On the August 15 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart briefly mentioned comments that, as Media Matters for America has noted, John Gibson and his Fox News Radio show's executive producer made on August 10 and again on August 14, mocking Stewart's emotional on-air reaction after the 9-11 terror attacks as “phony.” On The Daily Show, during an interview with Stephen F. Hayes, author of Cheney: The Untold Story of American's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, (HarperCollins, July 2007) about Hayes' characterization of Vice President Dick Cheney, Stewart said that “there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by ... people in ... very high-level positions. Not fringe people.” Stewart continued: “I myself had some idiot from Fox playing the tape of me after September 11th -- very upset. And them calling me a phony ... because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence.”
Hayes responded: “Look ... I think we can agree that ... we shouldn't be questioning other people's patriotism. On the other hand, I think it's totally legitimate to talk about different ways of handling the war on terror.”
From the August 15 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show:
STEWART: Why didn't 2002/2003, Dick Cheney come out and say to the American people, this is gonna be chaotic. We went in -- the reason we didn't go in before was, we knew the issues. But they didn't. Person after person after person in the administration said, “It's going to be, like, a million dollars --
STEWART: It's gonna take like a week.”
STEWART: These guys -- “Baahh.”
HAYES: I know, I'm not sure --
STEWART: That's, that's --
HAYES: I'm not sure they said that.
STEWART: They came out person after person -- why -- that is the, the essence of, of people's anguish --
STEWART: -- is they feel that they've been --
HAYES: I mean, I'm not sure they said exactly that, but I will say that -- that when I asked him -- when I --
STEWART: I was using hyperbole and also a funny accent. But the essence of their argument was, this isn't going to be a problem.
HAYES: Yeah, when I asked him about that it was interesting because, he did, I mean, as you've pointed out on your show numerous times, he's not somebody who likes to admit mistakes, and one of the things he did say was, we underestimated, obviously, how difficult it was going to be. He also spoke to, to the Coalition Provisional Authority and said that that was not the right way to have handled post-war Iraq.
STEWART: Then stop making the rest of us feel like idiots when we question their strategy in the war on terror. And stop making the rest of us feel like -- and I don't mean you, I mean them.
STEWART: I think that they've gone -- they, they've seemingly gone out of their way to belittle people. You know, he's actually literally come out and said, “If you don't elect us, we might get hit again.” That to me, I -- I can't jibe the portrait you paint of the steadfast leader with the fear-mongering, not-bright guy that I've seen.
HAYES: Yeah, but I mean, no, really -- I mean isn't it that case that, I mean, that's essentially what this debate has been about, the political debate has been about since 2001?
STEAWART: No. They keep saying we don't understand the nature of this war. And critics keep saying, we understand the nature of it. You've been doing it wrong.
HAYES: Right, so why is that -- what's the, what's the quality of difference there?
STEWART: Well, no the, the difference there is, we're not calling them traitors.
HAYES: I don't -- yeah, but I don't think that the administration has called anyone a traitor. When has it happened? I mean, I'm serious. When has that happened? When has that happened?
STEWART: Let me say this. I -- I think that there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by, by people in, in very high-level positions. Not fringe people. You know, I myself had some idiot from Fox playing the tape of me after September 11th -- very upset. And them calling me a phony --
STEWART: -- because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence. So, I, I, I think that that's -- it's a fair point to say --
HAYES: Look, look I think we can agree that, that we shouldn't be questioning other people's patriotism. On the other hand, I think it's totally legitimate to talk about different ways of handling the war on terror --
STEWART: I agree with that.
HAYES: -- and then for them to make their case.
STEWART: If, if they were to make their case on that, I'm saying to you, I think we'd have a fair argument and agreement on how to move forward. They haven't done that, and the evidence that they haven't done that is, he made that case in 1994, he knew those were the problems, and they never brought it up in the run-up to the war.