It’s hard to laugh when the taxman knocks on your door. And it’s even harder at that point to defend their intrusion with fallacious logic that seeks to demonize the victims to diffuse the blame from an administration headed by a demigod in the eyes of the adoring left.
Big government begets a small citizens, and Obama and his acolytes who populate the executive branch (as well as news rooms and studios coast to coast) are all about bigger government.
There once was a time when the media was the adversary of government. The self-proclaimed watchdogs of the powerful and corrupt. Sam Donaldson often liked to say at a press conference “Hold on Mr. President!” Those days are long gone. Stewart is but the latest example of the weird and unsettling love-fest between a leftist media and leftist president who knows that when it all settles down, he’ll be just fine and just as beloved and protected…if not even more emboldened.
After all, who’s going to call him out? The press? Now that is something to laugh about.