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Political Satire

Satires are extremely prevalent in our society. They can be found on television, in news publications, on internet sites, on the radio, and basically in every form of media imaginable. Now what the question is, is whether or not these outlets actually effect those who are exposed to it. It is apparent that these satirical programs are mainly aimed towards younger and impressionable audiences. A study named “Advertising on Comedy Central’s “the Daily Show with Jon Steward”, states that:

Relevant statistics from the Media Market
Guide say that the Comedy Central audience is made up of 60.1 percent males, 39.9
percent females, has a median age of 34, with core viewers ranging in age from 25 to 34.

Although this article was published in December of 2003, there is a large likelihood that the statistics are still similar. With this in mind, the 25-34 statistic, although most likely educated, is still impressionable.

As far as the issue of political validity and bias goes, I believe there is quite a gray area. Both shows contain a certain amount of actual political information. This information can be seen as bias though. It seems as though Colbert and Stewart poke more fun at the conservatives as opposed to the liberals, which this swing is common among news sources. The duo even went as far as to stage opposing rallys in Washington, D.C. According to the article, “John Stewart and Stephen Colbert ape Glenn Beck with ‘Rally to restore sanity”,

Comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are about to attempt the impossible: satirising the rightwing TV personality Glenn Beck wth a “Rally to restore sanity” in Washington DC – inspired by a single headline on the social news website Reddit.

In an obvious poke at the stage-managed sanctimony of Beck’s “Rally to restore America” earlier this month, Stewart and Colbert will hold duelling rallies on the National Mall on 30 October – just three days before the US congressional midterm elections.

This United Kingdom based website shows a large amount of interest in this event. It shows the lengths these two men will go to in order to satirize certain issues. It can definitely be said that these sows promote political participation because outlets such as these incite conversation. The entertainment factor helps to set up controversy and this controversy and popularity helps to set up increased conversation. It is definitely true that these shows have an impact on the public. It just depends on the viewer as to whether or not they believe or are impacted by the information they relay.

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