Having public media is beneficial to a lot of people. In fact 170 million or so they say…
I think public media is necessary for a community to be properly informed for the simple fact that so many people use it. Also this question is a little tricky. What does it mean for a community to be properly informed? Is public radio reaching a major amount of people? I believe it is . They have almost 3 million facebook followers. CNN and Fox News have close to that number as well. So people are listening and watching. Are they being properly informed is a different subject all together. This is a circular argument that will not get resolved. I think the question we need to ask here is is public media effective? And my answer is yes.
While I personally don’t often watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert’s popular satirical comedy shows, I think they can be a great way for people to further engage in political information intake. They provide a comedic look into political and current event issues that the core news media outlets don’t provide. Yet often, I feel that you have to have your view of the issues brought up in these shows beforehand. While not doing so won’t hinder your enjoyment of watching, if you have your own mindset that can be solidified or challenged during the show you might be better off than someone unaware of the news issues included in the show.
Regardless of your political views, watching either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert can make you laugh or sometimes even question the hard news we are delivered daily. But ultimately, their job is to entertain, not dish out the facts or to strictly discuss issues in politics. The following video shows a comedic spin by Jon Stewart on a recent Glenn Beck discussion.
As you may have noticed, this video was actually a story run on MSNBC that served to criticize a Fox News program, showing both the biases that each of these media sources are known to have as well as the way that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are able to make their way into the hard news scene. But it is important to understand, as stated previously, their shows are to make us laugh at the end of the day.
While politics and the hard media sources that deliver news of these issues are common topics to be debated and poked fun at by the general public, it is these sources that are crucial to our understanding of the political world. While I do agree to some extent that these comical “news” and political sources are useful to citizens by exposing them to any sort of political news at all, the real journalism is still left up to our main “hard” news sources.
Television shows such as The Colbert Report and The Daily Show have become overwhelmingly popular in our culture. In some cases, people are using these programs to obtain their political news more than they are using other more “reliable” sources. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have created a phenomenon that has given society an option to escape from the seriousness that political news usually entails and provide an entertainment form of political news. It is important to examine though whether these “sources” are providing people with actual political news or if it is just a pure form of entertainment. There are many arguments to support both sides. Personally I feel as if these programs do provide political information, but they are not political news.
Political news, to be most effective in reaching the average consumer, should be unbiased and present the story in its original form. Obviously with the antics of Fox News and MSNBC, this type of information is hard to find these days. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have used this obvious biased in political media to poke fun at the respective parties and the extreme stances they take. They do though seem to have political biases themselves in doing this by tending to make fun of one party more than the other. Political news sources claim to be non-biased though and these satirical shows have consistently stated they are not attempting to remain fair. This biases though does not determine whether political satire can be classified as political news.
A main factor for me that distinguishes The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as purely entertainment is what researchers have named “The Daily Show Effect”. This idea focuses on the link between young people and political news. The average viewer of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is between 18-24 years of age. This research is showing these young people are much more likely to obtain their political news from these shows rather than traditional political news sources. So what effect are these shows having on these young people? Many researchers are saying these shows are increasing cynicism in young voters and increasing their distrust about our government. One writer responds to this study by saying,
This is not funny: Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy…. Young people who watch Stewart’s faux news program… develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.
Stephen Colbert seems to believe his program can be very beneficial to helping young people get more involved in politics. He contends it grabs their attention and this is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to young voters and politics. As he explains,
People are constantly saying ‘How’s it feel to have such an impact?’ I just want to be funny. I’m a comedian, not a political thinker. We’re changing the world one factual error at a time.
Here he seems to believe they are helping political news by pointing out their errors as sort of a check and balance system. In a way, I think this could be beneficial. It seems though most young people are using satirical political news not as fact, but as a source to provoke their interest in further researching a news story. It is for this reason I believe this can not be labeled political news.
Overall, I believe The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are doing a service by increasing young people’s interest in politics if they are indeed doing this and not reverting them into further cynicism. It is hard to reach they young voters of America and with their entertainment they have found a way to do it. If you want real political news though I’d say stick to the traditional sources.
For those who have never seen these shows here are clips to give you an idea of the overall purpose of these programs:
I remember that it was my junior year in high school that I started to watch The Daily Show on a fairly consistent basis. Back then The Daily Show was just a shadow of what it is today. Today, Jon Stewart and his companion Stephen Colbert, have so much pull that they can have thousands of people travel hundreds of miles just to see them speak at a rally they created. With so many people getting news from these two men when does their show move from a comedy show to something else? I think that these two shows have a very strange place in the political spectrum. They know that at the point of their show is to make people laugh. However, they also know that they have a opportunity to reach out to people who normally may not be interested in the news. Jon Stewart knows how he impacts political debates and the “Colbert Bump” is a very real thing. In my opinion these two shows can be counted as real political news. I learn new things from a different perspective every time I watch their shows. I believe that Jon Stewart stated what he saw as his role in the political spectrum at his Rally To Restore Sanity.
I believe that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have a bit of a left leaning bias. Everyone knows that Jon Stewart gets a lot of kicks from Fox News, especially Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
That’s not to say that Stewart and Colbert spend all of their time attacking Fox News and it’s pundits. I have seen Jon Stewart spend an entire segment of his show attacking MSNBC or CNN. By going after all the news networks Colbert and Stewart keep all of them held accountable to what they are saying.
I believe that Stewart and Colbert are great at promoting political participation. Colbert does an awesome job at raising money for charities and other events by using his show as an outlet for a certain cause. I believe that they hold a special sway with young voters as opposed to older voters. All in all I am a pretty big fan of The Daily Show and Colbert Report and I like what they say on their show.
What makes Jon Stewart such a popular figure within the US political culture? One word: humor. Jon Stewart since his arrival on Comedy Central has always made certain that his show is strictly a comedy show and shouldn’t be considered a source for news. Think about this though, isn’t it ironic how he says this but within this day in age someone like him is such a key cog when it comes to being a news outlet.He does such a good job of commenting on politics that are at the front of the headlines by adding a little bit of his own humor in to relate it back to people. I’m much more inclined to watch this sort of “political” show than I am just regular Fox News because I know I’m at least going to get a good laugh at what is said and who knows, I might actually learn something pertinent along the way! Here’s a good quote that I found from Jon Stewart on rising oil prices:
“This morning, prompted by increasing concerns about terrorism, oil prices reached a record high as the cost of a barrel of crude is a whooping $44.34. Wow, it seems shocking that a product of finite supply gets more expensive the more we use it. … Now the terror alert means higher oil prices, which oddly enough means higher profits for oil companies giving them more money to give to politicians whose policies may favor the oil companies such as raising the terror alert level. As Simba once told us – it’s the circle of life.” –Jon Stewart.
So let’s break this quote down; he first informs you of what’s going on and gives some details to back it up (oil prices reach $44.34 a barrel), he then throws in some humor and questions why it’s getting so high, and finally relates it to my generation by throwing in a Lion King reference. If you ask me, it’s absolutely brilliant how Jon Stewart can throw in his political information while being on the side of an adulterated comedy.
But within this humor-based show does he really convey political news? I’d sure like to think so. This goes back to one of the first things that we talked about this semester. Political communications and political news is really anything where the host, in this case Jon Stewart, relays some sort of political information to his viewers…is he doing this?? Of course he is! Like I said earlier he likes to convey that he is solely a comedian, I’m not buying it. Here’s why I think he implores ploys such as this one; if he were to claim to be a source for political news source then they would lose a lot of views around my age demographic who tune in to get the lighter side of politics. I’m sure as heck not going to tune in if I thought his show was solely news based, there’s plenty of other ways I could get that information. You draw people in by saying it’s a comedic show and then you show your political views once you’ve got them all tuned it…it worked with me.
Is he biased? Of course he is. Watch this video and tell me he isn’t leaning one way more than the other.
He has opinions and that’s one of the reasons these sorts of shows are entertaining, they appeal to us, they seem more real. I’d much rather watch someone with an opinion than someone who is by the book and basically takes on the role of a robot.
And is he good for political participation and the ever growing knowledge of the US when it comes to politics? Absolutely! Like I said he appeals to my generation with his comedy and low blow punch lines. Anytime you can appeal to my generation in regards to politics you’re doing something right. Whether people agree with him or not they’ve engaged in some type of political activity!
About 40 years ago, American considered ‘Walter Cronkite’ was the most trusted man in the United States. It may surprise someone, but Cronkite was a CBS night news anchor. Yes! at that time people trusted journalists. Then, what about now? Who is the most trusted news anchor in this country?
At least, for those who get their news mostly from the Internet, which is the most popular medium in these days, “John Stewart was voted most trusted news anchor” in the country according to report of On the Media. What have happened between the 40 years and why now Americans regard a comedian as the most trusted news anchor instead of hundreds of real news anchors in the news channels? In addition, because people trust John Stewart as ‘News Anchor’ could we say ‘the Daily Show’ as ‘the real news’? Then, what is real news?
Tom Rosenstiel, the Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism pointed out why ‘Stewart’ became ‘the most trusted news anchor’ in the state. “He is skeptical of what people are telling him and he shares that skepticism with the audience and that skepticism is sort of part of the bond”
And that ‘bond’ is one of the key factors to determine what is journalism or what is not journalism according to the Jay Rosen, a media scholar at NYU.
“Now, if my bond with you is “I never tell what I think, I only tell you what I know and can verify,” that is journalism. If I tell you, “I get involved in things and I show you what’s happening to me, and that’s how you learn,” that’s journalism. If I’m a partisan but I’m fair because I don’t lie to you, that’s journalism.”
Based on this perspective, we consider ‘The Daily show’ is the real news. Furthermore, I think there is no ‘fixed’ definition of news or journalism in the history. The definition of ‘news’ has always changed during the history of journalism. And Most of the case ‘people’ who read and watch the news defined what is the news. Therefore, we may say ‘The daily show’ is the real news.
However, I think it is hard to say that ‘the format of daily show or Colbert Report’ is the spirit of the times, or the future of the journalism. I believe ‘The Daily show’ is a byproduct of current commercial media’ slapdash news coverage. People didn’t choose ‘Daily show’ as their primary news source by their 100% own will, but the reason that people watching ‘Daily show’ is semi-mandatory.
Without Bill O’Reilly, ‘The Daily Show’ wouldn’t exist.
People lost their trust on ‘current news media’ and that’s why they watch ‘daily show’ as their last news options. (Sadly, I think NPR or PBS, which are doing great journalism are too bored to watch for Americans, and that is another topic that we should think about.)
Lets look at the contents of The Daily show. John Stewart satirizes ‘the messy and manipulated news coverage’ that has been done by mainstream or cable news. And as we know the most of ‘messy and manipulated’ coverage were done by Fox News. Just showing the original news coverage’s is enough making audience laugh because they are just absurd. In sum, without absurd news reporting by mainstream news media, The Daily Show wouldn’t exist. The Daily Show becomes another ‘Gate Keeper’ of mainstream news media whose roles are supposed to be information gatekeepers for citizens.
The reason people trusted ‘John Stewart’ is that they couldn’t find any other trusted news anchor in the real news channels, and the reason people watch ‘The Daily Show’ is that it is really hard to find worth to watch news channels in the cables. People choose ‘The Daily Show’ semi-mandatory because of current news media’s poor job.
I think, in United States ‘The Daily Show’ is news. However, I don’t think ‘Daily Show’ could be considered the real news in U.K or France, which have fairly good mainstream news media in their country.
Ever since the advent of news and media, people have been able to choose to get their political information and news in general wherever they wanted. There are many outlets out there for people to choose from and each media outlet has their own spin on how the news is told and their viewpoints and opinions on these news stories and analysis are totally different.
I personally believe it is not a great thing that Democrats and Republicans get their news from separate places. Each of these different news outlets provide in my opinion a biased opinion and/or spin on a news story. I feel as though having only one side of an opinion isn’t always the best. I think to be fully informed you should be able to get either a non biased opinion or both sides of the story. Not just one.
On the contrary, Republicans tend to frequent news outlets like Fox News and listen to conservative analysts like Rush Limbaugh. Most major newspapers tend to be liberal but The Daily Oklahoman is special because it is one of the very few Conservative major newspapers.
I think having these separate views on separate channels and such while it is a terrible idea matters to society a lot. I feel that this is a pertinent issue because if there were a non biased or neutral news outlet or news network like a CNN or Fox News format there would be better news because citizens would be able to be better informed and be able see both sides. As of right now people only see the one side they want to see and nobody will ever agree on an issue because they only see the one side they want to see!