Jon Stewart's mocking of UC Davis chancellor touches a nerve
"Daily Show" star Jon Stewart's on-air critique of how the chancellor of UC Davis handled the police pepper spray incident at an Occupy camp last month has touched a nerve with some.
Two UC Davis police officers were placed on administrative leave after the students were sprayed.
On the Monday show, Stewart had a segment on the controversy, showing a clip of Chancellor Linda Katehi apologizing for the police action. Stewart then said in a heavily accented voice, "The chancellor has spoken! An apology has been issued by the chancellor! Now you must return to your homes at once. The chancellor has spoken!" At one point, he put his pen below his nose in an apparent imitation of Adolf Hitler.
"The studio audience continued to crack up, but I cringed. Comparing Katehi to Hitler? That's a bit much," wrote Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Stuart Levenworth in a column this week. "And I cringed even more the second time I saw Monday's show, because by that point I had learned more about Katehi's background."
He went on to note that Katehi's father was Jewish and lived in Greece during the Nazi occupation.
Katehi has said her office told the school's police department that officers needed to be peaceful when removing protesters.
Former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton will head a UC-sponsored investigation into the incident. Bratton is to lead an independent review and report his findings in the coming weeks.
Most of Stewart's video focused on the actions of officers who pepper sprayed the students. He was highly critical of the actions -- and came to the defense of the student protesters.
“Who were those thugs? Who were these thugs being doused with what can only be described as "Jersey Shore" levels of orange spray?” Stewart continues. “They are students. They are students engaged in a nonviolent protest.”