I finally got around to watching the Labour Day episode of the Daily Show, a repeat from August 18, 2011. Its first segment was about Warren Buffett’s New York Times editorial about why the rich should be paying more in taxes.

But CTV chose to air two commercials directly before the Daily Show: pure spin for the tarsands and farmed fish.

If you weren’t aware, the Daily Show is a post-modern, irony-filled examination of the news, with a progressive slant that mocks the frequent lunacy of neoliberal, neoconservative right-wing America.

It’s also an increasingly trusted source of actual news among younger viewers who appreciate the layers of analysis and comedy that contextualize news. It appears they do not like their parents’ 6 o’clock news format so much.

To counter the success of this form of news, two reasonably despicable industries purchased broadcast space minutes before the September 6 CTV broadcast.

Cenovus bills itself as a different oil sands. Pure spin. Tarsands extraction is tarsands extraction. You can do it with teddy bears and you can do it without. Cenovus is pushing for the teddy bears. Their website promotes [the myth of] corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and–priceless–an Integrity Helpline that is too ironic for you to miss. Leaving the tarsands in the ground is the sustainable choice to avert continued climate change.

But hey, they say they’re different, so I guess that matters.

100% spin.

This was followed by a slick cartoony ad from the BC Farmed Salmon industry talking about how salmon are cold blooded so they eat less food. That makes them more sustainable. No mention on whether wild, unmedicated salmon are also cold blooded. But that’s beside the point.

The Daily Show episode began by exploring the class war of taxing the rich versus the poor. Part of that class war was CTV as they aired the tarsands spin commercial and the farmed salmon fluff piece.

The fact that it aired minutes after Labour Day ended resulted in a strong but indirect reminder to the working class that we should not tax the rich any more, we should consider how to exploit the tar sands with teddy bears, and that farmed salmon are cold blooded so maybe they’re ok to eat.

What makes me most happy, though, is that the media intelligence that viewers bring to the Daily Show are a natural inoculant against the tarsand and farm salmon spin machines.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and in a limited capacity in Facebook, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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