Now a days its hard to find someone, especially in my generation, that has not at least seen a few episodes of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. The question is, do these shows really qualify for political news? I think that the answer is yes, but I could see how people argue that they are not. For starters both shows present news that is happening now. They do not make up the stories that they are using. After presenting a topic they of course, add some sort of comedic spin to it, which in turn makes the topic sounds less serious. I found this clip from 2008 that actually talks about where The Daily Show finds their stories and how they actually find people to interview on the show. They talk about how they do not necessarily want the show to be relevant to the world but relevant to us.
I think thats exactly what they are doing. They are taking what is relevant to them and the United States and discussing it in a light hearted manner. I think that both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report tend to get the ball rolling for young people to listen and interact with the news. These shows push the people watching them to go out and do more research. I know that when I watch one of these shows, and they discuss a topic I want to know more about, I go and find other sources that cover the issue in greater detail. On the other hand I think that some people may not consider The Daily Show and The Colbert Report political news because on these shows it is hard to find in depth detail. The second question is are these shows biased. I also believe that this answer is yes. Like any political show or network it is hard for people to leave their personal thoughts and ideas out, when discussing something like politics. I found this second clip that talks about this. It is Jon Stewart being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly. In the video they also discuss whether or not Jon Stewart understands that he has an influence over the people that watch his show.
I think that both these video represent how both The Daily Show and ,although he is not interviewed, the Colbert Report conduct their show. Both of them have a similar style and approach on how they present and interpret political information. I do think that these two shows promote political participation because as I said earlier, they may inspire the viewers to do more research and become more informed. This is also covered in the video of the Bill O’Reilly video when he is talking about Jon Stewart’s influence on his viewers.
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.
As is becomes more and more popular for the general public to gain their information through television and internet the main “problem” that comes to light is the biased views of one outlet compared to another.
When you talk to people they want to believe that they are watching a telecast that is objective. They want to believe that everything they watch isn’t geared towards one crowd or another. They want to believe that they are just given the facts and they form their own opinions. But think about this, if someone had never watched television before and had no political affiliation but was trying to form a stance they would first watch something that aesthetically appealed to their senses. They then would take in the information from the two different outlets and slowly, and sometimes subconsciously, lean one way more than the other. For example, if they happened to like Bill O’Reilly because of his personality and the way that the show was put together they would start to buy into the views of O’Reilly, which would result in a more conservative way of thinking. Because of this, the viewer, who at one time didn’t have a political stance would become a Republican simply because they tuned into Fox and started buying into the way of thinking like a right-winger. They could even end up in this category without necessarily believing in all the conservative thoughts and views but because the way that it was presented it makes more sense to them.
These news outlets hate to be tagged as a non-objective voice and will fight to the bitter end to prove that they are fair. Fox goes so far as to say “We report; You decide.” They know how everyone looks at them but they love to fight it and show cases where they feel like they are being completely objective. If they report the facts but not all the facts, mainly only the facts that benefit them, then are they being bias? I don’t think so and I think that’s how they think when they say that they aren’t biased.
Now let me put this into my language. I’m a big Missouri athletics fan so if I want to watch something about the basketball team I’m going to tune into the Mike Anderson show. On the other hand if I had only one channel on my TV and it was showing the Bill Self show I would throw my TV out the window just to be on the safe side. Why? Because I hate everything that has to do with Kansas and it would get me fired up, even if Missouri never entered their mouths, it’s just for the simple fact that Kansas is on my s&*# list and always will be. People feel the same way about politics, liberals are only going to get fired up and upset if they are forced to watch Bill O’Reilly. So just avoid it all together and you don’t have that problem!
But is this a problem with media politics? I honestly don’t think so. People are going to read what they want to read anyways so what’s so wrong with them getting their news from an un objective source? It seems like journalism is slowly moving in the direction of bias perspective, so let’s embrace it. If the news that’s being covered is big story then people will eventually do their own research if they care that much. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to political coverage I can be pretty lazy. I’ll just end up taking the same opinions and sides as the television personalities, sometimes without even meaning to…but at least I’m taking a side and forming some sort of opinion, right?!
People normally don’t like hearing the opinions of other people, especially if the line of thought contradicts your own. Walking past speakers circle on any given day you can hear people preaching to you on a number of subjects, and most of the time we just put our heads down and keep walking. It’s human nature to not want to listen to things different from what we are used to, so why should that change with the news we consume? When it comes to news agencies the pillar of the Right is Fox News and the bastion of the Left is MSNBC. Both channels claim the other of hypocrisy and of spreading misinformation. With hard-core Republicans getting their news from Fox and hard-core Democrats getting news predominantly from MSNBC, what does this mean for the country?
In my opinion people getting their news from just one source is a bad thing, whether it be just from Fox, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, or The Daily Show. I believe that people need to diversify their news over many outlets and genres. The more different types of news people consume the more well-rounded they will be on a subject, and thus be able make a sound decision at the polls. When watching partisan news networks one has to be carefull not get too drawn in to what they are saying and keep in mind where they are coming from. Just look at how the two sides reported the protests in Wisconsin.
As seen above, Fox News makes the protestors look like thugs who will kill people who get in their way while ruining the United States. MSNBC made the protestors look like David fighting Goliath for the right to have a say in their lives against corporate greed. If a person just watched one of the above channels for all of their news it is easy to say that their view of the world may be a bit skewed.
In the end I think that the politically charged rhetoric from news sources is bad not just for individuals, but for our country as a whole. People like Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow increase partisanship and decrease compromise. In my opinion it is best for people to get their news sources from a plethora of places and keep an open mind on subjects.
With the fragmentation of news gathering, it’s apparent that people who strongly identify with a political party tend to gather their news from specialized sources that cater to their political philosophies. For instance, those with liberal leanings tend to gather news from these folks:
While those with more conservative standing may get their news from one of these fine specimens of political banter:
While still others with, say, more Libertarian leanings will follow what this institute puts forth as relevant news:
Regardless of from which stereotypical political party sympathizing news source one gathers news, there are pros and cons to the fact that people tend to watch news programs that align with their political philosophies. For rational political news watchers, getting one’s news from a specific source will give that person a thorough understanding of a specific viewpoint pertaining to a given issue. For instance, if someone with liberal tendencies watches MSNBC news coverage of the healthcare debate or the dissolution of Wisconsin unions, that person will have a fairly deep understanding of the liberal viewpoint of those issues. This, in turn, can lead to lively and well processed arguments and debates with those who do not hold similar viewpoints and are, presumptively, gathering news from a source with a different viewpoint. The key here is rationality within the individual, however. One who gets one’s information from a specialized source must consider that the source from which they are gathering information is biased, may be misinformed or flat out wrong, and should consider other viewpoints if it turns out that the information one has does not back up an argument.
Another pro of gathering sources is that fragmentation breeds dissent, which can bring about compromise to advance a cause or manage an issue. That there are so many different channels concerning political news means that people are taking sides and holding opinions on issues important to the public discourse, implying that compromise and debate are necessary elements in terms of managing an issue relevant to the public discourse. Thus, rather than blindly accepting what the media says is the end all be all in terms of public discourse, people can argue and attempt to persuade others in terms of the “rightness” of an issue, which (ideally) can lead to solutions to an issue that may not be noticed if everyone was like minded and consistent in from where news was gathered.
However, a con with these vast array of choices is a lack of consistency. Because there are so many sources from which to gather news, the question of “What is really going on here?” becomes complex and sometimes muddled. If news sources covering the same topic provide entirely different “facts” on the matter, a viewer can become confused or disillusioned with the sources, assuming that if the same story has two conflicting sets of facts, one side must be lying and thus, will be forever considered untrustworthy. This can breed cynicism toward news sources, which may result in people leaving the political news arena altogether, reducing the number of voices on an issue that can be heard overall.
In short, it does matter that there are many different news sources with different political leanings that appeal to specific ideologies. This can be a good thing if political news organizations and participants are rational in their consumption of the news and are willing to engage in logical debate on an issue. However, it can be bad if irrationality, stubbornness and pure emotion guide the consumption of news, as this can lead to simple shouting matches and a departure of voices from the political issues arena due to cynicism over the sources’ credibility.
I believe that when presenting the news journalist should try there best to be objective. Of course today, with so many news sources and channels journalist tend to steer away from objectivity and express their own thoughts and opinions. Not to say that this is wrong given when you tune into a news station such as Fox or CNN you expect nothing less than to hear at least one opinion. I found a quote in an article about objectivity in the news stating that
There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view.
I think that his quote hits the nail right on the head. It is true that it is so hard to pin down the truth exactly. In an interview most people have the tendency to slightly exaggerate a story as to make themselves look better. Most news castors such as Bill O’Reiley and Keith Olbermann have made a good chunk of change putting their own spin on news happenings of the day. I think that it is hard now a days to remain objective because news audiences want to hear opinions. They depend on these opinions to help form their political views. I think that news castors should try their best to report political news objectively, but I understand why it is so difficult. I found this video clip, which is ironically Keith Olbermann, that I enjoyed watching about Walter Cronkite that talked about how one of his best strengths in broadcasting came from him being objective. It goes on to discuss how it has changed since the old era and goes into quite a bit of detail about the news reporting 30 years ago.
Should journalists be objective when it comes to political news? In theory it would help create more discourse if there was and would help people who want to get in politics decipher what is going on an not be confused by the two warring sides that are out there. This is all in theory though. The current system where you have political news broken up into two differing sides that is not objective gives people more reason to follow whatever party that they choose to follow. You need your Keith Olbermann’s of the world to say something that everyone else will think is radical.
You need your Bill O’Reilly’s and Rush Limbaugh’s to make you think that the right side is just plain bat shit crazy and stuck in the 1950’s.
You need two bickering sides being bias because it would be boring without it. Even though objectivity is a great idea and would be wonderful to have the reason some of our “anchors” and pundits are so popular is because they make statements that are off the wall. Political news is very dry as it is and if people just got the facts it wouldn’t sell for stations. You get somebody who says Obama is racist, Palin is stupid, or McCain is old enough to have fought in Vietnam AND the Civil War, you get viewers. I think objectivity is a wonderful idea, but when it comes to a topic that can be rather boring you need those people that are going to stir the pot and make you watch. Does that make me a bad person? Possibly. But the question is now…do you think I’m correct?
These are the faces that drive us insane, but we wouldn’t have it any other way