Jim Wallis and Jon Stewart get it right …

Jim Wallis is one of the most talented interviewees I’ve ever known. He knows how to get substance, not just spin, into a sound byte, and he has an amazing ability to think on his feet. His recent interview with Jon Stewart (you can read it here after registering for ree) shows he’s good on the other side of the desk – asking questions instead of answering them – and it shows Stewart can play the interview table from both sides as well.
I read the transcript of the interview while flying over Angola on the way home from South Africa. I had spent a few hours talking with some Congolese friends earlier in the day about the situation in East Africa. My friends told me their shock and disappointment over how the American media cover Africa.
They asked me a lot of questions I couldn’t answer. Why does the media seem to believe everything the Rwandan government says, and why don’t they peer beneath they shiny appearances (for example, see this) to some of the more shady realities? Why don’t they cover the incursions and interferences of Rwanda and Uganda in the Congo? Why don’t they investigate the East African Mafia that coordinates corruption and exploitation among Uganda, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo? Why haven’t any journalists investigated the killing fields in Eastern Congo – where mass graves of Hutu bones serve as icons of retaliation after the genocide of Tutsis in 1994? Is there a U.S. military base in Southern Rwanda – and why do nearly all Rwandans seem to know there is, but almost no Americans do? Why aren’t journalists talking about the “dirty Coltan” extracted by near slave-labor in Congo which is part of all of our cell phones – no less a tragedy than the “dirty diamonds” that grace many fingers and necks?
Those aren’t funny questions, but Jim’s interview with Stewart reminds us that news media have a really important role to fulfill … even when they make us groan and laugh (often and intentionally on Comedy Central, and equally often though unintentionally on some other cable channels).
So when will Jim interview Stephen Colbert?