ENGL 1020 - 020
The Best of Late-Night
Television is often seen as a distraction for people to use to get away from the difficulties or anxieties of reality; though, what if television could be used to inform the public of changes to government policy and campaign details without nearly putting people to sleep? Shows like The Daily Show do just this, by adding a hint of humor to their long list of fact-based political arguments and stories, yet they are never cited as a credible source. Why do people assume that comedy news television is relevantly referred to as “trash” or “fake” news? To fully know and understand what makes these venues not only mandatory to society, but also beneficial to each individual, there are a few things that one must know: Studies show that over three quarters of Americans at or below age thirty tend to get the majority of their information regarding voting issues or public policy through these types of networks; Many groups of people can receive factual based knowledge about the issues being satirized; and there are those who fail to understand the delivery and content of hard news stories; consequently, it is because of these ideas that people refuse to participate in government.
The idea that people actually receive factual information regarding satirized issues is not unheard of. In her recently published study on the effects of satire news “Priming Effects of Late-Night Comedy,” Dr. Patricia Moy, author of an editorial entitled, “Popular Politics and Public Opinion,” writes, “…seventy-four percent of Americans under thirty years of age get some campaign news from late-night shows, suggesting the potential of popular, non-traditional media to reach and potentially sway this group of younger voters” (Moy 5). Here, it can be seen that not only are people receiving legitimate information regarding campaign issues and policy, but that a majority of the young population rely on the information received from these non-traditional media sources and venues for their information. Furthermore, the importance of this is blatantly obvious due to the fact that such a large number of young people view these types of venues; not only does this show the popularity of comedic news, but it also proves that there are many different ways for individuals to receive legitimate information. Clearly then, it can be found that television shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are not necessarily a “bad” thing for society, but rather a substantial and required part of it. Moy continues, “Late-night comedy then is only one of many entertainment-headed venues from which audience members can receive and process information about their political world” (Moy 5). As can be seen Moy states that almost three quarters of the young adult population of America receives information regarding political policymaking and stances on political issues through the viewing of late-night comedy news programs. Moreover, this is a good thing due to the fact that the more people know about or feel they know about policy trends, the more they are encouraged and likely participate in politics; furthermore, the more people participate in politics, the better the chance that government policy and law will more closely adhere to the men and women of the age. However, this does not even begin to concern those with an inability to understand hard facts with no background information. There are many people whom cannot understand the delivery or content of “hard news,” simply because today’s population has a shorter attention span. This may be due to the ever increasing chaotic culture of people’s lifestyles, or simply because of our built-in ability to not be able to sit in one place for too long. However, in “The Good, the Bad, and the Daily Show,” Jason Zinser continues on this subject, “The Daily Show delivers the news in a way better suited to our ever-shrinking attention spans. From this perspective,...
Cited: Moy, Patricia. "Priming Efects of Late-Night Comedy." Oxfordjournals.org. N.p., 22 July 2005. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Zinser, Jason. "The Good, the Bad, and The Daily Show." They Say, I Say With Readings. Ed. Jason Holt. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 363-78. Print
Cao, Xiaoxia. "Int. Journal of Public Opinion Research." Political Comedy Shows and Public Participation in Politics. Oxford University Presss, 20 Mar. 2008. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Johnson, Steven. "Watching TV Makes You Smarter." They Say, I Say With Readings. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 277-94. Print
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