Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Infitada and Balushistran

For the second time Jon Stewart gave quack journalist Seymour Hersh(streaming video) from the New Yorker a platform. This is unfortunate. Both times Hersh spouted rapid-fire loony predictions about global crises. He sounds like Woody Allen playing a conspiracy theorist. Last time he predicted an American attack on Iran. This time he was blurting out nonsense about an Iraqi "Tet Offensive" and a "Battle for Baghdad". He also made the ridiculous claim that the ascension of former Crown Prince Abdullah to the throne of Saudi Arabia was a big deal, because Abdullah would bring on an oil spike since he didn't like the way America was dealing with the Palestinian "infitada" (read inTIFAda), as he put it. Stewart, who is often refreshingly impartial with his barbs, challenged him on that point by pointing out correctly that Abdullah has been holding true power anyway (ever since King Fahd had a stroke). Unfortunately he butchered the Latin language to do it, calling Abdullah the "ipso de facto" ruler. Steward also didn't let his fellow liberal of the hook when Hersh rambled something about "Balushistran" (Don't check your map. You won't find it.). "Now you're just making cities up. Balushistan!" Stewart corrected him. It's actually none of what either of them said. It's Baluchistan, and it's a region.

I am pleased that Stewart didn't let Hersh walk away unmocked. But while it's par-for-the-course that a wooly old mag like the New Yorker would give Hersh a platform, I'd hope an honest, sharp, clever show like the Daily Show would be as hard on Hersh as it is on other hack journalists like Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.


At 1:20 PM, Blogger Saheli said...

Daniel, I agree with you that Hersh's prognostications are usually wrong and he's less valuable as a pundit than he ought to be. But throwing labels out like wooly old mag doesn't change the fact that the New Yorker has the cleanest, clearest record for fact-based reporting and the most serious take on things of any magazine on the west. I actualy detest its literary preeminence, but as political journalism goes, it is the gold standard for fact-checking and accuracy. That's not the same thing as some kind of fake objectivity. It has opinions, but the evidence it offers in justifying those opinions are solid. And Hersh is very good at sticking to the facts in the New Yorker. The man knows his beat. You can disagree with his interpreation, with his attitudes, with his meannness, with his reliance on anonymous sources, but he cannot be dismissed as a quack.


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