Finding the comedy in ag-gag

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The Daily Show on Twitter While some people may not get a chuckle out of the ongoing debate between agriculture producers and animal rights groups, a recent news expose on The Daily Show with John Stewart found a way to coax laughter out of the grim circumstances.

On Comedy Central’s late night satirical news show a story ran featuring both perspectives of the fight over agriculture protection laws, better known in the mainstream media as “ag-gag” legislation.

The segment’s title, “Blowing the Whistle on Whistleblowers,” more or less tells the story behind this hot button issue. Al Madrigal, the reporter on assignment, pushed the buttons of both sides of the aisle by poking fun at the paradox of "protecting the animals from the people that are trying to protect the animals" and eating a bucket of chicken next to an animal rights activist.

Emily Meredith, the communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, was interviewed by Madrigal. During Meredith’s portion of the news segment she stated that the videos posted by animal rights groups are really about fundraising.

Animal rights activist Jimmy “Cody” Carlson also sat in to tell his point of view on farm protection laws. Carlson is a former undercover investigator for Mercy For Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Had any of these bills been put into place in the states where Carlson had filmed, he would likely be sitting in prison rather than on a fake cable news show.

Carlson pointed out that the current “standard practices” of tail docking and dehorning may not be the right thing for animals.

But Madrigal wasn’t convinced.

“I think I speak for the majority of American’s when I say I don’t want to know,” related Madrigal to the animal rights activist.

Madrigal ended his segment by sitting down and feeding snack food to a pig in an interview situation.

“What do Americans really want? Cheap hot meat, no matter how we get it,” said Madrigal.

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Thomas Swift    
Iowa  |  June, 15, 2013 at 04:35 PM

It was satire. Madigral was making a fool of himself, presenting himself as the ignorant, thoughtless, obnoxious, indifferent American who doesn't care if Ag Gag bills go into effect-- to make such people look heartless. It doesn't surprise me someone of your caliber can't pick up on satire, especially when it's aimed at you. It's a satire show. You failed to wonder, "what is the direction of the satire pointed toward?" It's unlikely cows being beaten by a wrench didn't have an effect on a sensitive reporter-- that's not terribly realistic.

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  June, 17, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Really Thomas Swift, this was a satire? I am so appreciative that you pointed that out. I probably never would have figured that out, even though the author of this article clearly stated that in the first line of the second paragraph. Since you are so adept at recognizing satire when you find it, I'll bet you smart alec meter is hitting the maximum peg right about now. Maybe you missed the closing line in the faux report about what people want. That sums up the true direction of Madrigal's spoof.

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