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Looking at the Smoking Ban in NYC Parks on 'The Daily Show' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 21st 2011 3:31AM
Samantha Bee, 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'Samantha Bee, a correspondent for 'The Daily Show' (Weeknights, 11PM ET on Comedy Central) went on the streets to talk about the passing of legislation in New York banning cigarette smoking from public parks.

We don't know how she did it, but she found the most amazing section of a public park we've ever seen to illustrate her point. Surrounded by tweaked-out drug addicts, alcoholics and homeless people, she talked to one woman who said the law was to ensure parks were "a place where people could go to relax and to have fun."

We particularly loved the bit, though, when Bee found out that not only can you not light up a cigarette in this park filled with such colorful members of society, but you can't go on the grass either. So this park is apparently just for looking at from behind the ropes and chains, like a grass-and-tree zoo.

The highlight of the clip was so surreal we almost can't believe it wasn't scripted and acted. As Bee was talking to a man she caught smoking in the park about his abhorrent and illegal behavior, another man stumbled across the scene behind her, ultimately tripping sideways and falling over another man sitting on a bench to hit the ground hard.

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The piece was scientifically misleading and utterly tasteless. I have no idea why that particular section of the park was restricting stepping on the grass, but as to the laws restricting smokers from imposing secondhand smoke on other people - including children, people with respiratory disease, and others who will be vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke - her pieces (and your endorsement of it) are stuck in the dark ages. A recent study in Ireland documented a HUGE drop in medical costs when exposure to secondhand smoke was reduced. For years, people with respiratory disease have been basically unable to use taxpayer funded venues like parks and concert spaces because others were allowed to breathe smoke on them. The money saved from reducing secondhand smoke exposure could pay for any number of other services. I would bet that there was someone in Bee's original clips who noted the health risks, which she edited out. The whole thing was particularly tasteless in the aftermath of Clarence Clemons' death and the likelihood that his history of smoking was a contributing factor. Stewart had just underscored the importance of science, and of facts in his opening bit. Perhaps Bee felt a need to countweight science and facts. Worthy of Fox news, not the Daily Show.

June 21 2011 at 7:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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