After watching “The Daily Show” segment for the first time since it aired, I realized it was an even bigger hit job than I first realized. Jon Stewart’s staff constructed my sentence like Dr. Frankenstein pieced together his monster.
The segment shows Samantha Bee asking a question or making a statement, but then uses my answer or reaction to a completely different question from an entirely different part of the conversation.
In fact, my comment about people being “worth what they are worth” was not said in reference to the intellectually disabled. I told Samantha Bee something to the effect of, “If an individual can only deliver $5 per hour of productivity to an employer, but the government mandates a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, an employer would be legally prohibited from hiring that worker. The government cannot force employers to pay workers more than they are worth — YOU ARE WORTH WHAT YOU ARE WORTH — and the only way a worker can earn more money is to increase his value to employers.”
“The Daily Show” shot close to four hours of footage. During that time I believe I did an excellent job of exposing the minimum wage as perhaps the single most economically destructive law on the books, particularly as it relates to inner city youth. However, instead of accurately presenting my thoughts, “The Daily Show” merely parsed though those four hours of footage to piece together a meticulously edited segment that would portray me in the worst possible light. The finished product in no way resembled the discussion that actually took place. In one case, fragments from several unrelated sentences were pieced together to form what seemed to be a continuous statement that I never actually spoke. Statements, made hours apart, were juxtaposed to create the false impression that they were related.
On the other hand, the segment with Barry Ritholtz, my supposed opponent in this “debate,” was rehearse and scripted. Rilholtz knew the questions in advance, had time to prepare his answers, and was even given several takes to deliver his lines to Hollywood perfection. In fact, it was Ritholtz who suggested “The Daily Show” book me as his mock opponent after having seen my Wal-Mart video. He didn’t like that video, and saw this as an opportunity to help discredit me for having made it.
To persuade me to agree to do this interview in the first place, “The Daily Show” assured me that my views would be given a fair representation – that nothing would be taken out of context, or pieced together out of sequence. I was repeatedly assured, both prior to and during the interview, that they had absolutely no intention of making me look bad.
We now know that they were lying the entire time.
What bothers me more than “The Daily Show,” which of course is a comedy show, is the reaction in the news media to their segment. Even a local CBS affiliate here in Connecticut quoted the fabricated sentence pieced together by “The Daily Show,” as if I had actually spoken it myself. Not a single news or political web site that covered the segment — and there were dozens — bothered to call me to verify the accuracy of what was presented. They portrayed that comedy skit as if it were legitimate news, and my “debate” with Ritholtz as if it had been fair and balanced. They assumed “The Daily Show” did not alter my words, omit any of my thoughts, or otherwise edit the segment with the specific intent of changing the meaning of my comments.
“The Daily Show”’s double standard needs to end. It is either pure comedy, with no actual relevance to legitimate political discourse, or it is news — it can’t be both.
For now, let’s all e-mail “The Daily Show” and demand that they release all of the raw, unedited footage from that interview. I would proudly feature it on my YouTube channel. They had their laughs, now it’s time for the truth to come out. Let’s see if they actually have the courage to do it.
Here is the link. (Make sure you select “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”) If you are a fan of the show, let them know. But also let them know that you have an interest in hearing what I actually said, my specific answers to their actually questions, and that you feel that releasing that information would help advance the national debate on this issue. If I am really the pompous ass they made me out to be, they should be happy to oblige our request.
I will be discussing this issue on my radio show on Monday, so make sure to tune in live at 10AM Eastern time at SchiffRadio.com.