CCTV 'misses irony' in using Jon Stewart satire to mock US on Guantanamo Bay

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 1:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 3:10pm

In a rather ironic twist, American satirist and comedian Jon Stewart was Chinese state media’s weapon of choice on Monday, when CCTV took a potshot at the US political stalemate on Guantanamo Bay.

The segment, which aired on China Central Television, showed Stewart poking fun at the Obama administration for repeated but fruitless pledges to shut the 11-year-old military detention facility. He included US President Barack Obama’s latest vow on April 30 to shut the prison in a Daily Show piece called “Limbo Update”.

The attempt at subtle but tongue-in-cheek US criticism, however, backfired after Chinese internet users turned to slamming broadcaster CCTV for “not seeing the irony” and being hypocritical.

“There are so many problems happening domestically that you choose not to broadcast every day, but instead choose to smell the farts of other countries,” one person posted in the video's comment section.

“This is our country’s mainstream media … They just want to divert our attention to problems [of other countries] away from poisonous ginger, tainted milk, gutter oil and undrinkable tap water … We are so lucky,” another said, sarcastically.

Others pointed to CCTV’s blatant and “low-blow” attempt to humour audiences with an American political satire show when few of the sort was on offer domestically.

“At least they are free [in the US] to criticise their president openly on television,” one netizen observed on China’s biggest microblogging platform Sina Weibo.

Jon Stewart's The Daily Show has become extremely popular on the mainland in recent years with videos each racking up millions of views online. Clips with Chinese subtitles are often found scattered across the internet.

Meanwhile, Chinese entertainers have in the last few of years attempted to replicate American-style talk shows – but at least one US host has taken note. 

Last year a good-natured pop-culture spat arose after late-night television host Conan O’Brien ribbed online Chinese comedian Da Peng for “copying” his show’s opening sequence. He claimed Da Peng’s show was a knock-off.

Da Peng hit back at O’Brien and Americans with a few comedic jabs but still apologised for using O'Brien's intro.