(editor's note: this column was incorrectly attributed to Jonah Goldberg this morning.)
It is next to impossible for a guest not to enjoy himself while participating in an interview on the "Fox and Friends" morning television talk show. (Janeane Garofalo, who seemed intent on character immolation by spewing personal invectives against the president the day she was on, proves the exception to the rule.)
The three hosts (E.D. Hill, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade) look for the soft, entertaining angle on the hard news stories of the day. They pitch softballs to conservatives or banter harmlessly with liberals. They want laughs, not blood.
So it's in that vein that last week I went on the show and joked, and laughed -- and blew it.
The topic invited humor. Last week, it was reported that former Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed Al-Sahaf -- the so-called Baghdad Bob -- had been captured. Baghdad Bob had a rich, if short-lived, career in the pantheon of American culture. This was the fellow who, no matter what reality was dictating on the field of battle, could stand before the world's cameras and microphones and launch one Mother of All Deceptions (MOAD) after another.
A favorite of the late-night comedians, Baghdad Bob was grist for David Letterman the night of his alleged capture. Letterman's "Top 10 Things the Iraqi Information Minister Has Admitted Since Being Captured" was ruthlessly funny. No. 10: "OK, Iraq didn't win the war. It was a tie." No. 6: "Dr. Germ looks really hot when she's synthesizing VX gas." No. 2: "I've been offered a job as editor of The New York Times."
What hosts E.D. Hill and Brian Kilmeade wanted to know was this: Is it right that we be laughing at this fellow? My answer was rhetorical: How can we not laugh at him? This is the man who said on worldwide television, "There's no presence of American infidels in Baghdad. They're going to surrender or be burned in their tanks" -- at the very moment American troops were rolling down the main streets of that city. After coalition forces took control of the airport, Baghdad Bob proclaimed, "They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie, a lie. It is a Hollywood movie. You do not believe them."
Perhaps his best MOAD of the war was this: "Lying is forbidden in Iraq.
President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness, and he is a man of great honor and integrity."
So I ask again: How could one not help but laugh at this idiot?