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Blog #11

A recent article on the Colbert Report website entitled “The Enemy Within – Toddler Edition” was a satirical piece about a real life event.  Juliet Brietman, a 4-year-old girl, was racing her bike with her friends when she accidentally crashed into an older woman.  Claire Menagh died of unrelated causes and never pressed charges, but her family decided to sue the toddler for negligence.  Anyone who read this story in a legitimate newspaper would certainly find it a little absurd for a state court to actually hear a case in which a toddler was the defendant.  Colbert obviously saw the humor in the situation as well and decided to run a full story about it in which he took a very serious stance and pretended to advocate the arraignment of toddlers.  Colbert’s staff created a “special edition” report with a series of personal interviews, professionals discussing the matter, and background on the actions of toddlers in America. To increase the overall appeal and humor, Colbert combines the actual facts of the incident in New York with his own personal thoughts on the matter.  The real story ran in the New York Times and went far more in-depth on the incident, explaining the actual courtroom process and how the judge decided that this was the right decision and it was acceptable to sue a child.  He over-exaggerates the severity of the issue and falsifies details to gain mass appeal, which makes the actual news more exciting for the viewer.  Colbert is such a popular television show because he takes current events and uses humor and sarcasm to make them both funny and entertaining… something that the average news outlet can’t really do because they are tasked first and foremost with solely reporting the news.

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