Controversial ‘Daily Show’ Segment on Washington NFL Team Finally Aired
The Daily Show has finally aired the contentious piece concerning the name of Washington’s NFL team that made headlines last week.
As the Washington Post first reported on Sept. 13, Daily Show producers staged a confrontation between four diehard fans of the team and a group of Native American activists. The tense meeting became vitriolic and the fans felt that if the segment aired, they’d be defamed. Washington fan Kelli O’Dell was reportedly so upset by the encounter that she later called the police.
The Washington Post also reported that the activists were brought to FedEx Field to interact with tailgaters, during which several Washington fans shouted obscenities at them.
The Daily Show segment that aired was preceded by a brief and careful statement by Jon Stewart during which he addressed how the show responds to participants who don’t “enjoy the experience.” The show works hard to find real people with real beliefs, Stewart explained.
“If we find out that someone in a piece was intentionally misled or if their comments were intentionally misrepresented, we do not air that piece. We would not air that piece. So that being said, I hope you enjoy the following piece.”
The segment that followed was executed in classic Daily Show shutdown style, but glossed over much of the controversy surrounding the piece itself. The tense meeting between the fans and the activists was shown without audio and largely cut, ending with handshakes instead of the tears described by fans. Also missing was the confrontation between the activists and tailgaters at FedEx stadium.
Those upset with the piece’s omissions would be wise to remember that the Daily Show is aimed at satire and is not meant to be a hub of fair and equal debate. As such, it is not bound by any journalistic ethics.
The piece did cover much of the controversy behind the name, including the fact that the dictionary-defined derogatory term “redskin” referred to the bounty placed on Native Americans. The segment closed with the following message from correspondent Jason Jones to Washington team owner Dan Snyder. “Hey, he-who-stands-on-the-wrong-side-of-history, change the f*cking name.”
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