I have never been someone who consistently watches Comedy Central. Usually I don’t think the shows are that funny. However, I have begun watching shows like “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” because many of my friends enjoy them.
At first, I was apprehensive about even watching them. While they have a different sort of dynamic than “Tosh.O” and “South Park,” I was leery to start watching. But now I can see an appeal to them, aside from their humor.
Both “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” focus on politics, but they present their arguments in such a ridiculous way that there is no mistaking certain elements for fact. They present real-life situations that are currently happening, such as the government shutdown, and then base the multitude of their jokes around that during each segment of the show.
The fact that viewers can identify what is factual and what is just for humorous effect is tremendous, in my opinion. If people watch an actual news network such as Fox or NBC, they are bound to get some sort of biased information. I realize that this is not always done intentionally; however, the result is the same. Viewers get skewed information that favors the network’s agenda.
In my sociology class last week, we had a discussion on politics and power. My professor asked the class — a large lecture hall of about 300 students — if people around our age group care about politics or if they are apathetic. Most everyone said they believe our generation is apathetic and uninformed.
This really stood out to me. While I don’t necessarily like politics, I do feel like I have a better understanding than some of my peers when developments happen. How can we be expected to care about politics and make informed decisions if we do not have a solid news source that will present us with non-biased information?
I strongly believe that “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” should be taken more seriously. Neither Stephen Colbert nor Jon Stewart makes any effort to really persuade his audience one way or another. I think that this sort of attitude is one that people should appreciate more, and not just people my age. Having the ability to figure out which statements are just jokes and which are true facts is much easier with these shows than news networks which are more slanted.
I also believe that these shows provide a higher interest level for people. This is definitely true for me. When I’m watching the news, if I don’t like the story or if I haven’t been following it, sometimes I just tune it out. I do not always mean to do it this way, but it is significantly easier to tune out a straight story versus a humorous show. If I am more engaged in actively watching and listening, that means I can slowly determine what is true from the show and learn about it.
My parents used to joke about my sister living in the “Bradley bubble” when she attended college, and they make the same joke about me going here (although it’s unfortunate there is no alliteration for me). But they aren’t far from wrong. I may not be the most informed person here, but I am definitely not the least. We should all make an effort to improve our understanding and awareness of our surroundings. I feel like this is imperative to our future as a country, and I hope others join me in this.
Grace Johnson is a senior publishing major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to email@example.com.