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BLOG 9: Entertainment or Political News?

The question over whether or not shows such as the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report are really political news is a tough one to answer. We discussed have discussed this in class yet the answer is still complex. They are and are not political news all in one. The are political news because

  • They inform the public about the government through a media medium
  • They do keep a “watchdog”(ish) role on the government officials by reporting scandals and unfulfilled promises
  • They do allow Presidents and other politicians a forum on which they can talk and reach the public

While they do provide the basic political news they are also very limited and biased. Because their news is usually restricted to their time limit and is “entertainment” they are limited in what they have time to present to the public and what they want their audience to hear. So they are limited political news which only give those issues which are most prominent and which are getting the most controversy/attention the most precedence.

However, because of the same things which are making them limited political news, they are also allowing them to promote more political participation. Many moderate voters who hold no particular partisan views no very little about the issues coming out in the news. Thirty minute to hour long “entertainment” shows which present the issues in interesting ways which draw those audience members who really have no political interest in are a great way to promote political participation. Seeing a quick clip or segment about Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert mocking a political or a law creates more interest in a moderate mild of the line person than a 10 minute long CNN news clip presenting the “straightforward” facts.

An example of this is Petula Dvorak’s article “Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert might actually bring out the real moderates” about Stewart and Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” and “March to Keep the Fear Alive” these are events which they are putting on respectively to mock actually comments and events held by politicians Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton. These two events which are meant to be a joke, a historically large prank could in fact do the opposite. According to Dvorak

So, at long last, someone is proposing that the millions of people who are constantly befuddled, offended and often defined by America’s vocal fringes get a chance to be heard.

Maybe it won’t make history as the biggest goof pulled off on the Mall because too many folks will take sanity seriously.

For many people Stewart and Colbert have not only become their entertainment but also their political news and their voice for the millions of Americans who have been cast into the middle of the partisan road. While each man has his own partisan group he caters to and it is evident that they are biased they serve united and common theme of promoting political participation among those who others wise may not participate.

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  1. February 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Hi, I think they are news when needed and comedy when convenient. Meaning, they will tell the world how bad it is and the politicians how they should do something but when they are asked to do something we get the “we are a comedy show” line.

    I don’t think they should be allowed to have it both ways. They hide behind the “fake news” banner too much. When they point out the wrongs in society then I assume they know the rights. If so, how about putting down the jokes and lending a hand?

    They are both very good at what they do but I don’t honeslty think they care about the world. They just expect us to.

    Thanks for letting me comment.

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