The United States Embassy in Cairo is dealing with a second round of backlash for tweeting a link to a Daily Show segment criticizing the Egyptian government. After deleting the tweet in an attempt to cover up the mistake, the diplomats must now field a volley of messages accusing them of backing down in the face of a foreign power and generally trying to cover up its mistakes. Diplomacy is hard.
There's no exact science to diplomacy, but even a lay person could have recognized that it was unwise for the Embassy to tweet this Daily Show link. "Criticizing" is actually a gentle word for Stewart's routine. "Ridiculing" is probably more appropriate, and recent history has shown that many folks in the Middle East don't like to see their leaders, religious or otherwise ridiculed. Remember the time somebody posted a YouTube video ridiculing the prophet Mohammed? It almost started a war!
The segment itself is hardly comparable to The Innocence of Muslims. Among other things, Stewart goes after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for detaining and questioning an Egyptian comedian. He also makes the claim that the Jews built the pyramids — even Morsi's fiercest opponents took issue with this claim. For an American audience, the jokes were hardly noticed. For the Egyptians, though, this was a major insult. It even stirred Morsi's official Twitter feed: "It's inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda," tweeted the office of the president on Tuesday.