Who says Jon Stewart isn't fair and balanced? Although accused of always picking on the political right and constantly blasting Fox News Channel (but let's face it: There's nothing fair and balanced about Fox News Channel, either), he does from time to time take shots at the political left as well. Like Wednesday night (Feb. 6) when he went after the Obama administration for its apparent hypocrisy with regard to transparency.
In a segment labeled "Skygall" (nothing like a 007 pun, you know), Stewart went after the Obama administration's obfuscations when it comes to its very controversial policy of how it conducts its drone strikes, particularly its allowance of killing American citizens. Often touted as effective, especially when it is used to take out al Qaeda's No. 3 guy "for the fifth time," as Stewart put it, the criteria by which the use of drone strikes is fairly ambiguous and very loosely interpreted, something Stewart found troubling.
Like, for instance, when a target is considered an "imminent threat," which was explained in a recently published white paper (from an NBC News investigation) to actually mean just about anything that constituted a supposed threat at any given time.
"So, imminent threat, in other words, is 'imminent or not imminent,'" Stewart said snarkily.
Stewart juxtaposed the lack of clarity in the Obama administration's controversial policies with the lack of transparency offered by the Bush administration. The late night comedian found that there was hypocrisy in the way policies were viewed. To emphasize the point, Stewart showed a clip of David Axelrod and his justification of releasing the Bush administration's so-called "torture memos" to jab at Bush and their non-transparency.
But when the shoe was to be applied to the other foot, it certainly was no glass slipper...
Stewart summed up the Obama administration's thinking thus: "So we don't mind you knowing about [expletive] we do — when we don't do it anymore. We're happy to share irrelevant information with the public. We told you we were going to be transparent — we just didn't tell you it was going to be about the last guy's secrets."
Was the comedian being fair? You bet. One of Obama's central tenets during his run for the presidency in 2008 was a commitment to increased transparency in government. But it now appears that the commitment has been reassessed to mean that the transparency of the Obama administration will be left to his successor.