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Meet Adam Chodikoff, that guy who makes The Daily Show shine.
June 7, 2008 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Meet Adam Chodikoff. He's the guy that finds those before and after videos, where politicians contradict themselves, for The Daily Show.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (33 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that sounds like a tough job.
posted by euphorb at 9:12 AM on June 7, 2008


If it can work for The Daily Show, it can work here.
posted by notyou at 9:13 AM on June 7, 2008


...he's an investigative humorist.

What a great job!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:17 AM on June 7, 2008


When Bill Moyers asked Jon Stewart how they dug all that stuff up, he said something like "two VCR's and an intern." Obviously, that was an exaggeration, but not by much. All this time I had been picturing a whole research team dedicated to finding those clips. That guy is really good at what he does.

Not why can't CNN find someone to do the same thing?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:20 AM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would love if the real news networks had people that did this too. And if there were reporters that would call bullshit on the politicians at the press conferences when the politician said it. Oh, to dream.
posted by birdherder at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


I was just wondering how they always manage to find such pertinent bygone clips of talking heads to make them look foolish in whatever they might be saying today.

Just the other day, after the final "Bataan Death March" primary, Stewart had a clip of Hillary bashing the "naysayers" and "doubters" in the media who said her campaign didn't stand a chance followed by a half dozen Fox/CNN/MSNBC clips from 2006-early 2007 essentially saying Clinton would trounce Obama.

I thought they must have some "keyword" database or tagging system whereby all clips are stored with the appropriate labels. Obviously not. Interesting read.
posted by jckll at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2008


cklennon: I thought they must have some "keyword" database or tagging system

Displaying results 1 - 50 of 5,800,000 for batshitinsane
posted by Adam_S at 9:29 AM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought they must have some "keyword" database or tagging system whereby all clips are stored with the appropriate labels. Obviously not.

I recently was at a journalism conference where such a system was demoed; it was, in a word, amazing. The system indexed closed captions on newscasts, but also performed OCR on on-screen text (think title cards and crawls) and facial recognition on anchors. The result was that you could type in, say, "Iran", and see at a glance all the clips that mentioned Iran in some given window. If I'm remembering correctly, the system was used at CNN, among others.

So the "real news networks" actually could afford to do this even better than the fake ones can. The limitation isn't one of manpower, or technology; it's simply fear. There's this nasty symbiotic relationship between newsmakers and newsgatherers that prevents the newsmakers from being too vicious. You don't bite the hand that feeds you.
posted by jacobian at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


Lets get this man a bigger office.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2008


Chodikoff insists there's no agenda behind any of it, that he's part of a comedy show, not a crusade. "The show is anti-Establishment," he says. "Bush happens to be the president. He's the one in power."
So.. if Obama wins, will he be the next straight-man?
posted by stbalbach at 9:43 AM on June 7, 2008


Ah, here it is. The page doesn't give a huge amount of detail, but you get the idea.
posted by jacobian at 9:46 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


So.. if Obama wins, will he be the next straight-man?

Why wouldn't he be? I doubt Stewart is planning to push for a change of format to "The Everything Is Awesome Show", whatever his politics may be.
posted by cortex at 9:59 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's pretty cool, I always wondered how they were able to get those before and after clips - one of the best parts of the show. Great read, thanks!
posted by absalom at 10:00 AM on June 7, 2008


So.. if Obama wins, will he be the next straight-man?

They actually have archives on their site going back to 1999 so you can get a look, I think, at how Clinton was treated toward the end if you wanted.

They definately go after the Democrats in Congress right now so there is no reason to think they won't make him the butt of their jokes.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 10:06 AM on June 7, 2008


So.. if Obama wins, will he be the next straight-man?

Nope. Stewart, Colbert, Leno, Letterman et al will fold up ther tents and go home. No comedic fodder, if Obama makes the Oval Office.
posted by ericb at 10:15 AM on June 7, 2008


They already mocked Obama's speech to that pro-Israel group this week.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2008


From the Daily Show wikipedia entry:

Stewart is often critical of Democratic politicians for being weak, timid, or ineffective... He has targeted them for failing to effectively stand on some issues, such as their stance on the war in Iraq.

and

"We'd make fun of something else," Stewart said, "if government suddenly became inspiring...we would be the happiest people in the world to turn our attention to idiots like, you know, media people, no offense."
posted by WalterMitty at 10:35 AM on June 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I dunno, this doesnt sound so impressive during this administration and especially during war where we've seen military leadership change so many times.

Perhaps I'm too practical, but do people honestly expect those who have managed to take power, maintain it, and use it in our complex world not to be caught contradicting themselves? Isnt this how democracy works? Politicians need to keep some level of support and people like to hear things they know might not be 100% true, but make them feel good. I imagine dictators dont have this problem and probably are pretty consistant when they dont have rivals and elections to worry about.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:51 AM on June 7, 2008


I've always wondered about this. Thanks for posting.
posted by homunculus at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2008


You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

You don't bite that hand that feeds you bullshit and your bosses tax breaks.
posted by srboisvert at 11:14 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno, this doesnt sound so impressive during this administration and especially during war where we've seen military leadership change so many times.

It's impressive 'cause it's one guy doing it. Someone up above mentioned the automated system that CNN has, which sounds great and is not doubt expensive as hell.

Meanwhile, Adam is doing it on research and memory alone and probably for less money. Also note that CNN isn't displaying this sort of content, despite the system they have.

Also note that this is applied to just the military.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:29 AM on June 7, 2008


[...thinks about an online, publically-driven, end-user-indexed media search system...]
posted by five fresh fish at 11:56 AM on June 7, 2008


Er, NOT applied to just the military.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:01 PM on June 7, 2008


Trust me, whoever is in power after the election is gonna make plenty of chuckle-headed moves.
But they'll be OUR chuckleheads this time.
posted by Dizzy at 12:39 PM on June 7, 2008


I never really thought it could just be one guy. This piece doesn't make it clear, though: is he really on his own? These video finds have really defined this decade: the reason more young people than ever before are both interested in politics and cynical about politicans is because they're shown these quick, powerful montages of people contradicting themselves on matters of grave importance. Three minutes a day of video, maybe... probably less. Yet that's the thing that sticks with us; the amazement we feel at this level of detail is why we all love Jon Stewart so much. Without it, he's just another funny man, but with it, he speaks truth to power night after night.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:48 PM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


And once he figures out what clips he wants, he places an order with the company I work for, and people like me search through the vaults and put the clips together. Thanks, Adam - everyone in the office is a fan of Daily Show and the Colbert Report, and we're pretty stoked when we're handling one of your orders.

Do you need an assistant?
posted by jtron at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


cortex writes "Why wouldn't he be? I doubt Stewart is planning to push for a change of format to 'The Everything Is Awesome Show', whatever his politics may be."

No, nobody is off limits, which is how it should be. Bush is very fertile ground, though.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:02 PM on June 7, 2008


stbalbach: I don't recall whether it was before the 2004 or 2006 elections—probably 2004—but Stewart directly addressed his audience and said "I'm not going to tell you how to vote, except to say, make my job hard." His point, obviously, was that the current lot was exceedingly easy to make fun of, and that the country needed less-risible politicians.

I'm sure he will continue to find absurdity, venality, etc, even during an Obama administration.
posted by adamrice at 4:30 PM on June 7, 2008


It's really very hard for me to believe it's just ONE guy doing the research. I don't care if he's googling transcripts, that's a lot of material to go through.

If it is, then gosh darned they are getting their money's worth!
posted by cavalier at 5:41 PM on June 7, 2008


While I agree that this guy is awesome (and I do want his job), I'm a bit frustrated by the clip they chose to highlight in the article. Having a military that is obedient to our country's elected leaders is something that distinguishes our country from, say, Myanmar. I guess the clip of Sanchez is interesting because it captures how a lot of our military leaders must be feeling right now. But I think it'd be more enlightening to show a clip of some yokel in 2002 saying "Hell yeah, I voted for Bush, and now we're going to take out Saddam" and the same yokel in 2008 saying how much the Iraq thing sucks.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:26 PM on June 7, 2008


Or maybe that wouldn't be enlightening, but it would at least show the real problem. If they could find someone higher up in the food chain (like a Bush fundraiser) saying the same thing, it'd be even more interesting. But that probably requires real journalism, which we are sorely lacking. Can someone clone Seymour Hirsch, please?
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:31 PM on June 7, 2008


DamnDirtyApe: "Perhaps I'm too practical, but do people honestly expect those who have managed to take power, maintain it, and use it in our complex world not to be caught contradicting themselves? Isnt this how democracy works? "

You're kidding right? Why do people still use the word "democracy" as if it applies to American politics? READ MY LIPS: CORPORATE OLIGARCHY. There is no such thing as a democratic republic anymore.

I expect anyone who pretends to function as a civil servant to serve the civilian community, and that includes not lying to said community. I also expect most if not all civil servants to fall short of that expectation, because power corrupts.

When (not IF but when) said civil servant breaches that expectation, the modern age jesters of the world are fully within their right and duty to call the wannabe-kings on the proverbial carpet. It never stops the wannabe-kings from lying, but it let's them know they didn't get away with it, and it's always good for a laugh.

Furthermore, since the heady days of Gerald Ford (God bless Chevy Chase) I have been an enthusiastic humorist supporter. I would have preferred that Clinton won the democratic nomination, because it's easier to make fun of her than it is Obama. He just doesn't naturally make a good target for ridicule (which I find to be a curse), but I'm sure Jon Stewart's people will rise to the challenge.

I'd be interested in seeing McCain win this next election if not for the obvious fact that it would degrade to four years of "older than the pyramids" jokes. I'd rather the comedians of the world make fun of McCain's questionable stances on the issues, and some do that on occasion, but it's so easy to degenerate into "OMGWTF he's so old LOL" behavior. From a humor perspective, I tire of the jokes about McCain's age. That's too easy a target, like making fun of Ed Wood's career.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:21 AM on June 8, 2008


I'd be interested in seeing McCain win this next election if not for the obvious fact that it would degrade to four years of "older than the pyramids" jokes.

That, and the complete destruction of the US economy and military.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


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