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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BAD WEEK FOR FAKE NEWS

For lovers of fake news, it's been nothing but bad news for he past several days.

The Writer's Guild has gone on strike and there's no telling how long that may last. While the movie business may be unaffected, and sitcoms should stay around for at least a few more weeks, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the first to go. They ran what was the first of what will likely be man reruns tonight. And they'd just gotten back from a one week break, too.

Stephen Colbert's show is in reruns, too, but there was even more bad news for him last week. Colbert was in the midst of a run for the White House when the South Carolina Democratic Party decided to end all the fun.

His idea was to run for president in South Carolina as a Democrat and a Republican and perhaps snag a delegate in the conventions next year. It was a brilliant idea that hit a few legal snags. Campaign finance laws limited what he could do and how much he could spend and he had to drop his bid to get on the Republican ballot. (They were too expensive.)

But it was the Democrats who were the real killjoys. Even though Colbert paid his fees and even campaigned in the state, they wouldn't let his name appear on the ballot.


The seriousness of their candidates? They let Dennis "I saw a UFO at Shirley MacLaine's house" Kucinich on the ballot. Mike Gravel? He's on the ballot, too, even though he made this ad. Watch that ad and tell me Gravel isn't much more of a joke than Stephen Colbert. In case you didn't watch, you should know that the campaign ad involves Gravel staring into the camera for over a minute. Then he turns around, throws a rock into a pond, then walks away. The whole thing takes three minutes and is one of the most bizarre political things I have ever seen.

He's in, Colbert's out. Go figure

But fake news downers aren't just confined to our fair shores.

The guy in the picture on the left is named Fasi Zaka. You probably don't know who he is. I didn't know who he was until I heard him on NPR this week. Zaka hosts a current events show in Pakistan called News, Views, and Confused. From what I can tell, it's something like a Pakistani version of the Daily Show.

Last week Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule and shut down broadcasts at all non-state TV stations. As you might imagine, News, Views, and Confused is no longer on offer anywhere in Pakistan, and it will most likely not be broadcast again while Musharraf is in power.

On NPR, he said his joke about emergency rule would have gone like this:

"The head of Pakistan's army, General Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule on Saturday, clamping down on political opposition leaders including the country's supreme court justice. President Pervez Musharraf has not announced if he favors this action."

When I heard that joke, I felt truly sorry this guy isn't broadcasting. He's really funny. Perhaps he can come over here or a while. We could use a decent laugh while our comedy heroes walk the picket lines.

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