Ed Driscoll

The Daily Ransom Note Show

“Peter Schiff Slams Daily Show for Dishonest ‘Hit Job,'” Matt Hadro writes at Newsbusters of the Viacom-owned show:

Schiff claimed that the interview was four hours long and that the Daily Show dug up bits and pieces of his answers “to piece together a meticulously edited segment that would portray me in the worst possible light.”

And although the show promised that no answer of his would be edited out of context, Schiff claims they did just that: “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.”

It’s not the first time the Daily Show has been accused of selective editing. Mollie Hemingway of Ricochet listed grievances voiced by multiple of the show’s interviewees, quite similar to the complaints made by Schiff.


Much more from Noah Rothman of Mediaite, to whom Schiff, a libertarian/conservative financial writer spoke with personally after being sucker-punched by the Daily Show.  And note this:

Along with written assurances from a producer that he would not be taking out of context, Schiff alleges that he was given repeated verbal assurances to that effect over the course of that interview as well.

His hopes were further reinforced when he read a blog post authored by his ideological counterpart in that segment, Barry Ritholtz. The equities analyst revealed on his blog that he was afforded the opportunity by Bee and producers to do multiple takes in order to perfect what he was trying to say.

“All of the answers were recorded following each question in one continuous segment,” Ritholtz wrote. “When I screwed up or ruined a shot, they had to go back to ask the question again, with the response immediately following in the same shot.”

And if that doesn’t work, to sooth the frayed nerves of a friendly leftwing guest, I suppose the Daily Show could always employ the technique that MSNBC appeared to do when it had DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on back in November: Pre-program the desired quote into a teleprompter, the likely cause of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s infamous “Myzled” gaffe.


As for any guests to the right of Barack Obama who appear on the show, be prepared that what goes out on the air may not be what you told the interviewer. Stacy McCain once described the “ransom note editing” technique as “Selective quotation used by political correctoids to dehumanize conservative critics of multicultural groupthink.” It’s a breeze to do so with a text quote, but as NBC has demonstrated on numerous occasions, and now Viacom, it’s certainly easy enough to do so as well with audio and video. This 2012 video from PJTV shows how readily such techniques can be applied by a skilled technician working for a duplicitous employer to produce virtually any result desired:

[jwplayer config=”pjmedia_eddriscoll” mediaid=”66438″]

Of course, there’s a simple solution to conservative guests: contractually demand that you be allowed to bring a video recorder of your own, compare notes afterwards, and publish your results if there’s any discrepancies between what’s on your tape, and theirs.

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