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The Cable

5 Foreign-Policy Interviews That Will Most Make Us Miss Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart is ending a strong run of foreign-policy interviews.


Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show August 6, and, unfortunately, he’s ending a long, 17-year run of hard-hitting interviews on foreign affairs.

But thankfully, the Internet never forgets, so his best moments are available for revisiting. Some of these are surreal, some of them are moving, and all of them are funny. We’ve listed five of our favorites below.

Interview with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

The July 19, 2011, segment started innocently enough; the two sipped Gatorade and exchanged uncomfortable pleasantries. Stewart then asked Musharraf about a previous appearance, where the former Pakistani president denied knowing where Osama bin Laden was hiding. Given that al Qaeda’s leader had recently been killed in Pakistan, the rest of the interview is awkward, to say the least.

The Jason Jones segment in Tehran that inadvertently got Maziar Bahari imprisoned

In June 2009, Canadian-Iranian journalist, playwright, and documentary filmmaker Maziar Bahari was among hundreds arrested in Tehran after disputed Iranian elections. Not long before he was imprisoned, Bahari did an interview with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, who was there filming satirical preelection pieces called “Behind the Veil.” While in jail, Bahari received harsh questioning about Jones, whom Iranian authorities had labeled a spy. Stewart later wrote and directed Rosewater, a movie based on Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came for Me.

His moving interview with Malala Yousafzai

In an Oct. 8, 2013, segment, Stewart was clearly moved when he spoke with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who had survived being shot by the Taliban and who would go on to be the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. When he asked what she would do if attacked again by a Taliban gunman, her response brought down the house.

“I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well,” the Pakistani girl said. “That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”

In response, Stewart asked, “I know your father is backstage and he is very proud of you, but would he be mad if I adopted you?”

Stewart squares off with Sen. John McCain

The Arizona Republican was a frequent guest on the show, and their exchanges about the Iraq War often grew testy. Neither backed down, but in most, there appeared to be begrudging respect on both sides of Stewart’s famous anchor desk.

Perhaps their best known exchange took place on April 24, 2007, when an argument about U.S. policy in Iraq turned into one about support for American troops.

“All I’m saying is you cannot look a soldier in the eye and say questioning the president is less supportive to you than extending your tour for three months when you should be coming home to your family,” Stewart said, as McCain tried and failed to interject.

Stewart takes on CNBC and Jim Cramer

In 2009, the world was still reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. As the global economy reeled, Stewart took aim at CNBC’s Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money. He accused Cramer and CNBC of being dishonest stock market bulls at a time when many had just watched their life savings disappear because of bad bets by big banks.

Cramer eventually agreed to come on the show, on March 12, 2009. The boisterous host, whose trademark style is to run around the studio blasting horns while waving his arms, sat fidgeting behind the desk as Stewart took him and his network down.

“So maybe we could remove the financial expert from the Cramer we trust and start getting back to the fundamentals of reporting as well, and I can go back to making fart noises and funny faces,” Stewart said.

Cramer knew he had little chance to avoid embarrassment as soon as the segment began.

“I realized Stewart was on a mission to make me look like a clown. I didn’t defend myself because I wasn’t prepared,” the host said in 2011.

Photo credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images

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