Talk about laugh. Margrethe Vestager is the European Union (EU) competition commissioner and one of its most powerful bureaucrats, currently pursuing Google for abusing its internet search dominance and Apple over an Irish tax deal.
Both these giants of commerce are US-based and it would be reasonable to expect Vestager therefore to immerse herself in the day-to-day business affairs of the most powerful country on earth to fully understand the culture that drives the companies to the top of their market.
Reasonable, but wrong.
It seems Vestager shies away from mainstream media sources in her efforts to stay across U.S. national affairs. Instead the 47-year-old is informed by watching ‘The Daily Show’, Comedy Central’s left-leaning, barely satirical news parody show.
“I get all my U.S. politics from ‘The Daily Show’,” Vestager admitted in an interview on Thursday before adding that she’d counted down the days until the show’s new host, Trevor Noah, took over.
She wasn’t joking, either. The veteran Danish politician was serious. Vestager wasn’t trying to mimic the ironic detachment of the show’s recently departed host Jon Stewart, she was absolutely serious.
Don’t forget that Amazon is in the EU’s crosshairs for a Luxembourg tax deal, Apple for its Irish business affairs and Starbucks for a Dutch tax arrangement thrown in for good measure.
All the companies face extremely serious charges. Yet now we know the person who might have such a say over their future operational structures in Europe likes to get her news from a self-regarding comedy show.
It’s not as if we weren’t warned.
The powerful bureaucrat has lauded the merits of ‘The Daily Show’ before. In an interview published by USA Today back in April she was asked about her favourite American television show and… OK, you guessed it. That time she gushed:
“… it’s a very good day for me when I able to watch The Daily Show. I am disappointed that Jon Stewart is retiring. He is great; his team is doing a great job. One of the things I admire is that he can make these interviews so warm and so full of humor, and it’s never at the cost of the person he is interviewing. I think that it is a true art to be able to do that.”
You just cannot make this stuff up.
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