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This blog post illustrated my difficulty with "The Daily Show." It's a fake news show and it's a comedy show. They're upfront about this, and when you watch it with that in mind, it's a great show.

(Except when Jon Stewart does any kind of a funny voice. Which is, like, every other line he delivers. Actually, almost any time Stewart tries to be funny, it's absolute death. He should be like Leslie Nielsen in "Airplane." Just read the funny lines and Do. Not. Act.)

But they keep twisting themselves into something uncannily like a serious, editorial-driven program. Jon Stewart doesn't interview poltical and business leaders because he thinks it'll be a funny segment, does he? And several pieces are heartfelt and earnest and seem to want to shed light on an important issue. Despite their protests, they really do want to be taken seriously from time to time.

It's an awkward transition and I don't think they care enough about how much they blur the lines between editorial and comedy. When it turns out that they told a story that wasn't really factual, accurate, and oversimplified the issue to such a degree to make their comments almost irrelevent, they offer the same defense: "Hey! We're just a lame, basic-cable comedy show!"

It's made them soft. It's made many of their segments frustrating to watch. And in many cases, it's made them irresponsible.

I don't know what the solution to this problem is. If this iOS developer's story is true, it's a sign that the show should (at minimum) draw a sharp line between how they treat politicians and celebrities, and how they treat "civilians." When a boxer climbs into the ring, he's prepared to get punched. This story -- again, assuming that the developer is being completely honest -- looks more like a mugging.

I'd like to chalk this developer's experience up to "Hey, you knew it was The Daily Show...you should have known that they were probably lining you up as a target." But jeez, I myself often get those kind of phone calls from producers. I'm sympathetic. I'm thinking about an email I got last month asking me to participate in something for the Science Channel. I spent about 45 minutes being interviewed about 1930's technology.

What if they'd kept me there for four hours and then, while I was exhausted and talked-out and not at the top of my game, they hit me with the real reason for bringing me down there: my neighbor thinks I'm some sort of nutjob and is there to confront me with video of me taking pictures of squirrels in my backyard?
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33 comments
 
Kinda like "Mad Magazine" back in the 1960s.
 
I just checked, this game has one add-on that's 13.99, one that's 9.99, and a bunch that are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 dollars each. This guy deserved what he got.
 
Nutjob. Great title for the video about the guy taking pictures of squirrels!
Link appears to be broken. SOPA?
 
A $99.99 in-app purchase is over the top! That's why the developer was dragged over the coals. The amount has changed since the story aired.

Perhaps bad parenting could come into it to? Why did the parent tell his YOUNG children the password to his account? The kids can't have a credit card so who's to blame?
 
I've never really liked the Daily Show because the way they present their opinions it seems to say, "If you don't agree with us, you are a moron." It feels creepy and dishonest, even when I do agree with their viewpoint.
 
+Tariq Hasnie I agree. It's both the developer's fault and the parents. The kid should not had the pw to their account. Parents should know what they're kids are doing.
 
I don't think the Daily Show is the one to blur the lines. I am seeing more and more pseudo-news going on in broadcast journalism across the board. Spin is a hard thing to resist I guess.
 
Ok, so when the Daily Show wants to interview you, you DON'T expect a comedic spin on it or an over the top segment? Virk's being very naive.
 
In most cases I'd side with the developer, but this is developer is out to scam users as much as possible. I had a family friend that was using this app, and for whatever reason spent about $20 on the fish-bucks. She accidently deleted her tank, one containing all the special, cash only fish she bought when she dropped her phone and caught it before it hitting the ground. I tried to restore it from the backup the game claims to keep, but they only keep the last save from when you closed the app last. Of course, since she dropped it, she txted me and lost her fish. I wrote the dev and they said it was her fault, she should have locked the tank. Looking for how to lock the tank was hard for me to find, let alone a not as savvy person.

Now, if this was a little company I wouldn't care so much and just be annoyed. But $1.5 million a week!? That is not small or indie. When I wrote them about the little mix up, they treated me like just a mark, someone they conned into spending money on their app, not a paying customer. Since, I advised my friend not to use their apps and to stay away from the dev.

While the bit does sort of show that these parents should be as much to blame, the dev most likely deserved it. Also, the prices just recently changed. Up to last week there was a package for $60 still, and that was a sale price.
 
+Brandon Kester There are dozens of news shows that do the same thing, comedy or not, and this is the only one that is made for my POV. It is not dishonest, it's a comedy show, you should expect exaggeration to the point of ridiculousness. They are clowns ffs.
 
When I take a look at a Fox News broadcast I see far more blurred lines between news and editorial. I think time may be better spent exposing a news organization not doing news rather than a comedy organization doing too much news. Besides, if you can really buy $10 addins for virtual fish, this guy deserves the heat as a public service announcement alone.
 
On one hand, if you speed through a small town and get pulled over you can try telling the cop that you were naive of the rules but it is still your fault. On the other hand if the speed limit was set ridiculously low or suddenly dropped in an unrealistic way then the police are to blame for tricking people for money.
 
A couple years ago they did a segment featuring someone I've been a fan of for a while and completely twisted his words, from then on I became skeptical. I should have from the beginning, but I always took their "These people make themselves look stupid" line seriously. There are probably plenty of these interviews that are genuine, but it's impossible to tell anymore.
 
+Brice Gilbert If you see an interview on the Daily Show you should assume that it's a joke. IF you want to know what's really true about it, then a few searches will answer. But it is a comedy show! Virtually every sentence is satire (or setup).
 
Jon Stewart is never funny in my opinion. I strongly dislike him. His jokes are unfunny.,
 
I don't think The Daily Show blurs the line between comedy and news. It blurs the line between comedy and satire -- if there is such a line. For satire, there is a message shrouded in laughs or sarcasm with the intent of shaming and/or ridiculing the target. It's the perfect avenue for a comedy show to take for its more "serious" pieces.

Even you, Andy, write/speak satirically. (I just heard some great one-liners and asides in your recent Mac Break Weekly episode.) So, even "legitimate" news and opinion writers can do it, but the bargain we make with you as readers and viewers is a slightly different one from the bargain we make when we watch a comedy show or comedian (basically in the degree of satire presented with the real stuff). And, yes, we aren't so stupid to not be able to tell the difference and make the distinction, even when we agree with the satire.
 
I'm in two minds about this. The Daily Show interviews are deliberately biased to make a comedic point as much as a serious one. The interviewees are manipulated to fit. It's funny because we know that the interviewees aren't as extreme as is made out. Their bewildered looks show this.
However, it isn't far away from manipulation that a "serious" news program might do to make an interview fit its agenda.
As for the product... a similar case won a "Shonky" award from Choice Magazine. http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/awards/shonky-awards/shonkys/the-2011-shonky-awards/page/smurf-village.aspx
 
I think it's important to remember the role of the fool is to say the things that the king would kill any one else for saying AND make him laugh at it. The daily show seems to live up to that to the extent they get folks talking about things. I get that the guy felt ambushed, and nobody likes to be the butt of a joke. I just hope the daily show does what it has in the past and clarifies that the money was refunded.
 
I'm a fan of The Daily Show, and Jon's terrible voices make me laugh, but that Tap Fish segment was not good. I've always disliked these segments, much preferring the Weekend Update-style news commentary.

In the case of Tap Fish, I think the root problem is that TDS's attitude seemed to be, "Yeah we're misrepresenting the facts, but who cares? It's just some silly iPhone game." TDS does the same with racists and random crazy people that they interview, basically not caring if they get the facts wrong because the subjects are either unimportant or deserve ridicule more than they deserve fair treatment. I don't think Tap Fish falls into either category, but I think TDS believes they're unimportant.

But the worst sin of this segment, like many others, is that it was not funny. That's the most unforgivable thing on a comedy show.
 
I think it's sad that Jon Stewart is held to these standards more so than people in the "real" news world. Has everyone else become so disingenuous that we have to get all our information from the court jester?

Besides, these addictive Farmville-like games that will happily drain your bank account in exchange for "virtual goods" are shady as hell; I'm glad they're getting called out on it.
 
It bothers me that a lot of people my age (twenty-somethings and early-thirty-somethings) seem to view the Daily Show as their primary news source. But, as others have pointed out, I think it'd bother me just as much if they took any number of other 30-minute pseudo-news shows as their only source of news. I think I'm generally prejudiced against television as a news medium.
 
It was a win-win. The Daily Show produced a hilarious bit and Tap Fish sold a bunch of apps. Everybody, including the audience, knows what's going on.

If someone watched the episode and was outraged, they probably weren't going to buy a Tap Fish app anyway.

I think the show made a valid point about in-app sales and I bought the app for my kids regardless.
 
Gotta disagree, I saw that bit and thought it was great. Free To Play games ARE intentionally manipulative, that's why the comedy works. and a 99$ in-app purchase?!?! I'm a software dev, I know it costs money to make things but hugely expensive DLC in a game for kids is super sleazy. People can bitch about the daily show as a primary news source but it has been shown repeatedly that Daily Show viewers are more knowledgable about current events than even regular TV evening news viewers let alone the cable propaganda channel viewers. Also, while I'm a bigger Colbert Report fan Johns Jersey accent is often funny.
 
RJ: I know you're trolling, but you're an idiot. And what's worse, YOU'RE idiocy in dangerous to the entire planet. STFU and go rapture yourself so we can fix the mess your ilk have created. </feeding>
 
They did the show to get more publicity for their game. And i think they are happy with it now. They have to be joking if they didn't know that there is a chance that they could be made fun of.

Its comedy central after all....
 
+R J White Odd logic, since I graduated 20 years ago, but if that qualifies me as fresh out... But as to your response, I'm Canadian, so I get to see more perspectives of news without living in the bubble, and Fox News is by far the most laden with editorial in the guise of news of all the channels I've watched.

And as to your request for refuting, you simply listed a bunch of networks, and called us dumb. That's akin to changing the topic and calling me a "stupid head". If you would like to discuss the argument without insult, I'd be happy to oblige.
 
Funny is subjective. I always laugh at something on the show. Sometimes it's an 'aha' laugh sometimes a guffaw. I never take it too seriously and no one gets hurt. Andy needs to lighten up. ( I've seen your routines on MBW)
 
+R J White We tried to ban Fox News? Cool, good for us. But yes, we get all the US stations and Canadian and some of the rest of the world depending on the package. I have watched some MSNBC and there was some bias, but not to the level that I have repeatedly seen on Fox. Do you have an example I could look at? Regardless, the "We do it because they do it" is not a valid argument, nor is it valid response. I'm somewhat appalled at most American News, the amount of front page attention a Lindsay Lohan gets when real news isn't reported on at all.

So I'm going to take that as a no to intellectual discourse. To classify a group and make blanket statement about their intelligence is not the actions of an enlightened man, nor a man who cares what any other opinion is other than his own. Considering most of the other liberal thinking individuals I know tend to be highly educated, doctors, lawyers, professors, application developers, etc... I'm going to have to conclude that your definition of dumb may not be the dictionary definition, and instead is "Anyone that does not agree with RJ". By this definition, I'm VERY dumb.
 
My progressive friends think Daley is the funniest guy on TV and wouldn't miss him. A delusion is to hold a belief against all evidence to the contrary. I believe most of his fans fall into the delusional category. They seem to get support for their false beliefs by having this clown ridicule those who do not agree with them.
You on the other hand possess a true sense of humor. I always enjoy your flights of fancy while listening to you on Mac Break Weekly.
 
+R J White Well, an intellectual conversation would normally include a sharing of ideas. So far you've just been incredibly insulting, and making assertions you can't possibly know to be true. I'm not certain whether you know that your opinion doesn't become more valid as you become more insulting and belligerent.
 
Ok Andy, I like you. I like your work. But, I just don't get this. The latter half of the piece sure, I can enjoy an honest opinion relating to the STORY. However, when you front load your post with personal dislike of the show and it's host. I would call that irresponsible.

As far as the show itself. Satire, pure and simple. It has a long and rich tradition in poking fun at what it sees as ludicrous and wrong with our society and our politics. Jon and crew are earnest in their beliefs and they do have an agenda. That agenda just doesn't fall along party lines. It's much more common sense. he Daily show picks on the right and left alike. They respect anyone who comes to sit down and talk without being hypocritical.

It really isn't hard to suss out, and I'm a bit shocked you are wrestling with this particular issue. I would even go so far as to say I am disappointed.
 
Andy, no offense and this is coming from a tf fan but, pretty lackluster defense of a fish pornographer =] that actually thought hey yeah let's boost sales by having a Between Two Ferns chat with the Daily Show. Tell-tale bad form on his part and, way more than likely, exactly the type of developer that the show's Producers should, in fact, prey on with a modicum of misrepresentation and ego stroking if need be. For those of you who find the time to keep their iOS apps updated, wifi sync Andy's podcasts and post to Google+, that are jumping all over the dad with three kids and one iPhone... ask Siri to forgive you.
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