Jon Stewart Dismisses FOX’s Good Point on Drones

The Daily Show Fails to Critique Drone Use

The usually smart and sophisticated Jon Stewart was quite a disappointment this past Wednesday. On his episode of The Daily Show, Stewart’s antics trivialized the widespread and controversial U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.  

Stewart typically covers serious matters with a clever concoction of humor and criticism. But he failed last week when he used the majority of his segment on drones to simply attack FOX’s coverage — which was actually making a good point. Stewart ran a clip of FOX’s Megyn Kelly reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency has been using drones to spy on cattle farmers in the Midwest.

She said, “Now you’re in the Midwest, and you know you’re not a terrorist, but nonetheless you gotta get a little squeamish when you see a drone going overhead.”

I would.

Stewart, however, goes on to explain how some drones have “peaceful domestic applications as well” and how these drones are used to monitor farms to make sure “they’re not dumping cow shit in our drinking water.” Stewart insinuates that Kelly is crazy for associating these two different types of drones. “Unless the EPA has hell-fire missiles on their drones!” Stewart exclaims. Otherwise, he asks, “Who in their right mind would even make that connection?”

Yet, the connection is rather easy to make. They are both used as a means of surveillance and control. Drones used for militaristic and domestic purposes are also made by the same corporations, which again fuels our military-industrial complex. Kelly, in fact, is making an interesting comment on the militarization of our everyday lives. We already normalize war, the military and violence — why is Stewart advocating that we normalize drones flying over our heads?

Of course, despite the connection and Kelly’s valid point, there is a difference between missile drones that take the lives of civilians and those that monitor farmers. So Stewart, if you’re going to call the connection and Kelly’s thoughts crazy, at least mention that missile drones kill civilians. Perhaps that is Stewart’s biggest crime with the segment — he completely misses the opportunity to discuss the drones’ consequences.

Sadly, the only drone critique viewers received was during the clips Stewart showed of Kelly, where she explains that Obama has killed more terrorists with drones than any other president, that he has a ‘kill list’ and that “on that kill list, sometimes civilian casualties go as well.”

As Stewart failed to critique drones and even normalized their domestic use, the fierce debate concerning the legality and morality of drones is on the rise. In fact, last Thursday, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that drones may not comply with international law and the civilian deaths they cause are human rights violations.

I know The Daily Show is a comedy show, but let’s keep the comedy smart. Stephen Colbert’s recent drone coverage is noteworthy. It critiques the drones, our “War on Terror” and Obama’s actions, all while remaining hilarious.

AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa

Posted at June 11, 2012, 1:05pm