Al Jazeera America anchor John Seigenthaler visited "The Colbert Report" Tuesday night, and though he surely knew what to expect from a Stephen Colbert interview, this one was particularly brutal — and brutally funny.
Seigenthaler, who spent close to a decade as an anchor for NBC News and MSNBC, joined the newly launched Al Jazeera America earlier this year as the channel's evening news anchor. But Colbert only wanted to ask about the dirt.
"Who got to you and how?" Colbert asked right away. "Who turned you? When were you radicalized?"
Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based forerunner of Al Jazeera America, became a source of controversy during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when its reporting was considered to be anti-American.
Seigenthaler wasn't thrown by Colbert's question, however. In fact, he managed to provide a calm, measured description of the new channel as providing unbiased reporting, sticking just to hard news and facts. No opinion and no celebrity.
"We have no angle," Seigenthaler explained. "It's just the news."
"This is why your ratings are like 10,000 people a night," Colbert responded.
"This is the network where Bin Laden used to send his gloating tapes," Colbert said.
Seigenthaler attmpted to explain how Al Jazeera America is part of the Al Jazeera Media Network, which also includes the original Al Jazeera.
"Which is part of the Al Qaeda Media Network?" Colbert questioned.
Seigenthaler busted that myth — no connection to Al Qaeda — so Colbert changed tactics. He displayed the Al Jazeera logo, a stylized flame.
"That is terrifying," Colbert said. "It not only looks like Arabic, it looks like Arabic on fire."
Somehow, Seigenthaler made it through the interview and defended his employers admirably. You can see the rest below.