Thomas Mucha is the managing editor in charge of correspondents for GlobalPost, where this article first appeared. The views expressed are his own. –
It’s been a fascinating few weeks for global news — the real kind, of course — but also for the fake stuff.
I’m referring to “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” which sent correspondents and producers to locales where comedy shows don’t normally operate: Iran and Iraq. Along the way, these two Comedy Central commercial properties cooked up plenty of laughs. But they also produced some insightful — and certainly entertaining — coverage of these two complex and important global stories.
If Wolf Blitzer isn’t quaking in his beard, he should be.
These foreign forays produced powerful storytelling that illustrates how intelligence and humor, when mixed with a little ground truth, can add depth to very serious matters. It also demonstrates how fake news is, indisputably, a power on the global media stage. As an added bonus it was yet another funny and scathing attack on the pompous earnestness that typifies much of the mainstream media: You know you’re in trouble if you can be so brutally, and effortlessly, parodied.
Let’s start with Iran, where The Daily Show began with a simple idea, but then got much more than it was expecting.