The Daily Show retained its focus on the late Nelson Mandela last night, skewering the media's reaction to a mundane and entirely meaningless handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz at the South African president's memorial service.
"The passing of Nelson Mandela left a message for the world," Jon Stewart wisely intoned. The message, though, was that "no act is too petty for America's news media to blow completely out of proportion." Case in point: outraged reactions to the handshake seen around the world.
The memorial was honoring "a man whose legacy is that he forgave and embraced his foes and tormentors," Stewart reminded his audience. Yet the media can't believe the president "had the audacity to greet another world leader with a gesture so meaningless, you can train a basset hound to do it. What the f-- is wrong with us?"
Senator John McCain was especially alarmed by the act, saying, "Why should you shake hands with someone who's keeping Americans in prison?" McCain went on to point out that Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler:
Reprising his Sound of Music-inspired chorus, Stewart again deflated a ludicrous political analogy by shouting from the hilltops, "Raul Castro is not Adolf Hitler!" In fact, he's not even Fidel Castro. "He's like Cuba's Jim Belushi," Stewart quipped. And anyway, he had a better retort to McCain: a photo of the senator shaking hands with Muammar Gaddafi:
"The point is, the president behaved himself just fine," Stewart concluded. Then he saw Obama's selfie. "Alright," he conceded. "That's kind of f--ed up."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.