It’s sad and pathetic that as a journalism major, I don’t take a stronger interest in more televised news programs.’ There is simply not enough liquor or other self-destructive devices in my apartment to make programs like C-SPAN bearable.’ ‘
CNN’s Larry King has turned soft with his corny celebrity-serving list of guests, and after 12 years, Fox News’ ‘liberal’ Alan Colmes left the ‘Hannity ‘amp; Colmes’ show, leaving Sean Hannity to deliver the news.
Not that a right-wing network interested me as my source of information, but it further illustrates the problem of hard news appealing to a diverse audience from both sides of the political spectrum. It also makes the younger viewership less likely to spike their ratings.
The youth of America that Bill O’Reilly refers to as ‘stoned slackers’ have been keeping up with current events through comedic relief news programs such as ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and ‘The Colbert Report.’
The results of a Pew Survey on news consumption conducted from April 30 ‘- June 1, 2008 suggests viewers of the ‘fake news’ programs, such as ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Colbert Report,’ were more knowledgeable about current events (as judged by three test questions) than watchers of ‘real’ cable news shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly and Larry King, among others. Even though the national average for answering the three questions correct was only 18 percent, 34 percent of ‘The Colbert Report’ fans got them right, as well as 30 percent of ‘The Daily Show’ viewers.
No matter what side of the political spectrum one identifies with, a broader range of viewers can appreciate different viewpoints expressed by Colbert and Stewart through their comedic relief format. Colbert takes on the role of a willfully ignorant conservative pundit whose egotistical persona embodies that of a strung-out O’Reilly.
‘Tomorrow you all are going to wake up in a brave new world, where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones created in a stem cell research lab by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags,’ said Colbert in response to Democrats taking the House majority.
Despite Colbert’s extreme conservative viewpoint, prominent politicians from the left have taken a liking to his witty and satirical material including Sen. John Kerry D-Mass. He became a big fan of Colbert after he was the guest comedian at the White House Correspondence dinner in 2006 where Former President George W. Bush sat low in his seat clicking his heels together while mouthing the words, ‘There’s no place like Crawford, Texas.’ There is no place like Crawford, Texas.’
Stewart takes a more objective viewpoint on current events and takes irony in the direction where the media is to blame.’ Although both Democrats and Republicans equally endure comedy jabs from Stewart, he mostly pounds major news outlets by questioning their platform in which they chose to present information.
‘I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad,’ said Stewart when he appeared on CNN’s ‘Crossfire.’
Months after his appearance on the show, CNN announced that they were scrapping ‘Crossfire’ and dropping their relationship with one of the show’s commentators, Tucker Carlson (the one who that wore the bow-tie).’ ‘Crossfire’ had long since been a show where civil discourse was abolished by argumentative monkey talk that could cause anyone with a hangover to puke on their TV.
Comedy has been able to bridge these differences and create a more informed youth that receive a broader perspective. In 2004, there was an increase in levels of participation among youth voters regarding voter turnout. According to The Center for Information ‘amp; Research on Civic Learning ‘amp; Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland Public Policy Center, estimates from all sources suggest that voter turnout in 2004 among young people had increased to its highest level in a decade.
It’s no surprise that given the outcome of our recent presidential election, which resulted in a majority of young voters going to the polls, networks will have to start pleasing a younger demographic.’ However, it will be hard to sway the solid fan base of ‘fake news’ programs over to a dry and mundane format, because viewers might prefer to laugh through tragedy oppose to crying about it.’ ‘ ‘