Late Night: Jon Stewart on 'All-American Muslim' controversy
The decision by home-improvement chain Lowe's to cave to a Christian fundamentalist group and withdraw its advertising from the TLC series "All-American Muslim" has ignited a firestorm of controversy -- the very thing the retail giant was supposedly trying to avoid in the first place.
On Tuesday's episode of "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart weighed in on issue. He began with an observation about the sensationalistic, sideshow nature of much of the programming on TLC, a network once known as The Learning Channel. As Stewart pointed out, the only thing a viewer is likely to learn on TLC these days is "what it might be like to have eight children, 17 children or 19 children."
"Sometimes the Learning Channel slips up and creates programming that not only isn't educational, but is downright offensive," Stewart said, cutting to a clip of Fox's Megyn Kelly explaining the supposed controversy over "All-American Muslim."
Stewart reasoned that, based on the outrage, the show must be "jihadi propaganda." But the clip he played, in which a young Muslim father-to-be discusses his wife's pregnancy, was more than benign; it was banal.
"Seriously, that wouldn't have been interesting to hear even if that guy was building a bomb as he was talking," Stewart joked. "That's the most boring reality show imaginable. It seems to just show Muslims living our lives like the rest of us ... idiots."
So why did the Florida Family Assn. have such a problem with the show?
As the organization's executive director, David Caton, explained, "It's the absence of the radical side of the imam's proposition of sharia law that is most concerning."
Stewart was baffled. "Why would you be upset to learn that there are non-jihadi Muslims?" Caton claimed that the show was an affront to his "belief system," but Stewart argued that's what educational programming is meant to do. "I don't like the show 'Nova' because it is harmful to my belief structure that the ocean tides are controlled by monsters," he joked.
Caton's real objection to the show, Stewart claimed, was that it challenged his false stereotype about Muslim Americans. But "All-American Muslim" isn't the only TLC show to challenge negative stereotypes. "I am also troubled that no one on your show 'Little People, Big World' whistles while they work, or makes candy for Willy Wonka," he said.