Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert entertained an estimated 215,000 people at their “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the national mall in Washington, DC this weekend, “poking fun at the nation’s ill-tempered politics, its fear-mongers and doomsayers.” Stewart tried to convey a more serious tone at the rally’s end, saying “we live now in hard times, not end times,” and praised Americans’ inclination to work together, despite differences of opinion.
But despite the rally’s overall light-hearted nature, Fox Newsers didn’t seem to care too much for it. On Fox & Friends yesterday, host Gretchen Carlson seemed uninformed about the rally, asking, “Did they call it the insanity something or other?” The former beauty contestant then mocked Stewart and Colbert saying that, “unfortunately,” many people think they are “news people.” “He looks fancy in his suit, like he is a real news person,” Carlson quipped. The show then highlighted a previous Fox segment from contributor and conservative comedian Steven Crowder, who suggested that the rally had some sort of violent and divisive message:
CROWDER: I definitely would say there were more pockets of animosity here then at any Tea Party. … I had one gentleman actually, ironically enough, smack my camera out of my hand and grab my arm because I didn’t have my Canadian passport. There were people circling the Fox News van saying to blow up the Fox News van we have this all on tape. … If this is designed to restore sanity, it’s based on a divisive concept of referring essentially to all tea partiers as insane. That’s really what they’re saying. So you got a lot of that, a lot of vulgar signs, you know calling them teabaggers.
While Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade acknowledged, “we didn’t see any violence,” he and Steve Doocy “couldn’t believe” that Stewart and Colbert invited peace activist Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) because, according to Doocy, Yusuf “was involved in that Fatwa against Salmon Rusdie.” Sean Hannity expressed similar indignation at Yusuf Islam’s appearance, who Hannity claimed has been “irresponsible for freedom of speech.” Watch it:
Mediaite noted that Yusuf “has repeatedly clarified” his comments about Rushdie in the late 1980s. “I was drawn into making stupid and offensive jokes about Rushdie,” Yusuf said, adding, “They were meant to lighten the moment and raise a smile – as good ol’ British sense of humor occasionally is known to do – unfortunately for me…it didn’t.”
After their colleague Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally, Fox & Friends were quick to note the size of the rally as a sign of its success. But, the same organization that estimated the Rally for Sanity crowd at 215,000 reported that Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in August drew only 87,000.