A recent survey by Rasmussen Reports, a public opinion polling company, found that 30 percent of American young adults aged 18 to 29 believe satirical news programs such as “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are taking the place of traditional news outlets.
Although it is unlikely that such programs alone will run mainstream media outlets out of business, their popularity is worth considering.
Let’s face it: Those who get all their information from “The Daily Show” would most likely not watch the news at all, so at least the programs keep these viewers exposure to current events. Also, some may be inspired to do their own reading to follow-up on the satirical segments on the programs.
Although the programs boast “fake news,” they must get their information from traditional media outlets. Professional journalists must still conduct the interviews and contact the sources that eventually become featured on these fake news shows.
Furthermore, it is important to look at someone like Jon Stewart not as a journalist, but instead as a humorous equivalent to a political commentator or columnist. Stewart puts an entertaining spin on the news – he by no means claims to be “balanced” or completely factual. In this role, Stewart is able to hold people accountable in a way reporters cannot, as one of the hallmarks of the field is to remain neutral.
Though Stewart is obviously biased and tells his audience his opinions, he uses his influence as a public figure to change policy and get people thinking about politics in different ways.
Also, it is important to make the distinction between “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” While much of the former’s focus is on current events and political commentary, the latter is mostly just for laughs.
We urge you to get your news from legitimate broadcast and print sources. In the end “The Daily Show,” though humorous, is no replacement for a balanced news article. Nonetheless, a funny spin on the news has caught on, and if it keeps more young Americans informed on current events, so be it.