Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Truth be told

What is the most incisive and truthful international news programme on TV today?

You have three goes.

OK, first one:

Answer: _________


Have another go:

Answer: _________

Sorry, wrong again.

OK, last try:

Answer: _________

Let me put you out of your misery.

It's The Daily Show.

You mean The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that Daily Show?

Yip, the very same. Besides the US Edition which airs Monday to Thursday on Comedy Central, there is an international Global Edition which airs at weekends on CNN.

But isn't that a comedy show?

Yes, well, actually it's a particular kind of comedy show, it's satirical.

But still, how can that be a news programme, let alone an incisive and truthful one?

Satire has always been more about telling the truth than about making jokes. It has a very long history dating at least as far back as the Ancient Greeks (with Aristophanes being the foremost exponent). Many others have followed in the satirical tradition: Swift, Twain, Mencken, Orwell, Soyinka,...and Stewart.

Any other good examples of such shows?

The BBC's Have I Got News For You is extremely good. It's less scripted and more improvisational though. And it has a two-team quiz format.

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