Last week Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” broadcast a segment on an iOS game called Tap Fish. They pitted the developer against a parent whose children ran up huge charges purchasing virtual goods inside the app. Now the developer wants to set the record straight.
“Video Game Dealers” was, by all accounts, a typical Daily Show field report. Correspondent Aasif Mandvi played the comedy for all it was worth, portraying the developer as greedy and exploitative and the consumer as an innocent rube. But it should be no surprise to anyone who watches The Daily Show regularly that all wasn’t as it appeared to be.
Tap Fish developer Gameview Studios’ co-founder Rizwan Virk has posted to his own blog, Zen Entrepreneur, to describe how the segment was shot, and it may give some insight to people unfamiliar with the process as to just how selective The Daily Show is in their interviews. Virk debunks some of the claims in the segment and notes that the parent had his money refunded (by Apple) long before the segment was shot. He also says that The Daily Show misrepresented why they were interested in interviewing Gameview Studios to begin with.
Jon Stewart is the first to admit that The Daily Show is there to entertain, not inform (in fact, the affable host has said a number of times that he’s a bit horrified that his show is cited as a primary news source by some of its viewers).
From where I’m sitting, Virk is mainly guilty of incredible naïvety. Anyone who’s approached by The Daily Show for an interview and who is even cursorily familiar with the show’s contents has to figure that the footage is going to be heavily edited for comic effect.
It’s good that Virk is clearing the air, but his sour grapes over being made to look a fool shows that while he’s a self-described serial entrepreneur, Virk’s Sloan Business School experience apparently didn’t prep him for media relations.