The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

It’s not all a joke

As a journalist, it’s my job to be as unbiased as possible, but when it comes to TV news shows I can’t keep my preferences hidden anymore: I love “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.

Many would argue that programs like “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” are not real news shows. Although I would agree on some technical points of that argument, the truth of the matter is that people, especially college students, are getting a lot of their news from these sources.

Whenever a big event happens I often can’t wait to hear what they have to say about it … and I may or may not be in possession of a Property of Colbert Nation t-shirt.

So it’s probably no surprise that I am in full support of using these shows as a source for news, but with a caveat: Don’t just stop there and don’t take it for absolute truth.

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I think it’s great that people are finally interested in news again, but, at least for me, I use this as my introduction to get me interested in a topic and then I do my own research.

It needs to be clarified: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are NOT journalists. They are comedians and should be treated as such. Believe it or not, people do treat them like journalists and I have heard more than once that people believe Colbert is the extremist right wing conservative that he plays on the show. If you think that, you should stop watching his show all together because you’re not getting the joke.

It’s important to clarify that they are not journalists because that means they do not follow the same news gathering principles and should not be held up to the same standards as legitimate news sources.

These shows are merely satire, and that’s all they are. However, to me, that can be a very powerful, instructive and useful tool.

Satire has been around as long as politics, and it works almost in tandem to help inform the public. I would assume that most politicians find shows like this annoying, but they also know that people are watching. The politicians or public figures then go on to these shows to give their real point of view, which in turn helps people to know these issues are real because these politicians know the power of this particular medium.

I sometimes think shows like Colbert or Stewart are more unbiased than a normal news show simply because they make fun of everyone equally. They don’t have the pressure to be serious all the time.

I think that is what draws people in the most — these shows have the ability to bring to light important issues in an entertaining way. I don’t think it trivializes the news at all because people get so wrapped up in the tragic news reels that they either get depressed and think the whole world is crashing down or they just turn off the news and watch sitcoms.

Neither of those options do them any good so if there is an outlet that can increase people’s awareness of issues, call out bias and lighten their day, I’m all for it.

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It’s not all a joke