What is it with athletic organizations being so uptight about public exposure lately?
A portion of the video of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocking the coverage of Barack Obama’s first pitch during the All-Star game—the league failed to show the president’s pitch actually reach the plate—was yanked from the show’s Web site and Hulu.com at the behest of the MLB, reports, All Things Digital blog, which is part of The Wall Street Journal Web site.
All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka had this report:
What happened? The story, via Viacom [which owns Comedy Central, the network that airs The Daily Show] officials, is that pro baseball officials contacted them this week and told them to take down the Obama footage, which it owns.
The argument, I’m told, is that the MLB was fine with Stewart (and every other TV show in the country) using the clip under “fair use” terms–the footage itself was a news story, and Stewart was adding value via his commentary, etc. But it balked at the notion of the footage remaining in Viacom’s archives, and circulating on the Web, forever.
None of that makes any sense, of course: There’s no reason that Stewart’s use of the clip should be okay, but only for a limited time. And if Viacom wanted to spend time fighting MLB on this, it certainly could have.
Suppose when you're as busy as MLB is ignoring your players' steroid abuse this is the kind of thing you do to pass the time.