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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stephen Colbert makes a fool of John Mearsheimer

John Mearsheimer, the co-author of The Israel Lobby, made an appearance on Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert show this week, and now may be wishing he hadn't. Critics say that the joke was on Mearsheimer:
"I don't think he did himself any help. He got up there and Colbert basically made a fool of him," said Hadar Susskind, the Washington director for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). The JCPA is described in the book, coauthored by Stephen Walt, as being part of the "Israel Lobby", a loose-knit group of organizations accused of hijacking American policy in the Middle East for the benefit of Israel.

The book attracted controversy before it was even published last month, and pro-Israel advocates have been watching the response as Mearsheimer and Walt give speeches and interviews around the country.

Their appearances have taken them to university campuses, National Public Radio studios and now the Comedy Central cable network. The Colbert Report, like the comedy phenomenon The Daily Show with Jon Stewart which it follows, features a variety of prominent guests and is particularly popular among young, well-educated viewers.

"The Jon Stewart show is the place authors go to sell books. If you can't make it onto Jon Stewart, you go on right after, on Colbert," said one head of a Jewish organization who asked not to be named, acknowledging he was not thrilled about the free publicity Mearsheimer got.

But how problematic that publicity was depends on one's view of whether all publicity is good publicity, he noted. "It was a mixed blessing, because they got free publicity for the book. But they also got Stephen Colbert making fun of them," said the organization head.

"Because he came off poorly, I don't think it did any great damage," Susskind assessed, and said that this a view was shared by several Jewish organizational leaders who corresponded by e-mail after the show.

Anyway, Susskind doubted whether the average American was particularly attentive to the Mearsheimer interview.

"The vast majority of people in this county don't care about him or about his book, and they probably got up to get a beer when he came on," said Susskind.
If they got a beer, they missed Colbert making Mearsheimer look like a fool. Here's the interview. (Hat Tip for better copy of video than I had originally: Israellycool)


At 12:53 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

You can see a clearer video of the interview in my post of earlier this evening.

At 2:11 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

I generally Despise Colbert and his show but this what somewhat amusing. I don't think Mearsheimer looked so much like a fool, I've soon worse. Colbert being a comedian even tore into him a bit, I wonder what O'Reilly or Sean Hannity could do to him. I'd love to see that.

At 2:33 AM, Blogger Abe said...

He only made a fool of him in the same sense that Colbert frequently makes a fool out of all his guests, most of whom know that it is Colbert who's going to be the star of the interview and not themselves.

The only reason one would cheer this particular segment out of all the rest (honestly, compare this to Colbert's treatment of Dinesh D'souza, Rames Ponnuru, and even Harvey C. Mansfield and you'll see it's tamer in comparison) is if one is a Zionist who has an excessive interest in seeing W&M tarnished.


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