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September 9th, 2010
08:39 AM ET

PUNK’D– Baghdad Style

It’s the hit television show of the year in the Muslim world sparking both outrage and laughter. It looks alot like Ashton Kutcher’s MTV show Punk’d. In one episode, an unsuspecting comedian is stopped at military checkpoint. Iraqi soldiers then accuse the car’s occupants of being terrorists and threaten to put them back in the car and let the bomb explode under them. But it’s actually all a really bad joke. Actually, the bomb is a fake and the Iraqi soldiers are in on it. The look of terror on the man’s face is chilling when he thinks he’s really going to be arrested. Many say the show is in horrible taste and should be yanked.

Now we want to hear your thoughts on this reality show. Post your comments and Kyra will read some of them during the 10am hour of newsroom

Filed under: Anchors • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. John Abromavage/Ruggedcwby

    I think in IRAQ of all places with the tensions there that ANY sort of "game" that spreads the fear of terrorism or death is barbaric at best. Granted Iraqi's can use some laughter however there are certainly better ways to find it.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  2. todd

    the show is in poor taste.
    but did i hear you compare it to ground zero – wow

    September 9, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  3. Brandon Jones

    kyra i think you are making a big deal out of a light situation. That country has been through tough times and it is actually relieving to me to see that they still have their sense of humor in such an uptight environment.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  4. Jay

    I get the joke and I laughed when I saw it. To be honest, it's okay to have a little bit of a sense of humor when you have to be serious 365 days of the year doing what they're doing. You're not being too sensitive Kyra, but there's always room for a little laugh. It's not too often that you see that.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  5. Edward Cantu

    FYI, Kyra, the innocent people killed at those checkpoints were not just "troopers and innocent women and children." There were also innocent MEN killed there as well who weren't "troopers." How about "troopers and innocent civilians." "Innocent civilians" is the phrase most of your colleagues use these days and there a reason for that.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  6. Carmen

    It is extremely irresponsible on behalf of "Punks". Civilians that are not part of this "Joke" may react in Panik and start shooting in response. This kind of irresponsibility can have dangerous and unforseen consequences.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  7. Dennis Osinjolu

    If you think about it this wasn't any different than punked in terms of violating ones privacy and I find it very convenient that the comedian's reaction to the prank wasn't shown. Lets face it this was just a special case based on the fact that he was a comedian and the media is blowing it way out of proportion.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  8. Steve Manuel

    The program is a sad commentary on where society has gone for the purpose of entertainment. I'm the first to stress to students that they need to have a sense of humor in life and be able to laugh, but this goes beyond the limits of what television entertainment is about. I believe we have plenty of absurd and stupid programming in the United States, but we have audiences for that. It's difficult to imagine that anyone could laugh at the Iraqi program. Is there really an audience that enjoys watching fellow humans being terrorized?

    September 9, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  9. Seeanend2CNN

    So after several years of false concern over bombs going off in America, American citizens being accused of terrorist plots and racism perpetuated by right wing media, we're going to worry about a joke made in bad taste NOW?!

    Get control of your own country first guys.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  10. Addison Spencer

    I think that this show is horrible. Fake bombs, terrorists, checkpoints- those are serious things, not something to take lightly. I've watched Ashton's show for years and I think it's hilarious, it's all in good fun, and he does it to friends or aquaintences. This show is just plain wrong. Frankly, I think that the creator and everyone who has gone along with it should be punched in the face, I wonder how funny that would be? It's a terrible show and the soldiers especially, but everyone ese involved, should be ashamed of themselves.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  11. Tony

    In your opinion it may be in bad taste, but I found nothing wrong with the skit. also might I add they choose comedian and not a civilian.. it's time people stop being so uptight, and overly judgmental. simply because you traveled in Iraq ,it hardly make you an authority on it's culture or people.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  12. Cream

    Hi Kyra
    Sure this can appear insensitive but there is a powerful psychology to it. The show is sticking it to the terrorists, saying we will not be cowed by your senseless violence .... rather we will take the sting out of it and make fun of your ways. We will mock you .. not fear you. Believe me it works .. I have been in countries with mayhem handled in this way. By the way we see this psychology every day on TV in an insurance ad that features a rattle snake about to attack a rabbit. Turns out the rattle looks like a "baby's rattle". This sends the rabbit and its buddies into a fit of mocking laughter ... and the snake slinks away humiliated!

    September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  13. Sergio

    Bad taste joke, insensitivity to the iraki people

    September 9, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  14. Jay

    I just heard your comments regarding the Iraqi checkpoint "Punk'd" issue. You make a good point that checkpoints are dangerous places, and equally those who man them are at great risk. It is this risk that drives this comedy ... to try to find a silver lining in a hazardous environment. To many who have never spent time working/living in what was once a combat environment (of any tempo) wouldn't find this funny, but those who have would laugh right along with the Iraqi soldiers. I did. This is also indicative of a burgeoning level of security. If Iraqi soldiers feel comfortable in doing something like this, I think it shows how far along they've come.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  15. Tanner

    I believe that this show is using the wrong things as humour, but think about the morale boast a little laughter and humour can do for them. It may have been the wrong thing to joke about but at least these soldiers are feeling a bit better working along those checkpoints.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  16. Just Concerned

    Nothing funny about Baghdad Style PUNK'D... nothing even remotely funny. Just as bad is Terry Jones burning of Holy Text...

    September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  17. K.S. Van-Mural

    This seems to be very obviously in poor taste. Most of us have no idea what it like to live in a war torn area where bombs and death are a daily occurance. Perhaps making light of it is a way to bring a bit of laughter to a very depressing situation, but regardless it is unfortunate that anyone would become so immune to such scary circumstances to find them ammusing. Feeling threatened for your life is not a lot of fun.

    K.S. Van-Mural

    September 9, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  18. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Sick humor in a war zone how hard was the victim laughing .

    September 9, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  19. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Do you suppose this prank would be funny in New York .

    September 9, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  20. cap't ken nettles

    This is just one more of a thousand reasons to get our troops out,Violance is the only life these people know and love and all the money in the world as well as all the fallen solders should be a huge sign that the US should pull out.We need to take care of all the problems we have here in the UNITED STATES before we try to help others who don't want us there to start with.Its time to take care of our own.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  21. Keith Z.

    After all the blood shed on American soil and Iraq soil many innocent people living in horror daily just to open their eyes with 4500 American and 100,000's of thousands of Iraqi lives lost I am mortified to see soldiers with their own lives on the line, stage what they see a humorous in the eyes of many innocent people, world wide.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  22. michael j mosher

    Bad taste is an understatement! I'm even surprised by most of the reactions of my fellow viewers. Personally, i don't even find our american "punk'd" show entertaining. We are so desensitized by our own television's reality show culture, that we find it excusable to find humor in the humiliation of other human beings at whatever cost. Sadly, reality tv is a cheap way to make tv programs but at what cost to our dignity as human beings?

    September 9, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  23. mark

    it is their country why would we waste news time wondering if its right or wrong.are you kidding me,there many more things news worthy in our own troubled country.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  24. Adam

    Being a terrorist with a bomb is a serious thing – in that respect I don't like the show. While no one was hurt and there were no real bombs, pick something (anything) else to joke about. We all love to laugh but I think the Iraqi people are growing tired of bombs and guns – try popping out of a garbage can in a clown costume – now that's funny.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  25. Jonathan

    You are talking about the wacked out and twisted people who "believe" they will go to the "holy land" by strapping a bomb to thier chest and killing civilians and law enforcement.....Need I say more ?

    September 9, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  26. Glen Shouse Jr.

    This is crazy. The people of Iraq live in fear every day, and to play on that is wrong. Where do these soldiers find the time to play games when they are suppose to be learning to protect their country. If this is how serious the Iraqi troops take their job then maybe the rest of our troops should come on home.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  27. Jerry Curtis

    Grow up, it's comedy.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  28. Bill

    I think we need to focus on our own lack of programming morality instead of worrying about what programs they are airing in Iraq.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  29. Pat McCrary

    I am appalled at the lack of respect for the sensitivety of the matter-check points- by both the media of Iraq and the actor...I must question the intelligence of those involved who would treat such a serious moment as one to play with...I can only imagine the horror the person felt within...It is NO Joke!..It was cruel!

    September 9, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  30. Kristian Sorensen

    FYI: The term "Bucca" in the title of the show "Put Him in Bucca" may refer to the name of the detention facility in Southeastern Iraq, Camp Bucca.

    Been there.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  31. Ben

    Nicely said Kyra!

    September 9, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  32. Give me a break!

    This is exactly why it's time for our US troops to pull out of this country. If the Iraqi police have more time to participate in reality TV shows versus utilizing every minute to train and prepare to take control of their own country; then I ask -WHY is it necessary for US troops to remain there and why is it necessary for another loss of life. Give me a break.....Go! Mr. President – please bring ALL of our Soldiers home.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  33. tony

    The fact that we are judging another country's entertainment is just another sign that Americans have their priorities totally wrong. Who cares what Iraqi's are watching on T.V.? Everyday we can see people being emotionally shattered on American stations. When an already painfully thin girl is told to lose more weight on America's Next Top Model there is no national finger wagging. So the U.S. gets to decide what way of government is correct, what religion is the right one, and now what is allowed to be entertaining. No wonder Americans have such a terrible reputation abroad.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  34. Victoria Clasper

    With everything that is going on in the world how can we even think of rocking the boat? This is in poor taste as well as the Mosque being built at the location of ground zero. These are all political statements meant to do just that, rock the boat and get attention. What's Next? Frankly I am getting tired of hearing about our conflict with Islam and their religion. I have nothing against people and what they believe until it interferes with my way of life. And look we have a failing economy, still at war, and no real forward direction, just a push me, pull me.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  35. Joan Bailey

    Not only is this in bad taste and insensitive but so is your running of it over and over again. One of the biggest problems I have with our American news programs is you don't know when to shut up and stop running a story that inflames and causes more problems because you send it out over and over again. J

    September 9, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  36. jacque l

    This is exactly why it's time for our US troops to pull out of this country. If the Iraqi police have more time to participate in reality TV shows versus utilizing every minute to train and prepare to take control of their own country; then I ask -WHY is it necessary for US troops to remain there and why is it necessary for another loss of life. Give me a break.....Go! Mr. President – please bring ALL of our Soldiers home.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  37. Amanda

    Actually, it's just dark humor and I get it. It's the whole thing that "if you don't laugh, you will cry" and I don't think it was in poor taste at all. It's refreshing in a way. You would be surprised the dark and dreadful situations that people can find humor in – it's the resilience of the human spirit.

    I've seen and heard Pakistani and Somali friends make jokes about their country's respective dreadful situations. You've gotta laugh. It is the antidote to the over-piousness, fear and uptightness that extremists would force on us.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  38. Deanna Farrell

    I find your show in poor taste in general. You have given so much weight to the comment made by Imam Faisal that to back down would compromise our national security. Why didn't you play the clip where right after 911, the Imam told Ed Bradley that the United States was an accessory to the bombing of the World Trade Center. Why didn't you challenge your panel of Muslims this morning, who agreed with the Imam.
    You really don't have the guts to be a good commentator. I was worried about Soledad O'Brien's performance last night. She came shining through and put Imam Faisal through the paces. You're not capable of that and I wish they would replace you with someone more qualified for such a tough job.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  39. Greg

    While this sort of action is not acceptable in our minds and probably most Iraqis a question comes to my mind. Does this prove that humanity becomes accustom to the tribulations of war? Is this telling us that after 7 ½ years of fighting, check points, bombings, fear and everyday threats of death that scenes like this are old hat, well-known, and ordinary.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  40. tony

    "Nicely said Kyra!" was put up? Who let that through and blocks posts that actually say something? Isn't this supposed to be a conversation between people not sucking up to our favorite news anchor?

    September 9, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  41. Sir Phenol

    "Kyra you think that's something! You should see what it feels like to be a young black man driving a Cadillac thru the city streets of America!"

    September 9, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  42. julz

    it's gonna be real funny when these people come across the wrong soldier on the wrong day.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  43. Robert Clegg

    Doesn't the "Constitution" allow this? Come on Kyra. You just ran the prior segment about the "constitutional rights" of Muslims to put a mosque anywhere they want in America – as if no one "should" be offended or no one can have a "preference" that it be placed elsewhere due to sensitivities.

    You now act offended because of your experience in Iraq and think this is in bad taste – almost as if you are asking it to be stopped.

    I expect you to come out with an equally strong opinion piece on the side of those that have their preferences and tastes offended by the placement of the mosque.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  44. tngbg

    I think Americans would care more about stopping this man from burning a Holy Book if it was the Holy Bible or the American Flag, because back in the old days burning a cross or burning a flag was a Terrific Act or Rascal Act. And the little punk'ed show is nothing We got scaretactics on the Oxygen channel.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  45. Alden C. Sheremata

    Kyra's reporting about this Punk'd Baghdad style TV show is particularly informative about Iraqi life with regard to checkstops. Especially when you go over it once or twice. At home we have our 'Sacred Cows' and Comedy shows that we'd probably have a much harder time without. Sorry if regular everyday Iraqi life evades me but here at home I'm a Federal Democrat. I'm just a George Washington kinda' guy, and I get that.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  46. Steve

    I don't think it is funny but it does not appear on US TV. It appears on Iraqi TV. I cannot imagine what living in that environment is like, so if the Iraqi's enjoy it because it's "black humor" helps them deal with the stress of living in that environment, who are we, here in the US, sitting in our safe and comfortable livingrooms, drinking clean water, enjoying stable utilities and having access to a rich variety of food to judge or criticize their taste in humor. News programs are suppose to be objective. Your judgemental attitude on this issue (and others as well) has the effect of prejudicing the American people against another culture. It is wrong and destructive. It does not help Americans to accept the rich diversity between cultures and will encourage more bigotted behavior, such as the "Christian" minister in Gainesville, FL who plans to burn a Quoran on 9/11. Kyra, please remove your biases and opinions from your reports!

    September 9, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  47. Julio, NJ

    laughter is the cure for this world. we are too uptight, so uptight that we forget the beauty of laughter and become cold heartless being consuming everything in our path in search of some sense of fulfillment, when laughter can bring that into our hearts to begin with.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  48. Chris

    While I understand the idea behind the show, I think it's a bit immature for a soldier to be involved with these kinds of dealings.. Why not take some of the U.S's bad cops and start a reality show? Soldiers are supposed to be protecting people, not scaring the life out of them.. Joke or not, How would anyone feel to be harrased by a cop on a traffic stop, a soldier at a checkpoint and then find out it was a useless prank?

    September 9, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  49. Bob Fitzthum

    As a Vietnam combat veteran I want to thank you for the time you take on your on-air programs to discuss issues about the VA, Veterans Affairs and the many issues affecting veterans. I also appluad your ongoing segment that remembers our current fallen troops and thier families. I'm convinced that today too many Americans are not truly aware of our involvement in the wars and the toll it takes on the troops and their families. When I returned home the public in general and the news media did not recognize us, except as a bunch of crazed killers who lost a war. Enough said! Thanks for your reporting on the issues of Veterans and our current troops.
    Bob Fitzthum

    September 9, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  50. James Dumas

    Too uptight. These people deal with bombs exploding in their backyards everyday– I don't think their notion of humor is the same as an average US citizen. Furthermore, I'm sure Ashton Kutcher's victims are just as terrified at the notion of being arrested, or loosing all their worldly possessions to the IRS, as these people being are being punk'd "Baghdad Style".

    September 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm |