You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.
Overall I think that this class was very interesting. Before I had no real interest in following politics. After taking this class I have found myself watching the news more. I have become more politically aware of what is going on. I am glad that I took the class when I did. When we were learning about the how communication on twitter and Facebook effected politics, it was right during the Egyptian revolution. That was the perfect example of how these social media are growing throughout the world. Another topic that I enjoyed learning about was the political satire portion. I liked how we got to watch clips from The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. Those are shows that I watched before taking the class so I was excited every time we got to watch clips from these shows. The clips always pertained to what we were learning about and they made the subjects more exciting. Another big topic we covered that I really found interesting was the 1960 presidential election. I did not know much about this prior to taking the class and I feel like I have learned a lot about American politics after learning about this one election. It changed the way that Presidential candidates approach their campaigns. The thing that I fond the least interesting to learn was the Republic 2.0 book. Its not that I did not enjoy learning about blogging and things of that matter. The book was just tough to read. It was very repetitive. I am glad that we did not spend a very long time discussing it. The general information taken from the book was not bad, just the read itself. I think in the future just having certain parts of the book assigned to read would be a better approach to the Sunstein book. Overall I enjoyed almost all the topics covered in this class. I also liked how we talked about current events in class. Overall I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot over the semester.
Ooohhhh The Colbert Report. Ahhhhh the The Daily Show. The Political Takeover has began. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (and their executives of course) have changed the way individuals receive political news as well as the audiences involved in this process.
So, IS IT POLITICAL NEWS?
Of course it is. Good Political News really has two jobs. The first is to present the facts. Of course this takes you into a WHOLE different discussion about left wing vs. right wing, political biases from network to network, or maybe even selective exposure in political awareness. The fact remains, the job of good political news is to present facts. The second job is to present sources to help the audiences do further research and form their own opinions.
Looking past the satirical approach to the news both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do a fine job of these two jobs. And lets be honest – who doesn’t want entertaining news coverage (other than that straight faced guy three rows back with the glasses and the ascot on) – I’m just saying.
Is this presentation biased?
Of course it is. It is written and presented in a way that REGULAR people can understand and relate. (Probably wasn’t expecting that were you?) These satirical presentations are categorized as comedy to most. Comedy is an art form to where your average Joe (and Jane for the ladies) can comprehend. It is about time there is a presentation of news that doesn’t speak in the language of a specific people but in the language of people period.
These men want you to have just as much fun as they do. They want you to learn just as much as they do. If President Obama can joke with these men we can laugh – it is not un-American.
Have I made my love for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report obvious yet? I have a tendency to be extremely subtle, I know, so let me re-emphasize: I love the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. As far as Comedy Central goes, neither make me want to kill myself, and, as far as political news shows go, neither make me want to kill myself. Win/win either way, I’d say.
The beauty of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report reaches far beyond Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The Kings of Comedy and Professional TV personalities aside, both shows utilize the one tool that few can use properly to make a point–comedy. Neither TDS nor TCR claim to be news media or even function in the same role as the news itself. Stewart’s even purported this in his famous Crossfire interview when Tucker Carlson began attacking him for not asking enough hard-hitting questions on his show, saying
But therein lies the power of TDS and TCR. Without the same pressures or structures that guide CNN or MSNBC or Fox News, Stewart and Colbert are able to deliver real, political news in a way that’s relevant to the audience. The addition of humor and clips pieced together to show hypocrisy and inconsistencies within other news media networks hardly takes away from the political news content–if anything, it adds to it by adding relevance and perspective.
That isn’t to say that TDS and TCR don’t have their own leanings. Stewart and Colbert make fun of left and right politicians and journalists alike, but their leanings are obviously clear. They are equal opportunity offenders, but even a third grader can see that Stewart leans left and while Colbert certainly comes off as more centrist, he probably leans left as well.
Maybe that turns some viewers away from both shows. I, personally, think it makes it that much more interesting to watch and that much more genuine. If Stewart, who is clearly a liberal, hits hard at the Democrats and Obama–which he does, often–then it makes him seem more balanced, puts the hypocrisies in our system into perspective.
Either way, whether or not you believe TDS and TCR are left-leaning satires or that they convey real, political news, there can be no doubt that they inspire political participation, even in the loosest of senses. TDS and TCR are perfect for the news culture we live in today–they combine humor and news to draw in crowds, make politics relevant to the younger generation, encourage the youth to actually pay attention to the party system and politics and elections. If you’re in doubt about whether or not this is actual political participation, recall The Rally To Restore Sanity. Spearheaded by TDS and TCR, would you really doubt that the hundreds of thousands of participants who showed up that day in October felt like engaged, political participants?
If you do, I question you. As for me, I know that just watching TDS and TCR every night keeps me better informed and better connected with the world of politics than CNN and Wolf Blitzer’s Twitter addiction ever has. xoxo!
It’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America…
But my point is this. If your idea of confronting me is that I don’t ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we’re in bad shape, fellows.
We’ve discussed many times so far in this class where people get their political information from, and the same sources are always inevitably mentioned: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC…and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Especially among us college-aged kids, these satire news shows are becoming increasingly popular to the point where they are almost seen as a staple of our media culture. But these shows, while incredibly entertaining, are not legitimate sources of news.
They are made up of teams of comedy writers who poke fun at political events and people–they do no reporting of their own and (because of this) they don’t seek insights into political stories. While people can get a grip on news headlines by watching these shows, they can’t get a deeper understanding of their causes and meanings. Because the news is packaged as entertainment, it’s extremely easy for viewers to think that they’re getting a comprehensive look at the stories, while simultaneously missing the entire point of the coverage.
In addition, these shows present news through a cloudy lens. I wouldn’t call it bias, because they don’t seem to advocate opinions one way or another: in the eyes of comedy, everyone and everything is fair game. I do think that they have an effect on people though, in that they type of political involvement they facilitate is very confrontational and skeptical. What I mean by this is that viewers don’t take their time read into the stories in depth and figure out where they stand and how the stories fit into their beliefs, but rather they listen to Stewart and Colbert poke fun at everything and they agree with the satire. They begin to mock the absurdity that’s inherent in the political system and accept that politics are a laughing matter. So instead of encouraging political involvement, I think these shows promote passive interaction.
Admittedly, I love both of these shows, but I also read other political sources to get my “real” news. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are amazingly entertaining shows and I think they have their place in the political spectrum, but viewers have to be responsible enough to simply enjoy the entertainment, while at the same time being active political participants through other means.
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.