September 17, 2008

Blair Set to Appear on ‘The Daily Show’

By Tim Walker

He was friend to the stars, the people's politician and - clutching his trusty mug of tea - the king of the soft-sofa interview. Tony Blair will return to television screens tomorrow night with a bang, appearing on America's favourite fake news programme, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Mr Blair will be interviewed by Jon Stewart, the man recently described by The New York Times as the most trusted man in the American media.

Despite the comic bent of The Daily Show's reporting, its producers have proved to be remarkably incisive jokers, keeping a close eye on the often ridiculous machinations of American politicians and the press corps that covers them.

Stewart's satirical programme has become so influential in the United States that many viewers claim it is their first port of call for news coverage. He has interviewed five former or current heads of state, among them Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, and the former Mexican president Vicente Fox. In September 2006, Pervez Musharraf, then president of Pakistan, was the first sitting head of state to appear on the far side of Stewart's expansive desk.

Mr Blair's appearance comes the day before he is due to begin teaching a course in "Faith and Globalisation" at Yale University. "He thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about the course, given the demographics of The Daily Show's audience," said the former prime minister's political director, Matthew Doyle, yesterday. Mr Blair is apparently looking forward to his first meeting with Stewart.

The Daily Show is also an important stop on the campaign trail, with almost all the major candidates in this year's US presidential race making time for Stewart.

The show will air on More4 at 8.30pm on Friday.

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