The Daily Show mocks our economy. Should we laugh or cry?


Help. Now I know that the country's financial situation is in trouble. As you already know if you're a fan of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart joked about it Monday night. Last week, of course, he and other late night comedians were relishing in and rehashing the news that New York governor Eliot Spitzer was frequenting a prostitution ring. But starting off this week, Stewart spent the night 10 minutes or so targeting our troubled economy.

If you're not a fan of the show, you might wonder why a few jokes about the stock market and a new segment called "Crisis in the Chartland" means that the country may be in even more serious trouble than anyone's imagined. After all, it's a comedy show and not exactly The Wall Street Journal. True, but it's also something of a barometer of current events. This is a show that has mined humor out of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and terrorism, not exactly the feel good stories of the last decade. And now Stewart's setting his sights on America's economy? Is this a blip in the fake news to come, or is this the beginning of a larger trend? Should we be panicked? Or should we see it as a good sign, because we can still laugh at the economy?

Although I'm normally an optimist, I think all of the jokes are a bad sign of things to come. Besides, even Stewart had a retort about his show leading off with coverage about the economy: "Good news? If it were, would we be talking about it before the hooker story?"

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).