A front-page article in Friday's New York Times almost entirely avoided new Daily Show anchor Trevor Noah's history of mocking Jews, Israel and the United States. Yet, the story by Norimitsu Onishi and Dave Itzkoff also tried to justify the attitude. In a single sentence, the writers minimized, "Few if any topics seem too delicate for him to make fun of – for better or worse, as illustrated by a controversy this week over some questionable jokes he made on Twitter about women and Jews."
However, Onishi and Itzkoff rationalized from South Africa:
Born here in 1984, Mr. Noah grew up in the final years of apartheid, when South Africa’s white-minority government became an international pariah, backed by a dwindling number of allies, particularly Israel, its longtime economic partner and arms supplier. To this day, as a result, many blacks, as well as whites who supported the liberation movement, tend to reflexively criticize Israel and support the Palestinian cause.
According to the journalists, Noah's background "was the ultimate license to speak his mind."
Nowhere in the article were there any examples of Noah's jokes about Jews. On Twitter, Noah mocked, "Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man." He has commented on people who "look Jewish" and joked that "blue-eyed people" have a "lower Jew tolerance."
Noah has previously sneered, "South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful." The comic also derided America as having worse race relations than Apartheid South Africa.
On Wednesday, the networks followed the same pattern, minimizing Noah's comments and not getting into specifics.