Perhaps proving the longtime adage that the satirical show is as much (if not more) a source of "real news" as traditional networks, last night's Daily Show set about covering a shocking, if rather dry, financial scandal—and taking the rest of the media to task for ignoring it.
The story, first revealed by Bloomberg this fall, concerns Blackstone, a private equity firm that "sounds like it should be an evil wizard's castle," and Codere, a Spanish gaming operator. In brief, Blackstone profited from a corrupt loan deal with Codere as part of a credit-default swaps, which Jon Stewart likened to a mobster insurance scam in Goodfellas—except that "in Goodfellas it was illegal. In the financial world it is above board."
"How much coverage has this incredibly egregious behavior gotten on the 24-hour financial news networks?" Stewart asked financial correspondent Samantha Bee. "Uh... zero," Bee responded.
So she trekked to The New York Times' headquarters and met with Pulitzer-winning business journalist Gretchen Morgenson, who kindly explained that "there's sort of a rule that if you can't describe it in 10 seconds, it's not something [reporters] want to cover." Morgenson tried a 10-second summary and ran swiftly out of time. Bee was more economical with her language: "Rich-ass [censored] want all the money for themselves." The Times reporter wasn't amused.
Next stop: Buzzfeed's business team, which pitched Bee a handful of ways to cover the story so that the site's massive audience could better comprehend it, like, "Disney Princesses Explain the Blackstone Story" or "The Blackstone Credit Default Deal Is Just Like Ross and Rachel from Friends." (Neither of which are so farfetched, really.)
No dice. "What I needed was a local newsman, some catastrophic weather, and this story would be everywhere," a frustrated Bee concluded.
That promptly failed. So instead, she opted to put the story on YouTube and make it go viral the only way she knew how: a parody of Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" (possibly with some kittens for good measure).
"These are the kind of shady deals that got us into the recession in the first place!" a distraught Bee cried over the pop sheen of Cyrus's anthem. "Are you listening now?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.