The Jon Stewart Show is the favorite of all the shows my wife and I watch. Stewart’s view of life: his determination to reverence the facts, his intense desire to be free of cant or popular falsehoods, his determination to be free of fad, his suspicion of the fashionable and the current, his determination to be truthful, no matter what the cost, make him a special delight for us.
Could anyone have deflated the pompous idiocy of the White House Correspondents Dinner with more deftness, or more skin peeling sarcasm than Stewart? When you have CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer standing there in his tux, facing the TV cameras, saying, “I can’t believe that I am standing here with Jane Fonda," one makes the effort to suppress the urge to puke. (My language is vulgar, I realize, but then, so is Wolfie.)
I know Judith Miller, the disgraced The New York Times journalist. I knew her socially in the 1970s when she was dating Larry Stern, an editor at The Washington Post. We made friends there. Judy is very good looking, a virtue she is very aware of, and which she uses to great effect. Men adored her. We used to have lunch and trade tid-bits but we were simply friends. She was a very hard worker, very ambitious and productive, and I always respected her until the advent of the 2003 war when she like Hillary Clinton, were fed, spoonful by spoonful, the bigoted second hand nonsense originating in the white House --- the allegation that Saddam Hussein was developing WMD. He wasn’t, and had not been since May of 1991, and the “intelligence community” knew it.
The ideal of the journalists with whom I have worked and have respected, is the reverence for facts, especially inconvenient facts. All of us have tendencies, habits, deep rooted beliefs that, if not corrected prevent us from calmly and critically evaluating the information our sources give us. Reporters are a bit like bees that alight on different blossoms until we can come up with a mixture of truthful facts to be used in a story.