Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE DAILY SHOW's John Oliver Geek Rants Over NBC's Iron Man Fact Fail


Memo to all media -- If you're going to use geek references in news reporting, be prepared for the inevitable shitstorm when you don't do your homework.

That's what happened last night on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, when summer fill-in host John Oliver geek-ranted over a report by NBC that didn't do enough fact-checking on the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man.

During a segment called "Track to the Future," Oliver discussed Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's proposal for the "Hyperloop," a high-speed train that would run from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  All fine and good, until a clip from an NBC news report on the Hyperloop was shown.  "It may sound crazy," said the NBC report, "but consider Elon Musk's track record -- the 42-year-old billionaire who founded PayPal, invented the breakthrough Tesla battery car, and was the first to dock a commercial rocket with a space station.  This is Elon Musk we're talking about, the inspiration for the Iron Man's Tony Stark character."

Oh no, they didn't...

"No, no, no, no, NO!" responded Oliver, thumping his fists.  "Wrong again, Lamestream Media!  There is no possible way that Elon Musk could have inspired the Tony Stark character, because Elon Musk was born in 1971 and Tony Stark first appeared in 1963!"  The cover to Tales of Suspense #39, the first appearance of Iron Man, was then displayed on screen as Oliver continued his geek rant, much to the audience's approval.  "This is basic fact-checking!  These kinds of mistakes have to stop!  This is a catastrophic error and you've pushed me too far!" 

Oliver then proceeded to rip up his script in frustration as the audience cheered their approval even louder.  Calming himself down, Oliver smiled and said, "I wasn't expecting quite so many people to empathize with that rage."

If you'd like to see the full segment, you can view it below...

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