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About (Late) Last Night: Jon Stewart argues for release of Bin Laden death photos


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On Wednesday night, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart voices his support for releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's body -- something that President Obama has vowed not to do.

But unlike many other commentators, Stewart does not belief the photos should be published in order to pacify the conspiracy theorists.  "A photo will end the speculation, just like the Zapruder film put a rest to all that JFK business," he said sarcastically.

Stewart was also skeptical of concerns about how "gruesome" the photo is, given the violence that is an everyday part of our popular culture. "Too gory ... yeah ... have you met us? From 8 p.m. on, every show on television that we watch begins with an internal tracking shot of a gaping wound above someone's eye, pulling out to reveal half a hooker in a dumpster discovered by a child on a bicycle. You know what we call it? 'Prime time.'"

He also questions the idea that the picture -- or, as he calls it, "the headshot of Osama's head shot" -- might inflame animosity in the Muslim world. The extremists already hate the United States, he said, and what's more, they see violent images on a regular basis.

"I don't know if you know this, but the Muslim world sees pretty graphic images of the people we kill, accidentally or on purpose, all the time. Jarring, huh?" he asked, cutting to some explicit Al Jazeera footage. "Sometimes they don't even have to see it on TV. It's just out the window."

Stewart declared that the best reason for releasing the pictures is that "we can only make decisions about war if we see what war actually is." If anything, the American people are far too insulated from images of war and suffering. "Thousands of U.S. deaths, tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis have died, and we've seen nearly zero photographic evidence of it," he said. "Remember how long the media had to fight to show military coffins returning from overseas? You probably don't remember because you saw pictures the day they won the fight and not since. Maybe we should always show pictures."

In recent years, Stewart has blurred the line between pundit and satirist, regularly striking a more serious tone on "The Daily Show," as he did Wednesday night. Stewart did, however, end on a lighter note. He joked that in order to keep the photo a secret, "[The White House] was going to air-drop it into an affluent Pakistani suburb, so it won't be found for years."

So, do you agree with Stewart?

-- Meredith Blake


Comments () | Archives (6)

Agreed 100%.

In addition I think that it would give the long suffering American's a great deal of satisfaction to see clearly his wounds. Our wounds are still deep, and will never fully heal.

The gruesome image of a man hanging from a cross with bloody nails through his hands and feet and a gaping wound in his side is the image that propelled a small cult of followers into the most powerful religion on earth.
This bloody image is proudly displayed in every church, worn around their necks, rests atop every grave.
For 2000 years It was the rallying symbol that has emboldened his followers to sacrifice all...even their lives...for the savior who "died on the cross to save mankind".

Let's not let Osama Ben Ladins follower remember him as a bloodied martyr who sacrificed his life for their noble cause at the hands of the infidels.

Let them remember their commander-in-chief as the frightened man who hid out in a walled compound surrounded by barbed wire for 5 years....fearing to wander beyond its walls, burning his garbage to escape detection, afraid that a phone and internet connection would reveal his whereabouts. Let them remember him as a scared rat holed up in a resort town in Pakistan drinking Pepsi under the hot sun.

Publish the photos of his bloody body...and that erases all the other images the world has of this terrorists.

okay... seriously, I usually agree with Stewart, but here he is just wrong... Obviously the photos will get out (or be leaked out) at some point in the near future. But for the White House to release them, it would have the appearance of "parading" a grotesque image of a corpse as a "trophy of war"... The White House knows they will inevitably leak out, but that is a far cry from issuing the images in an official White House news release. Regardless of the supposed "justifications" for releasing the image, if there is even the slightest, remote chance it could endanger even one single soldier, then by all means, don't release it. Can you imagine the outcry if the President were to release the image and there was subsequent attack on our soldiers (even if that attack was only tangentially related to the publication of the photo)?

Yes Stewart is a genius we should be shown images all the time. We the public have never seen eveidence so how we should believe what the president tells us what's happening is actually happening. For all we know.,The president could be lying too us.

NO, the photo should not be shown because:

1) He's been dead for a long time according to a former white house honcho with serious cred, Dr. Steve Pieczenik [MD and PhD] who worked for four US gov'ts. He's willing to name the general who told him the circumstances of OBL's death.
2) The photos are fake and photoshop wizards can take apart their layers
3) The Stasi that now calls itself the US gov't can legitimately say "But we didn't want to show that foto and now look what's happened!'....as they unleash their next crisis of biological or environmental disaster that will occur in 'retribution' for the showing of the photo. This plan has that wily cunning that evildoers do so well.

This has been engineered so that the public will have "brought upon themselves" the plan that the CIA, Bilderbergs, etc have had in mind all along.

Start demanding that the photo NOT be shown-- and then see which officials believe it's their duty to leak the photo to The People. It HAS to be shown or the next part of the plan can't happen. And it will be shown, in all its hours-of-photoshoppery glory. Body buried at sea? I'll tell you what sleeps with the fishes -- the truth.

His point on the "gruesomeness" of the image is exactly what i thought too. we've seen many gruesome images daily on tv highest rated shows (kind of sad that these shows have turn death into entertainment), they have desensitized us somewhat. since most of us don't know Bin Laden personally, the image of his dead body probably is just another dead body on the screen.


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