[View:http://community.cengage.com/GECResource/themes/gew/utility/ The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes , Indecision Political Humor , Video Archive :550:0] Last week I cited a column written by Paul Krugman about the debunking of the "austerity" approach to economic downturns and debt that led to sequestration. Several political leaders promoted the austerity approach, partially based on a paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University. Thomas Herndon , a grad student at the University of Massachusetts, detected s ome math errors in the spreadsheets in the Reinhart/Rogoff paper, and also found that they had ignored data that did not support their hypothesis. Paul Krugman's article was a timely response to the "uproar" that ensued. Stephen Colbert weighed in about the Reinhart/Rogoff paper in the video clip above from The Colbert Report of April 23rd. Colbert also interviewed Thomas Herndon later in the same show. For those of you unfamiliar with Stephen Colbert , his on-screen persona symbolizes one point of view, but his message often connotes the opposite point of view. This works to his comic advantage, but could be a dangerous ploy for a marketer, as it may produce misunderstandings. Colbert's show is not likely to sway anyone's opinion, and the two sides to this issue continue to produce controversy. Nevertheless, the data delivered by Colbert (when it can be separated from the non-factual parody or satire) might hold a viewer's interest longer than the Krugman article on the same topic. Colbert's approach widens the possibilities for communicating information about economic issues. Sources: " Stephen Colbert discusses and mocks the problems resulting in basic mistakes made in a study by Reinhart and Rogoff" episode of The Colbert Report, by Stephen Colbert, et. al., Comedy Central via YouTube , airing April 23, 2013, published April 24, 2013. " Reinhart-Rogoff uproar settles nothing ," by Caroline Baum, Bloomberg View , May 1, 2013. Follow up: Watch the video and read the Krugman article. Which did you enjoy the most and why? From which piece did you learn more, and what did you learn? Watch the remainder of The Colbert Report for April 23, 2013, in which Colbert i nterviews Thomas Herndon . What did you learn? Which segment of the show was more effective at communicating about the economic theories at issue? Discuss the pros and cons of using humor to communicate about difficult (or boring) and controversial subjects.