The Daily Show’s Jason Jones mocks journalistic conventions to hilarious effect. But Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are not known for their sense of humor, and let’s just say they didn’t get the joke.
Jones did a series of reports on Iran that aired just after the disputed June 12 elections. They were uproarious but they also did a real journalistic service by presenting a diverse and sometimes surprising view of Iranian society. One of the key people Jones interviewed was Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari.
Soon after the series aired, Bahari was arrested as part of brutal and ongoing crackdown on the media. One day, his interrogators brought fresh evidence that he had spoken with an “American spy.” They inserted his CD in a computer—and played the interview with Jones.
PEN’s Larry Siems and I took advantage of whatever guilty feelings Jones might have had about his role in Bahari’s arrest to get him to interview the journalist as part of PEN’s World Voices Festival. Jones must have felt pretty guilty because he missed his wife’s birthday and his daughter’s ballet recital to do it (he’s married, by the way, to fellow Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee). This interview is really funny and really poignant. And if you hang in to the bitter end, you can watch a brief cameo by me and my daughter Ruby.