Two Daily Show bits bear suspicious resemblance to satirical essays I penned years ago
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show for April 27 featured two segments based on satiric concepts I created several years ago. I could use ten million bucks, but I probably won’t sue, as I presume that the show’s writers came up with the ideas on their own. But if they feel guilty about unintentionally ripping me off, maybe we can work something out.
The bits were well done, though they lacked the bite and insight of my originals.
The first bit was called the “Global Political Index,” which tracked the shifting fortunes of various political figures as if they were stocks. Back in 1999, in a piece that first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, I concocted “The Nightly Peoples Report,” which tracked the shifting value of various nationalities in relation to the gold standard, “the American.” It played off the notion that our government and media place wildly differing values on human suffering, based on our govt’s relation to the perpetrators of the suffering. (Sometimes the perpetrators were, in fact, the US govt.)
The second bit announced the merger of Fox News with the Bush White House, playing off the news that Fox’s Tony Snow had just been named White House spokesman and the correct presumption that Fox News functions in many respects as an arm of the Bush administration. Back in 2000, I announced the merger of CBS — that is, the Columbia Broadcasting System — with the government of Colombia. I showed how CBS News in general and Mike Wallace in particular presented a picture of Colombia to U.S. viewers that dovetailed nicely with the propaganda needs of the U.S.-allied Colombian regime. Glaring distortions in CBS coverage would lead the typical viewer to believe that Colombia was most deserving of the massive U.S. military aid being pushed by the Clinton administration. “60 Minutes” portrayed the Colombian army as at war with both leftist guerillas and rightist paramilitary death squads, which was only half true, for it was collaborating with the rightist death squads that, at the time, were responsible for about 70 percent of the politically motivated killings of civilians in Colombia.