Home > Uncategorized > Blog 8: Colbert and Stewart – News by Association

Blog 8: Colbert and Stewart – News by Association

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: it’s even better than being informed. – Comedy Central Site

Let’s not misconstrue how the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report represent themselves.  Both comedians clearly state on their respective websites that they are satires, NOT like the “objective” news sources (i.e. CNN).  Both provide commentary to the daily news stories, but accept that they are not the sole, go-to source for news.  Viewers must come with some idea of politics and public affairs:

“If [kids] came to our show without knowledge, it wouldn’t make any sense to them” – Jon Stewart (C-Span Newhouse School Forum, 2004).

They don’t pretend to be objective news sources.  But this answers the main issue I have with political news; if we just accepted that it is natural to develop commentary in the quest to find truth, the news medium would be better off.  I think “official” political news sources would be better f they were more like Colbert and Stewart.  Research your stories . . . if it turns out that you insert opinion, at least it’s well informed.

In a world where viewers like simplicity and don’t have much time to analyze the news themselves, Colbert and Stewart offer them an easy analysis. We look to be entertained when we watch TV and both shows entertain and inform viewers without characterizing themselves as typical news.  You never hear people characterize them as too partisan because it’s okay for them to display their own beliefs — they acknowledge it.  I think this honesty is crucial to their success.  Viewers are willing to tune in because they know the commentary will be partisan.  It’s okay with them.  This is what news SHOULD be – honest about its partisan effects!

On the road to satire, American citizens are informed and Colbert and Stewart encourage that political participation.  Look at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” and “The March to Keep Fear Alive.”  Over 215,000 Americans attended the rally/march (compared to only 87,000 at Glenn Beck’s 2010 Rally).

The social networking buzz around the two comedians further engages American citizens; Stewart’s Facebook page has over 2 million fans and Colbert’s has over one million.  They actively engage fans daily.

Whether they like it or not, both shows are an extension of political news.  They cannot be the only source, but Colbert and Stewart engage citizens on important issues and on levels that they will understand.

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  1. April 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Good. Nice overview of the issue.

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