Jon Stewart, the soon to be erstwhile host of "The Daily Show," got around to addressing those "secret White House" visits in considerable detail on Wednesday's program in an opening segment titled "When Barry Met Silly." He had already addressed them on Tuesday's "Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore," but -- determining there was more gold in them hills -- went at it again Wednesday night.
(Check it out at thedailyshow.com -- my retelling doesn't begin to do it justice -- but there are some vulgar words, and our policy is to not post clips with vulgarities, even when bleeped. Or, if you are accessing this post via mobile platforms, go to "The Daily Show" website -- it's all there.)
Comically, of course, Fox News takes the brunt of this whole thing.
The headlines, such as they are:
...These "meetings," first reported in Politico, were never "secret" because they had been posted, for all eyes to see, in the president's log, with Stewart adding that "just because you didn't know about it doesn't make them secret."
...That the president upbraided him, mildly, for turning young Americans into cynics, and that policy conversations didn't happen.
...That as Fox News otherwise suggested, the president did not actually consult him about the massing of troops on the Ukrainian border -- Fox's evidence of which was a Stewart dig at Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a subsequent evening's program). Stewart then replayed about a dozen other Vladimir Putin digs from prior years, thus indicating that Putin has been a favored target for quite a while (as regular viewers will attest).
...That he's gotten dozens of meetings invitations from various powerful individuals over the years, including -- yes! -- "Billy Joel." The upshot of these meetings was typically for the invitee to tell Stewart that he is a jerk.
...That he also once had a "secret" meeting with Fox News chief Roger Ailes -- cue to clip of Bergman's "Seventh Seal," with Death stalking Antonius Block while saying, in effect, "I have come for you." Stewart then claimed Ailes had told him, upon exiting the long-ago "secret" meeting, that "this [meeting] ... never happened ..." I'm pretty certain news of the Ailes meet did hit the press at the time, or at least not long after. I'm also pretty certain Ailes never offered a job -- perhaps he just likes to keep his enemies close.
...Finally, Politico got zetzed, too, because it misspelled the name of "TDS" executive producer Steve Bodow as one "Scott Budow." Who then is this "Scott Budow," Stewart wondered. The Santa Barbara-based manager of the Tri-County Auto Glass Company. Hmmm.
Meanwhile, here is the original Politico story which is quite good, and thorough, and hardly deserves the fry cook treatment it got Wednesday. But as Politico has now learned, along with so many other "TDS" targets over the years, what really matters most is the punchline. When you wander into the joke -- intentionally or not -- it's next to impossible to wander out.