These two men have either had the greatest political impact on Americans in the last decade or they are ruining what is supposed to be the political news structure in this country. Jon Stewart entered our homes in 1999 with the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert in 1997 on the Daily Show, but with his own show in 2005. There satirical news shows have garnered extreme amounts of attention and viewers. Their shows have become so popular because honestly, they are weaving through the bullshit and giving you their funny opinions on the political news of the day.
In the link above Colbert gives his comments on Wikipedia. He talks about the news of the day and puts his spin on it. Same for Stewart. Now does this count as political news? Some will tell you yes and others will tell you no. It is indeed political news because that is always the topic of discussion. Yes they are comedians and yes they make jokes, but who said political news had to be serious? Who said political news had to be stiff old white guys in front of cameras either stating their opinion or reading from a prompter without any opinion? Who said that political news has to be traditional? If this formula works then why don’t MORE people fucking CAPITALIZE on this?
The image above does indeed say America’s anchors, but that should be changed. They should be considered America’s pundits. They are not anchors even though millions of people would love them to be. It just isn’t so. They are pundits who do have a bias. Any interview Jon Stewart does he is battling right wing talking heads. Colbert ran for President last election as… (drum roll please) A DEMOCRAT.
Are they biased of course they are but that does not take away from anything that the do. Many people consider the Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh all to be “news” and forget that they are pundits. These men have helped INCREASE political participation in ways that we cannot even imagine. Without their popularity I honestly don’t think voting would be where it is at currently I don’t think many YOUNG viewers and voters would turnout. The voters of tomorrow love these men whether previous generations like it or not. Not everything they do is wonderful, but they have done much more great than they have harm. To be honest if the Conservatives or whoever does not like them or what they do, then man the fuck up and find out how to get them off the air or create a better product and quit whining about it. You are grown ass men and women. Act like it.
American citizens get their news from so many different forms of media, why would it be any different for people involved in a political party. Democrats and Republicans getting their news from different place shows that what is being printed isn’t objective. It should be the same news regardless of the title on the newspaper or the logo located at the bottom of the t.v. station. I however believe that they should be engaging in the different news mediums so that they can get a good assessment of what the public really feels and wants about policies and bills etc.
I was watching a show on the history channel entitled “It’s good to be President” and it featured a part of Ronald Reagan everyday rituals, which showed that every morning he read from the newspapers before he started his work for the day. It makes me wonder what newspaper he relied on for information. By a reading a newspaper that shows positivity about what you’ve done and then reading one that show’s negativity gives you somewhat of a true objective viewpoint. There are clearly all different kinds of websites, newspapers, and TV stations that cater to Republicans and Democrats certain point of
view, but if whichever side commits themselves to a medium of only that side they will never progress because, they will never hear the others point of view, and every point of view is what makes it a democracy. Something that should be looked at is what about independent newspapers and independent political parties, and how come their voice isn’t heard that often. If listening to all sides makes a democracy then one side shouldn’t be voiced louder than others. Reading a certain newspaper, and watching a certain station can neither be bad or good, it all depends on what you do with the information being given to you.
To a certain degree, I do not think that it necessarily matters where Republicans and Democrats get their news from. In congruence to my previous blog about journalistic objectivity, I believe that if (being the key word in this sentence) major news networks report political information in an unbiased, straightforward manner, then it is up to the citizens to retrieve further information that may fit their own viewpoints.
Once a person hears political information from an unbiased source, I would certainly hope they would seek out different sources that pertain to their political partisanship.
For example, when a Democrat seeks out information from a strictly Democratic source, they are able to view facts that back up and support their side of the issue. Partisan-specific websites like Democrats.org acquire facts from various different news sources and compile them in one place. This allows the viewer to see more easily why the party thinks the way it does, and the biased facts help them understand how the party has arrived at their standpoint.
Another reason why people should seek out information from partisan-specific sources is that they may reinforce what the citizen already believes. For example, websites like the Missouri Republican may highlight issues, important to that specific party, that the main news networks may barely touch upon. In doing so, the citizen can come to a greater understanding on a certain issue.
However, if people only view sources that are in favor of their political party’s viewpoint, it might limit argument diversity that viewers of news networks might encounter and expose them strictly to bias information. All in all, citizens should retrieve their political information from a variety of sources. Democrats and Republicans should also seek out information form their partisan-specific sources in order to clarify, reiterate, and support the particular party’s beliefs and actions.
Here are some commonly accepted truths: first, that the Earth is a sphere and spends much of its year rotating around the sun, second, that no matter what teams play, the best part of the Super Bowl always has and always will be the commercials, and third, that Democrats hate Fox News and Republicans hate MSNBC and I, frankly, hate both.
Fox News, bastion of conservatism and entertaining, if more-than-slightly off-the-rocker, TV personalities such as Glenn Beck, and MSNBC, anchor for liberalism and not-so-ironic paneled discussions that debate such vital issues as Obama’s decision in pets, are used as the stereotypical, unparalleled examples of Liberal and Conservative bias in the media. While the presence of that bias in-and-of-itself is a separate discussion, there’s no debate that Republicans, on the whole, turn to Fox News for information while Democrats, as a whole, turn to CNN, MSNBC, or NPR.
The question then is–does it actually matter?
Here’s the thing you’ll learn in any middle-to-upper level political science (or even psychology) course: people consume that media which reinforces their existing biases. That is to say, whether or not Fox News or MSNBC offer biased accounts of political coverage is hardly a concern. Whether or not the Republican and Democratic mainstays presented balanced coverage, viewers would still only really consume that information that reinforced what they already believed in.
In my opinion, this, subsequently, makes forced consumption of opposing sources less than effective. Here’s the deal. It’s pretty obvious what my political ideology is. I choose not to consume CNN or MSNBC because, frankly, both stations irritate the hell out of me. However, when comparing information from CNN to information from Fox, I will always be more inclined to believe CNN because Fox is my ideological opposite. Fox can report breaking news to me and I will be skeptical of it until I hear the same information reported from the New York Times or even Jon Stewart.
In that manner, it doesn’t really matter if Republicans get their news from one source and I get my news from another. In an ideal world, both Republicans and Democrats would get their political news from both left and right leaning sources. But in reality, and in my opinion, there’s little point in forcing a Republican to watch Democratic sources and a Democrat to watch Republican sources if neither the Republican nor the Democrat are going to believe the source or retain the information.
As there are fact-checkers, keeping those sources legitimate, as long as the possibility to explore the other side still exists, there’s really no harm and no foul in letting Republicans and Democrats gravitate to those sources that support their ideology. Hey, it makes political debates that much more entertaining, right?
Either way, my solution is to force everyone to watch the Stewart-Colbert line up. Of course, inevitably, someone will believe that Colbert’s bias isn’t blatantly obvious satire and that he actually believes the things that he says and I’ll have to laugh at them. It will be a desperate, sad sort of laugh. But you know. Small steps! xoxo!
It’s a battle, right? Conservatives claim that all news has a liberal bias and liberals claim that the entire News Corporation has a conservative advantage. Rupert Murdoch owns News Corp. Liberals have a point. However.
The entire problem with the debate of media bias is the assumption that there is such a thing as pure objectivity anyway. Is there really such a thing–especially in the realm of news media? The very nature of writing is that there is some form of subjectivity that will leak through. Even in research–take political science research–doesn’t the very fact that an interviewer is human bias the questions asked? Interview bias, in other words, exists simply because the interviewer (usually) is human. Humans, by the very nature of being humans, are biased toward selecting certain questions and seeking for certain answers unconsciously.
So why (how) do we expect journalists (or other media-related affiliates) to remain completely unbiased? Or, for that matter, what does bias mean? As far as I can tell (to the average viewer) (of a certain political affiliation), anything is “biased” so long as what is being discussed is of the other political ideology. If Fox News talks about Sarah Palin’s positive policies, then it’s bias. If MSNBC lauds Barack Obama for his stance on health care, then it’s bias. Never mind the fact that maybe–maybe– (unlikely, but maybe) Sarah Palin did have positive policies or maybe Barack Obama did have an extremely effect stance on health care. Doesn’t the very fact, then, that you–the viewer–have bias and that you–the viewer–watch news segments and consume media through a specific frame (political or otherwise)–doesn’t that fact automatically lead to a perceived bias?
The point here is not so much that media sources are biased or unbiased, but, mostly, that media sources are most likely always going to be inherently biased–even a little bit–and if not, a bias will be perceived anyway, so what difference does it really make?
A few years ago, during a Politics & the Media class, I conducted a (rather crude) (but still mostly accurate) (well, it took a lot of time and effort, anyway) study of Al-Jazeera. Often claimed to be an extremely biased news source (who decided this anyway?) (probably Fox News) (hey, I never said blogs weren’t biased, isn’t that my entire thesis here?), I was curious as to see whether or not Al-Jazeera did carry an anti-American bias. My study followed the front page of Al-Jazeera’s website for a month to see mentions of the United States and using a tailored scale, measuring whether or not the mentions of the United States were negative or not. Study errors notwithstanding, my correlation statistics were rather unremarkable.
In short, if there was an anti-American bias in Al-Jazeera, then it was negligible at best.
But wait! Does that mean that there is or there isn’t media bias? Here’s the thing, Bugs, of course there’s media bias. In my opinion, it’s the very nature of humans and of media in general to be biased. (Who wants objectivity anyway?) (If we really wanted objectivity, we’d try to read textbooks.) (How many of you actually read your textbooks, let’s be honest here.) (For other classes, of course. Not for this one.) (The textbooks for this particular class are absolutely enthralling, in my opinion.) The point, then, is that media bias is really very negligible, in the long run.
Sometimes, of course, Fox News does things like this:
And then, of course, MSNBC does something like this:
But don’t the viewers of Fox News and the viewers of MSNBC already know what kind of media they’re looking for? I know very rare a Democrat who listens to Fox News for purposes other than sheer mockery and I knew very few a Republican who even bother flicking past MSNBC for fear that the liberal bias might, somehow, leech onto their skins.
So then, in the end, isn’t it the viewers themselves who create and consume media bias?
And, for that matter, shouldn’t we (the viewers) be intelligent enough to sort through the Bill O’Reillys, Chris Mathews, Glenn Becks, and Jon Stewarts of the world to form our own conclusions? If Fox News says jump, please, for the love of America, at least ask from what bridge?
Come on world, let’s use our brains a little. xoxo!
Asking if the media is bias is like asking if two plus two equals four. The answer is always yes. While many journalists aim to present their information in a non-bias fashion and just present the facts; bias is something they cannot avoid. When deciding which information to present and which information to withhold, they are framing their article, broadcast, blog, or other form of publication in a specific way. This in turn creates a bias. It is unavoidable.
Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN are among the top names in the media as a source for political information. However the unavoidable bias has left them all labeled by viewers to lean one way or another. While trying to stick to the facts, CNN has a reputation as having a slightly Liberal stance on news. Fox News has a reputation for leaning to the right and MSNBC has a reputation for strongly leaning left. I personally find these generalizations to be relatively true.
Other journalists however reject this concept of attempting to present the facts in an unbiased way all together. Heck, they do not mind including their individual opinions at all!! Take for example well known Conservatives, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Taking a peak at Glenn Beck’s radio websiteit would be tough to miss his right sided and rather witty opinions. On the same path as Beck, Rush Limbaugh also has a rep for his Conservative witticism. The instantaneous recognition of this is found when looking at his website. This is not only available through his video posts but even his advertisements. This one, in particular, I found to be a humorous mockery of Al Gore.
When jumping ship to the more liberal side of media personnel, an easy target for media bias criticism is Keith Olbermann. MSNBC recently had to release him from their lineup due to his extreme and unethical bias.
Biases can be masked but they are still exist.
It is impossible to be unbiassed.
I hope this does not ruin my reputation in this class, but I would call myself a Conservative. Therefore I would definitely have to say that the media is definitely biased. Everyone would have to agree with me on that topic though, I think, whether you are Democrat or Republican. I personally think that the media is biased more towards the left side of the political spectrum. I feel like it is painfully obvious that media like MSNBC, CNN, and many newspapers are biased. Therefore, when Conservatives like myself are sick of hearing about “how great Obama is”, “where are the Obama girls going to attend school?” or “what kind of dog is the Obama family getting?” we turn to conservative news outlets like Fox news. It really drives me nuts when people make fun of the legitimacy of Fox news, and laugh just when it is mentioned, most likely just because it is a Conservative news channel.
I also, unlike many people, like and respect Sarah Palin. Though I do not want her to run for President, but that is a whole other topic. I really do think the media has made her out to be an idiot. Sure, she has said some dumb things, but who hasn’t? Nobody can be perfect all the time. The media also seems to focus on every little thing her family does, just to say something bad about them. Recently, the media was trying to say her daughter Willow was racist against gay people, and wrote gay slurs on Facebook. She is a teenage girl, using Facebook. Someones status was saying something mean about her sister, Bristol, so Willow called him a “faggot”. Whereas this is definitely not politically correct, what teenage person has never ever used the word faggot? Willow Palin is most certainly NOT the only teenager who has called someone a “faggot”. But yet, the media made the whole situation out to be a way bigger deal than it was, and focused on this issue. Personally, I think that if President Obama’s daughters said something like that, you would never hear about it.But, since it was Sarah Palin’s daughter, she is just a horrible person. There are many reasons that I believe the media is biased, these are just a few of them. Again, I hope this does not ruin my reputation in the class!
When my parents were twenty it was a lot different task to be a democratic citizen. You would have to work harder in my opinion to be a well-informed citizen. Back then after seeing or listening to a debate the announcers would sign off for the night leaving the American people left deciding on what they thought of the debate. Now when a debate is over the TV critics talk for an hour or even longer on who they believe won the debate. To make it worse we have Fox news leaning one way and MSNBC leaning another.
Another thing I want to explain is what it means to be informed. Many people think they can pick up all the information they need by a couple clicks on the all mighty GOOGLE. This I believe is false! What I have learned in my Political Communications class this Fall is that when you are given information about one politician or another, you need to see both sides and know that every message seen has a purpose. Analyzing the data and looking at information that may not always agree with what you stand for is a good way to build your own opinion.
Here is a journal article about the art is being well-informed.
Being well-informed is not the same as being a know-all.”
I hope you enjoyed my blogs and be sure to continue to read what I decide to post because this did start as a class assignment has turned into a passion I wish to continue.
If there is one thing I picked up in college that I enjoy 4 out of 5 days of the week, it is watching the Daily show as well as the Colbert Report. I look forward to seeing the two of them each day when I return from a day of class. My freshmen year I saw this clip from 2004 that shows John Stewart on crossfire. It paints a clear picture that people do in fact take what these two “comedians” have to say for the truth.
I put quotations around the word comedian because although these two men do show world news, they do it as a personality; Stephen Colbert especially. Here is a clip showing Colbert testifying before congress. As you watch it, pay close attention to how he stays in this character that is a typical conservative person throughout the hearing. You can even pay close attention and catch Colbert breaking character once or twice a week according to this clip .
I do believe that these two shows reach a different audience that may not ever watch news on the major networks on TV. Although, there are people out there who will watch both, these two can reach the typical college student who just wants to watch news for a few laughs. I believe they are political news and if you ask the 100,000+ crowd that got together for the Rally To Restore Sanity and or Fear they would agree.
With this show being political news, just like any news it will be seen as biased. John Stewart is fairly open about his democratic stance, and this past week was even able to have President Obama on his show for the first time as an active President. Colbert mocks the Republican party with his conservative dialogue and makes jokes on how silly some things may sound when they are actually said.
With all this being said, if you haven’t made time to watch either of these shows I advise you to do so. Each is only 30 minutes and I promise there will be plenty of laughs that will keep you coming back.
Stephen Colbert’s guest on the show tonight was Jonathon Alter. Alter is the senior editor of Newsweek. Also this week on the Colbert Report is Zach Galifianakis: an actor. These two men have absolutely nothing in common. Colbert’s topics during his show range from this week’s political updates to falsifying actual news for comedy’s sake to entertainment news. He switches from making fun of Lindsay Lohan to making fun of Barrack Obama. The vast range of guests and topics does give Colbert a larger audience net. Simultaneously, it leaves his show in a less than credible light.
…is about a possible connection between the McRib coming back at McDonalds and the election tomorrow. Over three minutes of his thirty minute show is wasted on this bit. There’s no value in it.
In general, The Colbert Report and the Daily Show are both biased towards the liberal side which is evident in every episode but specifically, they poke fun at Republicans and Democrats alike on a regular basis. “Stupid” knows no party lines, and as such any mistakes, mishaps, public embarasment is ostracized for the public on these shows. Is this soft news? absolutely. Neither the Colbert Report or the Daily show go into hard-hitting details but do I believe they are political news? Yes. Our society feeds on the comedy and political combo. We’ve been discussing how we, as a society, want our news faster and these shows provide it while keeping us hooked with comedic relief. They also keep their viewship up extremely high.
They do promote political participation. Half of the show, at least most of the time, is politically based and therefore when watching, still get a political base for the week as we would from local news, CNN, ABC news etc. The viewers might actually retain more because of the way Stephen Colber and Jon Daily present it.