Yes, the source material The Daily Show used from Fox News is real. Here is the original Fox News broadcast on Youtube:
It is a discussion with Fox News Chief Carl Cameron and Bill O’Reilly (Daily Show quotes begin at about 40 seconds)
It’s a bit insane that Bill O’Reilly would try to defend a Vice Presidential candidate that, to his knowledge, could not name all of the countries in North America. O’Reilly said (starting at 1:53 in the video) “You can tutor people and you can get people up to speed on the basics… here’s the government, here’s the exceptionalism that we’re talking about, here’s the world map…”
Umm, he’s trying to defend a VP candidate that, to his knowledge, doesn’t know how many countries are in North America. I’m sorry, that’s just not defensible. It’s fine to challenge the veracity of the claim but, I’m sorry, if it’s true that she can’t name the countries are in North America (that would be, the US, Canada and Mexico), then she shouldn’t be defended. So why is he defending her in this situation? That’s the question.
Note that I’m critisizing a couple things here: First, that Palin isn’t qualified (which might not be the case, the claims of her lack of knowledge isn’t entirely proven). Second, that O’Reilly would use the defense that he did, saying that it’s OK if she didn’t have the knowledge. And then of course there’s the whole media cover-up which was humorously hightlighted by the Daily Show.
Jon Stewart, “Why are we just hearing about this now?”
Fox News Chief Carl Cameron, “Well, I wish I could have told you back at the time but all of it was put off the record until after the election.”
Yipe. That’s not very Fair or Balanced.
Update 11-14-08: Some/most/all? of the digging of Palin are unfounded. The leaks about Palin not knowing about Africa and possibly other items were faked by a person going by the name of Martin Eisenstadt. Google for him and his issues. My commentary about O’Reilly and Fox News stand firm.